Mark Appel Looks for More Than Baseball

Mark Appel has had his trip to the majors hit roadblocks almost at every stop. The former overall top pick in the 2013 draft figured to be pitching in the majors – possibly for at least a couple seasons – by now, but he’s only reached Triple-A.  Now, it appears that Appel has decided that he has other things to explore and is walking away from baseball.

Appel spent most of 2016 on the DL with an elbow injury that required surgery, the 26-year old told Bleacher Report that he is taking an “indefinite break” from baseball. In the article, Appel points out that he has a degree from Stanford and has interests that extend beyond baseball. On his Twitter feed, Appel speaks about being “at peace” with the decision and mentions his faith in God frequently.

The Phillies acquired Appel from the Houston Astros as a piece of the trade that sent Ken Giles to Houston. The Phillies believed that a change of scenery might reverse Appel’s career, but unfortunately, it just never happened. In two seasons at Lehigh Valley, Appel was 8-7 with a 5.01 ERA. The biggest issue to Appel’s success was a lack of control as he issued 74 walks in 122 1/3 innings over the past two seasons with Lehigh Valley. Because of the lack of control, Appel also struggled to pitch deep into games, averaging just under five innings per start with the IronPigs.

At the time of the trade, the Phillies elected to take Appel over outfield prospect Derek Fisher. Not only did they believe that he would be able to turn things around, but there have long been concerns over the health of Vince Velasquez, who was also included in the trade.


Chuck Hixson

Chuck has a wide and varied background in covering sports both locally and nationally. Living in the Lehigh Valley area of Pennsylvania, Chuck has the distinction of being the only person to have covered both the Lehigh Valley IronPigs and Lehigh Valley Phantoms in every season of their existence. Chuck began covering sports in 1998 when he was the first program director and morning host at WTKZ-AM in Allentown, Pennsylvania when the station switched to an all sports format. Chuck produced the stations coverage of the Allentown Ambassadors baseball team, which played in the independent Northeast League. From there, Chuck was the editor and writer of Pinstripes magazine, covering Phillies baseball. That led to Chuck founding Philly Baseball Insider in 2003. Chuck has done freelance work for national entities such as USA TODAY, CBS, FOX Sports, Washington Times and others.

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