Mark Appel Feb 25, 2017; Clearwater, FL, USA; Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Mark Appel (66) throws a pitch during the fifth inning against the New York Yankees at Spectrum Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Mark Appel had seen this day coming for years.

The former No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 MLB Draft, Appel was released by the Philadelphia Phillies Monday. He had been in spring training on a minor league contract.

The 31-year-old pitcher had tweeted at length in recent days about his uncertain future.

“When I was drafted in 2013, I was a ‘can’t miss’ prospect. Year after year, I was named a top prospect, but never performed,” Appel tweeted.

The Houston Astros, who picked Appel No. 1 in 2013 (future star Kris Bryant went No. 2), gave up on him after three tough minor league seasons. The Philadelphia Phillies gave him a chance, but after two frustrating years, he walked away from the sport. He candidly told Bleacher Report at that time,  “If you want to call me the biggest draft bust, you can call it that.

But Appel returned to baseball in 2021, and after a solid 2022 season with the Phillies Triple-A affiliate (3.83 ERA). he finally made his MLB debut last year. He pitched in six games, posting a 1.74 ERA in 10 1/3 innings.

“I got to extend my career longer than I deserved,” Appel tweeted Saturday. “The days of endless opportunity are long gone. I face a new reality: Every season from now on will likely be my last. Not dramatic. Candid.

He admitted he faced long odds making the roster this spring. In 5 2/3 innings over games, he allowed six walks, ten hits and three home runs.

“I am a 31-year-old rookie relief pitcher with 6 MLB appearances to my name. I’m not on the 40-man roster,” he tweeted. “I’m a career 5+ minor league ERA pitcher with a history of injuries. All logic suggests the odds are not in my favor.”

Appel’s baseball career may be over, but his honesty is refreshing. He responded to his release with several Twitter posts.

“From top to bottom, you’ve shown me nothing but love,” he tweeted. “You’ve welcomed me into your family and given me experiences I never thought I’d have. I’m forever grateful. Always will be. Thank you.”

[MLB Trade Rumors]

About Arthur Weinstein

Arthur spends his free time traveling around the U.S. to sporting events, state and national parks, and in search of great restaurants off the beaten path.