The race for the #4 prospect in the Phillies’ organization was close. It ended with Mark Appel edging Cornelius Randolph by 12 votes. A record 593 votes were cast. Appel received 184 votes (31%) followed closely by Randolph who received 172 (29%). The real surprise was that the top two vote recipients accounted for only 60% of the votes cast.
Mark Appel was drafted 3 times before signing with the Houston Astros in 2013. He was first drafted out of high school by the Detroit Tigers in the 15th round of the 2009 MLB June Amateur Draft. In 2012, he was drafted in the 1st round, 8th pick overall, by the Pittsburgh Pirates. He declined to sign and re-entered the draft in 2013 where he was the top overall pick by the Houston Astros.
Since joining the Astros’ organization, Appel has been ranked among baseball’s top 40 prospects by Baseball America, MLB, and Baseball Prospectus.
Appel has a 4-seam fastball that sits 94-95 and touches 98, a mid-80s slider, and a change-up. All three pitches have shown plus, but he lacks command. Appel also has a 2-seam fastball that was relegated to the back of the tool shed by the Astros.
Appel began his pro career with 2 short starts at low A Tri-City in the NYPL. After just 5 IP, he was promoted to full-season A ball in Quad Cities in the Midwest League. He continued his accelerated path through the organization when the Astros had him open the 2014 season with advanced A Lancaster in the California League. After a rocky 12 starts, he was sent up to AA Corpus Christi in the Texas League. Appel finished the season with 7 strong starts in the Arizona Fall League.
In 2015, Appel logged over 130 IP between Corpus Christi and AAA Fresno in the PCL. He posted a 10-3 record for the season, but his ERA was around 5.00 while his BB/9 drifted up to 3.5. Appel’s K/9 rose from 7.0 to 8.0 with the promotion to AAA.
Reports seem to indicate that Appel still has “stuff”, but he isn’t able to throw quality strikes. His FB has little movement and his slider tends to flatten out. Hopefully, adding the 2-seamer back into his repertoire will revive his earlier projections.
Prospect Poll #5 will see the addition of Rhys Hoskins, Dylan Cozens, Deivi Grullon, and Edubray Ramos. The first 4 polls have averaged 525 votes. All 4 polls received more votes than any poll taken last year. In order to ensure an accurate vote, I have implemented the strongest tools available to me to restrict repeat voting. If this causes any problems let me know.
If you want to send your prospect list or request the early addition of a prospect, the e-mail addresses are –
firstname.lastname@example.org using the Subject – My Prospect List
email@example.com using the Subject – Add Prospect
Next up is your selection for the #5 prospect in the organization.