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Pitcher Mark Appel, 2013 No. 1 Pick, Taking ‘Indefinite Break’ From Baseball

2013 No. 1 pick Mark Appel is walking away from baseball, and doesn’t guarantee he’ll be back. 

Phillies minor-league pitcher Mark Appel, the first pick in the 2013 draft, is walking away from the game at the age of 26, he told Bleacher Report’s Joon Lee

Appel is taking an “indefinite break” from baseball and doesn’t guarantee he’ll be back.  

The Astros took Appel, a Houston native, ahead of Kris Bryant in the 2013 draft and expected him to be future star after three dominant college seasons. In 2014 when Sports Illustrated predicted the Astros would win the 2017 World Series, Appel was supposed to be a key 

After a decent abbreviated pro debut in 2013, Appel’s 2014 season was a disaster. He posted a 6.91 ERA in 19 appearances across two levels, including a 9.74 ERA and 1.917 WHIP in 12 starts for High-A Lancaster. The Bleacher Report story includes an anecdote about Appel venting his frustrations after one particularly nightmarish start by throwing 80 balls through a wooden wall next to his locker. (Informed he’d have to pay to fix the damage, Appel bought some supplies and repaired the locker himself.)

Houston traded Appel to the Phillies before the 2016 season, along with Vince Velasquez, Brett Oberholtzer and two minor-league pitchers, in exchange for Ken Giles and a middle infield prospect. 

Philadelphia assigned Appel to Triple A, where he continued to run high ERAs (4.46 in 2016 and 5.60 in 2017) while walking more batters than he did at the lower levels. He was designated for assignment in November and cleared waivers, allowing him to stay with the Phillies organization. 

Only two players picked first in the MLB draft have never played in the major leagues: 1993 Yankees pick Brien Taylor and 1966 Mets choice Steven Chilcott.

Appel, a Stanford graduate, now plans to find an internship and apply to business school.