The Astros and Phillies made the Ken Giles trade official today, but a key component changed sometime between Wednesday and this morning. Outfield prospect Derek Fisher was originally slated to join the Phillies in the swap. He was pulled from the deal and replaced by former number one pick Mark Appel and pitcher Harold Arauz. The Astros also acquired 17-year-old middle infield prospect Jonathan Arauz (no relation).
Here are some reactions to the inclusion of Appel:
- Baseball America’s Vince Lara-Cinisomo provides a scouting report of Appel, grading his slider and changeup as his best pitches. Appel gets into trouble when he isn’t hitting spots with his offspeed pitches. His delivery and fastball offer little in the way of deception which can allow hitters to get into a groove. His fastball still runs up into the mid-90s, but it isn’t a plus pitch. Some scouts think he’ll stick in the rotation while others see him as a quality setup man. My opinion: Appel could benefit from adding a cut fastball, although that can be easier said than done.
- Two scouts figure the Astros gave up nearly as much as the Red Sox did for Craig Kimbrel, tweets Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle. One fan asked why the Astros didn’t acquire Kimbrel during the season if they were willing to trade so much for a reliever. Per Drellich (tweet), “I believe the way the ALDS progressed gave the Astros fresh perspective.“
- There were dozens of permutations of the trade, Astros GM Jeff Luhnow told Drellich (Twitter link). This is why the end result is different than earlier reports.
- Baseball America’s JJ Cooper thinks Appel and Fisher are comparable prospects (on Twitter). Drellich concurs (tweet), saying that Fisher is more likely to reach his ceiling. That seemingly implies that Appel is more likely to reach the majors if they are comparable assets. These are all sentiments with which I agree.
- The Astros were wise to deal Appel now, opines Buster Olney of ESPN (Twitter). Appel would have faced increased scrutiny if he continued to post mediocre numbers in the Astros farm system. Meanwhile, Drellich and Cooper see Appel as a change of scenery candidate who could benefit from a fresh approach in Philadelphia.