The Astros have officially drafted Mark Appel with the first overall pick in the 2013 draft. Keith Law of ESPN.com (via Twitter) heard minutes prior to the selection that the Astros were set to take the Stanford product with the first pick.
Appel, who celebrates his 22nd birthday next week, was selected with the No. 8 pick in last year's draft by the Pirates. However, the Scott Boras client couldn't come to terms on a contract with the Bucs, prompting him to return to school. The Astros considered taking Appel with the No. 1 pick last year but opted against doing so when their $6MM offer was rejected. They wound up taking high school shortstop Carlos Correa with the No. 1 pick instead and inked him to a $4.8MM pact.
The Astros have selected first overall on two other occasions. They selected Phil Nevin over Derek Jeter and others in 1992 and chose Floyd Bannister from a class featuring Alan Trammell in 1976. The slot recommendation for the top pick in this year's draft is roughly $7.79MM.
While Appel is not subject to the July 15th signing deadline, GM Jeff Luhnow says they'll sign him before then, tweets Brian McTaggart of MLB.com.