The Houston Astros selected pitcher Mark Appel out of Stanford University No.1 overall on Thursday.

Last year, when Houston native Mark Appel was selected eighth during the amateur draft, and was offered $3.8 million dollars to sign with Pittsburgh, pitching for Clint Hurdle at PNC Park appeared to be the obvious choice.

Unlike most college athletes that would jump on the opportunity to have their first entry-level job pay seven figures, Appel weighed his options and decided to return to Stanford for his senior year to obtain his undergraduate degree in Management Science and Engineering.

Contrary to belief, Scott Boras had no influence on Appel’s final decision.

“…the bottom line is I turned down $3.8 million to get my college degree. If you want to criticize me for that, so be it,” Appel said. “No. Scott Boras did not make my decision. Scott Boras advised me on what the situation was and how he saw it. He was one voice. I asked my parents. I asked friends who have gone through the same thing. I was confident it was the right decision for the right reasons.”

What was once a questionable decision is now the back story to Appel’s MLB future.

The right handed pitcher ended his Cardinal season 10-4 with a 2.12 ERA, 130 strikeouts in 106 1-3 innings. His changeup and willingness to pitch inside made him the best pitcher in the draft and a clear choice for Houston.

His mid-90s (mph) fastballs lack movement which makes him hittable. But once he begins pitching in the league and contributing frequently his pitching should improve.

Appel is expected to receive at least $2 million more with the Astros than he was offered by the Pirates last summer.