It was about Mark Appel. But it wasn’t only about Mark Appel.
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Wednesday’s news was big: The Astros signed Appel — a Houston native and the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft — to a $6.35 million signing bonus. The rebuilding franchise secured a (literally) homegrown starter for the top of its rotation. With Appel’s family on hand for the news conference, there were many happy faces at Minute Maid Park.
Appel’s agent — the inimitable Scott Boras — was there, too. And he had a few points to make.
The contract was a victory for Boras, even if it was below the reported slot value of $7.8 million for the No. 1 overall pick. Appel was a senior at Stanford and thus had little negotiating leverage. But he still received more than the $3.8 million he was offered as the Pittsburgh Pirates’ first-round pick (eighth overall) last year.
Appel went back to school and became much richer for it. That doesn’t happen often in the Major League Baseball draft. And Appel’s case is particularly significant, because he’s the most noteworthy player impacted by the new amateur signing bonus pool restrictions that went into effect last year.