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2013 No. 1 Pick Mark Appel Called Up to Majors for First Time in Career

More than nine years after being selected as the No. 1 pick in the 2013 MLB draft, pitcher Mark Appel will finally get his chance to be a big leaguer. 

Phillies interim manager Rob Thomson announced that Appel will join the team at Petco Park on Saturday for the third game of a four-game series against the Padres. Philadelphia lost right-hander and setup man Connor Brogdon to the COVID-19 injured list, leaving a spot open for the 30-year-old rookie.

Prior to his call up Saturday, Appel was one of just three No. 1 picks in baseball history—along with Brien Taylor (Yankees, 1991) and Steven Chilcott (Mets, 1966)—to not make it to the big leagues. That will finally change when he puts on a Phillies jersey and walks out onto the field at Petco Park. 

“Completely overwhelmed. I have so many thoughts I want to share but can’t find the words, so I’ll just say this: I’m thankful,” Appel wrote on Twitter Saturday morning. “Today, I get to play a game I love as a Major League Baseball player. LET’S GOOOOO PHILLIES!!!!”

After getting drafted by Houston in 2013, Appel never quite found his footing professionally. He posted a 6.91 ERA in his first full season in 2014 and was traded by the Astros to the Phillies the following year. 

The situation didn’t get much better in Philadelphia’s farm system as Appel stumbled along to a 5.01 ERA in two seasons with Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He had bone-spur surgery in 2016 and dealt from right shoulder inflammation in ’17, the latter of which contributed to him walking away from the game entirely in 2018 at the age of 26. 

However, in March of 2021, Appel announced that he would attempt a comeback. He went a combined 3–6 with a 6.06 ERA in 23 appearances and 15 starts last season with Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley. 

In 2022, the Phillies made Appel a full-time reliever and the decision quickly paid dividends. The 30-year-old is 5–0 with a 1.61 ERA in 19 appearances in Triple-A, racking up 24 strikeouts and just eight walks in 28 innings so far this season.

Philadelphia will now reward Appel for his impressive turnaround and have him join the top team on Saturday. He’ll take the field with the rest of the Phillies against the Padres at 10:10 p.m. ET.

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