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Appel primed for bounce-back season

Mark Appel made a series of adjustments that, thus far this Spring, appear to be paying off. Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Mark Appel was the first overall pick in the 2013 MLB draft, one slot ahead of Kris Bryant, who has since emerged as the best prospect in baseball. This is much to the chagrin of Houston Astros fans who, with a little help from hindsight, are upset their team passed on Bryant. (For the record, Appel was a valid choice at No. 1 overall that year, the best prospect in the draft by a pretty broad consensus; if you want to criticize the Astros fairly, it should be that Bryant wasn't their second choice, not that Appel was their first.) After a rocky 2014 season that saw Appel get blasted in the hitter's paradise of the California League, he appears not only to have righted the ship this offseason and spring but to have made some critical adjustments that have him fairly close to big-league ready.