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Mark Appel to officially sign contract with Astros today

The Houston Astros are expected to sign No. 1 pick Mark Appel today. (AP Images)

The Houston Astros are expected to sign Mark Appel today. (AP Images)

The Houston Astros are expected to officially sign No. 1 overall pick Mark Appel this afternoon, according to a tweet today from Astros beat writer Brian Smith of the Houston Chronicle.

The news confirms reports over the last week that the two sides were close to reaching a deal, with the right-handed pitcher reportedly set to ink a $6.35 million contract with Houston after turning down $3.8 million from the Pittsburgh Pirates as the No. 8 pick in last year's draft. The Astros had initially passed over Appel in last year's draft, opting instead to select high school shortstop Carlos Correa, 18, who is currently hitting .304 in 55 games in Single-A.

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In his senior year at Stanford, Appel went 10-4 with a 2.12 ERA and 130/23 K/BB ratio in 106 innings for the Cardinals. He also held batters to a .203 average and gave up only two home runs in 395 at-bats. He currently holds the Stanford record for career strikeouts with 372 in 377 2/3 innings and received Pacific-12 Conference baseball scholar-athlete of the year honors.