Phillies Re-Sign Reliever Who Made Miraculous Comeback To Baseball

He was a former No. 1 overall pick in the MLB Draft, but it took him until age 30 to finally make the majors, when the Philadelphia Phillies called him up last June. Now, reliever Mark Appel gets to stick around in the Phillies organization a bit longer.

Appel has signed a minor league deal with the Phillies, and will be invited to spring training with the big club. 

He got into six games upon his call-up in 2022, doing quite well for himself, allowing just two runs in 10.2 innings for a 1.74 ERA with a 1.16 WHIP. He wasn't blowing people away, by any means, as he averaged 4.4 K/9. But he performed well in the minors, as well, with a 3.15 ERA and 8.1 K/9.

At Stanford, Appel was one of the greatest pitchers in NCAA history, and was drafted in the top 10 of the MLB draft not once, but twice. The Pittsburgh Pirates took him at No. 8 in 2012, but he returned for his senior year at Stanford, and then was chosen No. 1 overall by the Houston Astros in 2013. 

Injuries forced Appel's career off the rails five years ago, when he stepping away from baseball in February 2018 following injuries to his labrum and rotator cuff that ultimately required surgery. He was out of the sport for three years. 

He'll try to continue his feel-good return to the majors with a strong spring training. 

Photo: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports