Top picks in the 2013 MLB First-Year Player Draft Mark Appel and Jonathan Gray are scheduled to make their professional debuts in early July.
Appel, first-overall pick by the Houston Astros out of Stanford University, signed with the club on June 19 for $6.35 million and is set to make his professional debut in the first week of July.
Appel traveled to the Astros’ spring training facility in Kissimmee, Florida on June 23, where he is scheduled to spend 10 days and pitch in a select number of simulated games. From there, Appel will be sent to short-season Tri-City (Troy, New York) where he will be expected to make his debut.
All systems are a go at the moment barring any physical setbacks in the coming week, as is explained (rather succinctly) by Houston General Manager Jeff Luhnow:
“Obviously it all depends on how he’s feeling and how we feel he’s responding,” Luhnow said.
As for the third-overall selection by the Colorado Rockies out of the University of Oklahoma, Jonathan Gray is also slated to make his pro debut within the coming weeks, with an official date set for July 10 with the Grand Junction Rockies where he will face the Billings Mustangs.
Gray signed with the Rockies on June 12 for $4.8 million and Colorado has moved slow with their top prospect, as is explained by Grand Junction pitching coach Ryan Kibler:
“He had a long season. We want to go nice and slow and make sure he’s just right and ready to go. We didn’t want to rush him along at all. He’s everything that he’s cracked up to be, especially watching him yesterday with some hitters standing in there throwing his fastball down in the strike zone and by some guys. It was fun to watch. He’s for real.”
As the month of June comes to a close and the 2013 Draft drifts further into the past, the two most highly touted pitching prospects from this year’s draft crop will make their much-anticipated pro debuts in the coming weeks and will embark on what the Astros and Rockies are hoping to be long, successful careers.