Former top prospect Mark Appel is now leaving the game after several unsuccessful seasons.
Mark Appel is one of three number one picks that didn’t make the majors. That is saying a lot considering his top-flight ceiling. He never got to his bright star potential. He was so bad even the Philadelphia Phillies let him go. Injuries didn’t help him progress as a player. Here is what he said about calling it quits:
I had high expectations. I didn’t live up to those for a number of reasons. If you want to call me the biggest Draft bust, you can call it that,” Appel said. “If I never get to the big leagues, will it be a disappointment? Yes and no. That was a goal and a dream I had at one point, but that’s with stipulations that I’m healthy, I’m happy and doing something I love. If I get to the big leagues, what’s so great about the big leagues if you’re in an isolated place, you’re hurt and you’re emotionally unhappy? How much is that worth to you?
So, the former top prospect is doing what he feels is right. If he isn’t happy, then what’s the point? Appel really has nothing to lose. He had a $6.35 million dollar signing bonus anyway. The starting pitcher seemed to deteriorate over time with the professional baseball grind. With that said, the righty couldn’t handle the burden. Everybody thought he could become a #1 starter. Sometimes it’s not meant to be.
When Appel returned to the Amateur draft in 2013 after high asking demands, he went back into it. There was so much potential surrounding him that he would be one of the next great arms. Sadly, that never turned to fruition. It all went downhill after he signed with the Astros:
Pro scouts who saw Appel almost immediately downgraded him from a front of the rotation starter to a back-end of the rotation innings eater, an amazing turnaround in a matter of months. The velocity readings were fine, but the quality of the pitches never matched the radar gun readings. His fastball was too often in the middle of the plate. His slider was hard, but it broke early and hitters never seemed baffled by him. When a hitter got on base, everything backed up as his stuff wasn’t the same pitching from the stretch.
So, it was bad from the start. Furthermore, Appel wasn’t the same as his usual self. His career just kept snowballing. In 2017, the righty struggled in the Phillies minors system with a 5.60 ERA in Triple-A. He was right on the cusp of the MLB. He has never posted an ERA of under 4.00 in 40 innings or more. It will not get easier through the levels. He had a problem with a significant out pitch and having a solid clutch factor.
Furthermore, his K/9 never got higher than 8.8. That isn’t an impressive stat for a player with ace potential. So, Mark Appel had all the promise and no results. As the years went by, prospect after prospect past him to the big leagues. Overall, the once fabled right-hander fell from prosperity and into irrelevancy. Just goes to show that prospects are prospects.