MLB

Mark Appel in line for MLB debut nine years after first overall pick

By Sports Desk June 25, 2022

Mark Appel could be about to end his long, long wait to play in the major leagues after being called up by the Philadelphia Phillies.

Appel is joining the Phillies after the team put Connor Brogdon on the COVID injured list, according to MLB.com and The Athletic.

The 30-year-old pitcher is yet to make a single MLB appearance, despite being taken with the first overall draft pick by the Houston Astros in 2013.

That was the third time Appel had been selected – and second time in the first round – but the first time he was signed.

However, Appel never played for the Astros and was traded to the Phillies after the 2015 season, having struggled in the minor leagues.

He was designated for assignment in 2017 and announced his retirement in 2018, admitting he could "probably" be considered "the biggest draft bust".

Yet Appel returned to the Phillies last year and could now get his opportunity in place of Brogdon. The team are in the middle of a four-game series against the San Diego Padres.

Appel is one of four first overall picks never to have made it to MLB, along with Steve Chilcott, Brien Taylor and Brady Aiken.

The Astros also selected Aiken – in 2014, when Appel was still a part of the organisation – but a bonus dispute saw him become the first number one pick to be left unsigned since Tim Belcher in 1983.

Aiken was drafted again in 2015 by the Cleveland Indians, this time 17th overall, yet he still did not play and was released last year.

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