The saga of Mark Appel and baseball may finally be coming to an end.
Four months after the Phillies removed him from their 40-man roster, the former No. 1 overall pick is stepping away from baseball.
Now 26, the highlight of Appel’s career may have been his inclusion in a trade that saw the Phillies send Ken Giles to the Astros.
“I don’t know what the future holds. I’m pursuing other things, but also trying to become a healthy human,” Appel told Bleacher Report.
In five minor league seasons Appel had a disappointing 5.06 ERA and a 1.52 WHIP. Bats often found his pitches and he allowed nearly 10 hits per nine innings.
Expectations were still high for Appel when he was traded along with Vince Valasquez, Brett Oberholtzer, Harold Arauz and Tom Eshelman to the Phillies for Giles in December of 2015.
I think it would if baseball was my identity. @iamjoonlee and I got to talk a lot about identity perspective. Putting your whole identity in something as fleeting as baseball (or living up to expectations) is a dangerous way to live. I’m rooted in much longer lasting things. https://t.co/oMzP1wHUlK
— Mark Appel (@MAppel26) February 1, 2018
Appel originally was drafted by the Tigers out of high school in 2009 but elected to go to Stanford where he earned his degree. Projected to be the first overall pick of the 2012 draft, sign-ability concerns – the rules were a little different back then – caused him to fall to the Pirates at No. 8. Those concerns proved to be true as Appel returned to Stanford after failing to sign with Pittsburgh.
A year later Appel was selected by the Astros at No. 1.