27-Year-Old Pitcher – Free Agent
2018 Fantasy Baseball Outlook
Little if anything remains of the prospect pedigree which saw Appel drafted No. 1 overall ahead of Kris Bryant in the 2013 draft. Appel recently cleared waivers, and he'll start 2018 at Triple-A Lehig...
Mark Appel Contract Information:
Signed with the Astros in June of 2013.
Appel said in an interview with Joon Lee of Bleacher Report that he is taking an "indefinite break" from professional baseball.
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Mark Appel: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Appel, the top pick in the 2013 first-year player draft (infamously, over Kris Bryant), was limited to eight starts at Triple-A in his first year in the Phillies' organization. A shoulder strain forced Appel to the shelf initially and he underwent surgery in late June to remove a bone spur from his elbow. The results early on were decent enough, with Appel allowing a total of four earned runs in his first four starts for Triple-A Lehigh Valley (22 innings), but the peripherals were less than stellar. The right-hander issued 20 walks in his eight starts -- his walk rate has steadily risen as he's advanced up the minor league ladder. He was said to be back to full health entering spring training, and he did fan 10 in nine Grapefruit League innings, but Appel was among the first couple rounds of spring roster cuts. While Appel is on the 40-man roster and thus could get an opportunity this season, his stuff has not looked rotation-worthy and he's almost 26. There's no reason to stash him in single-season leagues. Even those in keeper leagues with minor league spots should consider cutting bait at this point.
Despite less-than-stellar results at every minor league stop with the Astros, Appel continued to ascend the ranks last season. In June, he was promoted to Triple-A Fresno and made 12 starts in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League, going 5-2 with a 4.48 ERA, 1.39 WHIP and 61:28 K:BB ratio over 68.1 innings. With a mid-90s fastball, and above-average secondary offerings (slider and changeup), Appel has the stuff to become a mid-rotation starter in the big leagues, but for every flash of brilliance he displays, an absolute dud follows. The No. 1 pick of the 2013 draft, he was included in the package to Philadelphia in the Ken Giles trade, which only lent further credence to Appel's detractors. Appel must show improved consistency if he expects to crack the Phillies' rotation at some point in the first half. The time to sell high in dynasty leagues may have passed, but if a top-100 prospect is still available in return, owners should jump on that before the start of the season.
Appel's bizarre 2014 started off on the wrong foot after his spring was cut short due to an appendectomy. Once healthy, he opened the season with High-A Lancaster and struggled (6.23 ERA) through four starts before the Astros sent him back to extended spring training to regain his velocity. Instead of sitting in the mid-90s, Appel was topping out around 90 mph, likely due to a combination of the appendectomy and difficulty adjusting to the Astros' tandem starter development system. The setback lasted just over a month before he was averaging 95 mph again, and while he endured further struggles upon his return to Lancaster, including wrist and thumb injuries, Appel persevered and began flashing the potential that made him the top overall pick of the 2013 draft. A somewhat controversial promotion to Double-A Corpus Christi was a risk that paid off for the Astros, as Appel responded with a 3.69 ERA and 38:13 K:BB over 39 innings with the Hooks. He was a standout pitcher in the Arizona Fall League as well, but despite his recent resurgence, Appel likely needs a big year at Double-A and/or Triple-A to earn a shot with the major league club in 2015.
Appel, the No. 1 overall pick of the 2013 MLB draft, pitched at two levels in his first professional season, accumulating 10 starts between short-season Tri-City and Low-A Quad Cities. He was impressive in those starts, posting solid ratios (7.8 K/9, 2.1 BB/9) en route to a 3-1 record with a 3.79 ERA and 1.18 WHIP. With a major league ready three-pitch arsenal that includes a mid-90s fastball, hard slider and circle changeup, Appel proved more than capable of getting a significant number of his outs on the ground (2.24 GB/FB) and subsequently, kept the ball inside the park (0.5 HR/9). The 22-year-old will likely open the season at Double-A Corpus Christi. If all goes well, Appel is a solid bet to join the Astros at some point this season.