Appel thrilled to be coming home to Houston
Here is the transcript of Mark Appel’s conference call with the Houston media on Thursday:
Q: Looking back a year later, not signing with the Pirates and getting drafted by the Astros, did this turn out about as well as you could have imagined?
A: “I don’t think I necessarily had an end goal in mind when I turned down the Pirates’ offer. My goals were to finish my degree, to become a better baseball player, a better person and better teammate. As far as that goes, I think I accomplished those things. No matter what happened in the Draft, I knew I had done everything that was in my control to put myself in the best situation possible.”
Q: How special is this night for you and your family being chosen the No. 1 pick in the Draft?
A: “It’s incredibly special. We’re a tight family. Both my parents were born there [in Houston] and raised there and I lived there for 12 years before moving to California. All my family lives there. It’s very exciting. It was really exciting to have conversations with Mr. Luhnow. “
Q: How big is the signability issue with Scott [Boras] and your agent?
A: “Yes, Mr. Boras is my agent, and he will handle most of the negotiations. I think obviously I will be very involved, but it will go through… I trust him and he’s done a great job so far.”
Q: The extra year, what area of your game improved the most by going back to this past season and getting another year under your belt?
A: “I think the biggest area for me was fastball command and commanding it down in the zone. That really made all my other pitches better. I still think I had a better feel for both my off-speed pitches as the season went on, but the big focus was the fastball command for me and I think once I got that, it really helped my overall game.”
Q: What are you memories of being here in Houston, being a baseball fan and maybe going to the Dome and following the Astros?
A: “I have a lot of great memories. I do remember going to a few games in the Astrodome. My dad’s work had season tickets they split up between a number of people and we got to go to a few games every year. I even remember when Minute Maid Park opened and how great of a ballpark that is. I remember playing Little League baseball at Post Oak Little League and the great summers I had with a bunch of great friends. I’ve gotten some calls and texts from those guys and kept in touch. The friendships and memories I created while I was in Houston were great and still even when I’m back to visit family, new memories have been created every single time.”
Q: How about a timetable when you think you will sign?
A: “That is involved in the negotiation process. As for me, I’m just spending time with my family. I know if at all it would be after graduation. I have a few things planned this summer with family. Obviously, graduation is important. I’m not really sure about the timetable and I really don’t know if I could give you an exact answer.”
Q: Do you have your arms around what’s happened here?
A: “It’s definitely been quite the year. It’s been a lot of fun. I’ve had my ups and downs and I’ve become a better person and better ballplayer because of it.”