Former No. 1 pick finally called up to MLB at age 30
The story of Mark Appel is proving that few things are as sweet as when perseverance pays off.
Appel was a top pitcher in college at Stanford and became the No. 8 overall pick in the 2012 MLB Draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2012. He did not sign and returned to school. After another strong season, he became the No. 1 pick by the Houston Astros in 2013.
But Appel’s professional career did not go as planned.
The right-handed pitcher was not dominant as expected. Instead, he was posting an ERA in the mid-4.00s in both Double- and Triple-A in 2015.
The Astros traded him to the Philadelphia Phillies, and his struggles continued. Appel had a 5.27 ERA in Triple-A in 2017 and struggled with his command.
The Phillies DFAd Appel after 2017, and the former top prospect decided to step away from baseball in 2018.
Appel’s story did not end there.
The former Stanford pitcher decided to attempt a comeback last year in the Phillies’ organization. He struggled across Double- and Triple-A. But this season, he converted to a full-time reliever and has been dominant.
In 28 innings in Triple-A this season, Appel has posted a 1.61 ERA and 0.93 WHIP with five saves.
On Friday, the Phillies said they were calling up Appel to the majors.
Phillies put Connor Brogdon on the Covid IL. They are calling up Mark Appel.
— Matt Gelb (@MattGelb) June 25, 2022
Appel is now 30 and probably thought when he walked away in 2018 that his MLB dream might be over. But he made his return and is finally set to play MLB. With the way he’s been going, he might even be an asset to the Phillies.