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Former No. 1 overall pick Appel moving on up

HOUSTON -- While the timetable remains unclear, Astros prospect Mark Appel will move to Double-A Corpus Christi.

The No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 First-Year Player Draft has struggled through his season at Class A Lancaster, but his most recent start was a positive sign for the 23-year-old right-handed pitcher.

On Thursday, Appel allowed two runs on five hits to lower his season ERA to 9.74. The seven-strikeout, no-walk night was what general manager Jeff Luhnow has been waiting for.

"Anytime you're in the Minor Leagues, you're going to be getting advice from a lot of different people," Luhnow said. "We've tried to minimize the number of people that are giving Mark advice."

"Everybody has their own point of view on it. Really, the stuff hasn't changed that much. He's got good stuff. Lancaster is a tough place to pitch. There are nights when you can go out there and have your best stuff and still get hit around. The two factors that I look at more than anything are the strikeouts and walks, and if you look at that, he's consistently been about where he normally is."

Mike Vernon is an associate reporter for
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