The Philadelphia Phillies announced a list of 21 players expected to attend major league spring training as non-roster invitees.
Former first-round draft pick Mark Appel is on the list.
We back https://t.co/stBX59iFr5
— Mark Appel (@markappel26) January 24, 2023
The 31-year-old pitcher will try to win a spot in the Phillies’ bullpen for Opening Day.
It won’t be easy, since the unit is much, much better than what they have had in recent seasons.
Appel was selected first overall by the Houston Astros in 2013 and was traded to the Phillies as part of the Ken Giles deal in 2016.
An inability to perform and, above all things, injuries have prevented Appel from having a successful career in baseball.
He managed to pitch 10.1 innings with the Phillies last year, with an excellent 1.74 ERA but a disappointing five strikeouts.
Recurring shoulder and elbow issues have gotten in the way, but there is no reason to think Appel can’t still make it as a middle reliever in MLB.
It will depend entirely on him.
He had actually elected free agency in November 2022, and tested the market for a few weeks before taking the Phillies’ spring training invite.
His career definitely didn’t develop quite as he planned, but he is still here fighting to become a consistent major leaguer.
Those 10.1 innings he pitched with the Phillies last season actually represented his MLB debut.
That says a lot about the path his career took, but also about his determination and mental strength.
Hopefully, he can carve out a role on the Phillies’ staff and be part of their new quest for the World Series.