Right-hander Mark Appel's disappointing first full professional season got a bit better Thursday as he made the first quality start of his career and helped lead Class A Advanced Lancaster to a 5-2 victory against Stockton.
Appel, ranked No. 13 on MLBPipeline.com's Top 100 Prospects list, allowed two runs on five hits and struck out seven batters in six innings. He set career highs for both strikeouts and innings pitched.
Appel, the Astros' No. 2 prospect, gave up both runs in the fourth inning. But he recovered and finished his outing strong, striking out four of the last five batters he faced.
With the victory, Appel improved to 2-5 with a 9.74 ERA this season. He has struck out 40 batters and walked 11 in 44 1/3 innings.
Appel, the top overall selection in the 2013 First-Year Player Draft, was originally slated to start Tuesday, but he was pushed back as the Astros continue to try to help him get his season on track. He has seemingly been behind since undergoing an appendectomy in January and missing part of Spring Training. He has also dealt with wrist and thumb injuries.