By Michael Lipinski, Sports Talk Philly Editor
Nine years after being drafted 1st overall by the Houston Astros, Mark Appel will finally be making it to the Big Leagues.
Phillies beat writer Todd Zolecki is reporting Appel will join the Phillies in San Diego. He will be replacing Connor Brogdon who will be place on the COVID-IL.
Mark Appel will join #Phillies tomorrow with Connor Brogdon on COVID IL.
— Todd Zolecki (@ToddZolecki) June 25, 2022
What a wild, weird journey it has been for the former top prospect in baseball.
Originally drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the 15th round of the 2oo9 First Year Amateur Draft, Appel chose to attend Stanford University. The move proved to be advantageous for the right hander.
Apple went 26-13 with a 2.57 ERA, 346 Ks, and a 1.095 WHIP over three seasons in Palo Alto. The Cardinal made three NCAA tournament appearances and he was awarded the 2012 National Pitcher of the Year Award.
The consensus number one pick in the 2012 First Year Amateur Draft, Appel reportedly rejected a $6 million signing bonus from Houston and was subsequently drafted by 8th overall by Pittsburgh. He chose not to sign with the Pirates.
The development was remarkable at the time considering the how scouts projected Appel’s career trajectory.
Appel would be drafted 1st overall by Houston in 2013 thus beginning his professional journey.
Inconsistent would be the best way to describe Appel’s time in the Astros’ system. Apple showed flashes and dominated batters at times but was over all inconsistent and struggled with command. Many experts believed the environment in the Astros system contributed to the lack of consistency for Appel.
He was traded to the Phillies organization in December 2015 as part of the trade that sent closer Ken Giles to Houston. Appel was assigned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
The 2016-2017 seasons brought more inconsistency and injury issues for Appel. He appeared in only 38-games over the two seasons and was ultimately shutdown for injury issues.
The Phillies designated Appel off the 40-man roster after the 2017 season. Appel announced he would be stepping away from baseball and was placed on the restricted list.
After three-seasons away from baseball, Appel retuned for the 2021 season splitting time with Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
But again, more inconsistencies accompanied the former 1st overall pick. But a move to the bullpen and a change of grip for 2022 have ignited his career.
Appel was moved to the IronPigs bullpen and it has resulted in a career resurgence. The 30-year old has a 5-0 record with a 1.61 ERA, 24 Ks, and a 0.93 WHIP in 28.0 innings for the ‘Pigs.
That’s one hell of a ride. Appel will likely be available for the Phillies on Saturday in San Diego.