The Phillies are set to select the contract of right-handed pitcher Mark Appel, placing Connor Brogdon on the COVID-19 Injured List in a corresponding move. This will be the first taste of major league action for the almost 31-year-old Appel, who has had a rocky career since being chosen with the number one overall pick in the 2013 draft.
Appel was selected first overall by the Houston Astros in 2013 out of Stanford, and went off the rails pretty quickly. He had a decent showing his first year in the minors across two levels, but never posted a full season ERA under 4.00 in subsequent years.
The Astros dealt Appel to the Phillies alongside Vince Velasquez and a few others pieces ahead of the 2016 season in exchange for Ken Giles, and he continued to struggle in the Phils’ system. He eventually would step away from the game in early 2018, owing to the pressure and disappointment he had experienced in his career to that point.
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Mark Appel would make his way back to affiliated ball in 2021, splitting time between the Phillies’ Double-A and Triple-A affiliates. He struggled to 6.06 ERA across both levels, but observers were encouraged simply to see him giving it another shot. He finally kicked things into gear in 2022, tossing 28.0 innings in relief for Triple-A Lehigh Valley, while carrying a marvelous 1.93 ERA. The Phillies have had their fair share of bullpen problems so far this year, and fans are hoping that Appel can bring a bit of stability to the relief corps.
Brogdon has been one of the Phils’ most reliable relievers so far this year, as he’s worked to an excellent 2.04 ERA across 17.2 innings of work. Hopefully he’ll have just a short stay on the IL, and will be back getting hitters out promptly. In the meantime, we’ll cross our fingers and hope that a revitalized Mark Appel can finally make good on his talent from a decade ago.