Phuture Phillies 2017 Reader Top 30 Poll for #18

Mark Appel was your selection as the #17 prospect in the Phillies’ organization. Appel received 92 of 303 votes (30%) to achieve a plurality victory over Nick Pivetta (56 votes, 18%), Ben Lively (46 votes, 15%), and Alberto Tirado (30 votes, 10%).  

Mark Appel was drafted out of high school by the Detroit Tigers in the 15th round of the 2009 MLB June Amateur Draft.  He opted to attend college and was re-drafted as a Junior by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 1st round (8th overall) of the 2012 MLB June Amateur Draft from Stanford University.  He opted to return to school and was re-drafted as a Senior by the Houston Astros in the 1st round (1st overall) of the 2013 MLB June Amateur Draft.

Appel made 2 short appearances in the NY-Penn League before advancing to Full A in 2013. He started 2014 in Advanced A and after 4 months finished the season in AA.  Appel attended the Arizona Fall League after the 2014 season.  2015 found Appel in AA for 2 months before he finished the season in AAA.  at this point, Appel was probably a disappointment for Astros’ fans, his ERA was disappointing at around 4.50 and his K/9 aand BB/9 were moving in the wrong directions.

During the off season following the 2015 season, the Phillies acquired Appel as part of the package they received in the “Giles Trade”.  The traded RHP Ken Giles and a low minor league infielder (SS Jonathan Arauz) to the Houston Astros for LHP Brett Oberholtzer, RHP Harold Arauz, RHP Tom Eshelman, RHP Vince Velasquez, and Appel.

Appel gets an “Incomplete” for the 2016 season.  After 8 starts with Lehigh Valley, he was put on the DL with a strained right shoulder on May 27th.  His season was done.  His game logs show that he pitched well in his first 4 games (3-0, 1.64 ERA), but not so well in his second 4 games (0-3, 8.28).  It’s likely that Appel tried to pitch through pain at some point, and that his numbers were affected by his shoulder well before he went on the DL.

I reported during Instructs, that I overheard Dickie Noles talking to one of their top scouts about how well Appel looked during a mound session.  He reminded them of how good he looked at the start of the season before the injury .  And I checked with Joe Jordan to see if I could report such.  Sounds good.

However, in an effort to report both sides, this statement was made during Gelb’s chat in response to a question about recent reports on Appel, “Just chatter for now. The Phillies expect him to be ready for spring training. He’s been throwing. I think Appel’s future is in the bullpen, and I have heard that from numerous talent evaluators across the game. Some organizations were surprised to see the Phillies protect him before the Rule 5 draft. But it’s hard to give up on an arm that had enough talent to go 1-1 in the draft.”

This is the discussion that has been going on here for weeks, rotation or bull pen.  I’m sure we’ll get an answer this season.

Next up is your selection for the #18 prospect in the organization with the following additions to the poll, 4 pitchers and an outfielder – Seranthony DominguezRanger SuarezNick Fanti, Jordan Kurokawa and Josh Stephen.


Poll to date –

  1. J.P. Crawford
  2. Jorge Alfaro
  3. Mickey Moniak
  4. Roman Quinn
  5. Nick Williams
  6. Franklyn Kilome
  7. Sixto Sanchez
  8. Rhys Hoskins
  9. Dylan Cozens
  10. “C” Randolph
  11. Scott Kingery
  12. Kevin Gowdy
  13. Harold Arauz
  14. Andrew Knapp
  15. Jhailyn Ortiz
  16. Adonis Medina
  17. Mark Appel

23 thoughts on “Phuture Phillies 2017 Reader Top 30 Poll for #18

  1. No problem with Pivetta here.

    Tirado vs Lively though, I just don’t see how you pick Lively. Both are on the 40 man and have no big league experience. Tirado is going to be 22 all year. Lively will be 25 all season. Tirado’s fastball sits 6 MPH faster and he has a wipeout slider. He has two pitches that are miles ahead of anything Lively has.

    I’m not even sure Lively has much of a proximity advantage. There are seven guys who are clearly ahead of him on the SP depth charts. He needs three injuries in front of him and then he still needs to jumps ahead of the Pivetta/Asher/Appel/whatever else logjam. It honestly feels like the front office is uncomfortable with any plan that has him starting. He’s a contingency plan as a starter and a middling reliever prospect.

    I took Tirado and have Valentin and then Pivetta next…

    1. I left out Tirado’s command in the post above. It’s clearly been the thing keeping him from being an elite prospect. However, I think it’s important to point out that the Phillies clearly thought enough of his command/control improvement as a starter to protect him. The year before, as a reliever, he showed no control and was left unprotected. He was sterling as a starter at the end of the season and he did it for just long enough to make you believe. He’s struggled again with his control as a reliever in the winter league, so I don’t know. I’m curious if the group has any examples of pitchers who improved as starters over relievers?

      1. I agree completely.

        All the prospects for whom we’re voting now have warts. And so its potential upside that sways me.

        What’s the best case for Lively? A back-end, fungible 5th-6th starter.

        Tirado has boatloads more promise.

        And I’d place Pivetta in-between those two. Younger than Lively, better K-rate. Doesn’t throw as hard as Tirado.

        I’d also put Eshelman, Arano and Viza in the conversation.

      2. Based on pure stuff alone, Tirado will be one of the best arm in the farm. The Phils protected him because of the potential of his “stuff” (which other teams can hide Tirado in their pen) not because he is already ready. On contrast, a prospect like Lively who has average stuff across the board with no projection left — and almost a (low end – #4/#5) finished product — this where proximity comes in so Lively will most likely get the call ahead of Tirado.

        Tirado’s electric made his ceiling higher than most of the SPs in the 40-man, but it doesn’t mean he goes in the front of the line just for pure stuff alone especially if the Phils are not yet ready to win and they are still evaluation who they need to trade.

  2. 2016 Cole Stobbe vs 2015 Lucas Williams?
    I thought Lucas was going to have a good 2016 based on his draft round and plate discipline.

    I see some similarities as 3rd Rounders, athletic 3B who were SS in high school, RHB with projection . Stobbe was obviously better known in HS and has better power projection while Lucas has better speed.

    I would be surprised if anyone had Lucas in their Top40 (especially since bat and speed seem better profiled to middle infield. But Stobbe, with a 2016 a little better than Lucas’ 2015, will likely be ranked much higher. I will be a bit more hesitant on Stobbe than I would have been last year.

    1. Ronus, I’m with you on this one.

      I saw Garcia pitch once last year and he was impressive. In the zone the whole way. He’s got a fastball now comfortably in the 90s. I like his stat line, and I like Matt Winkleman’s report after last season:

      Has a good curve and developing secondary pitches. If his improvement last season is indicative, he may well develop those pitches. And ya gotta have a lefty somewhere.

  3. I go back and forth between Pivetta and Lively here – last week I voted for Lively, but changed my mind today and voted for Pivetta because of the upside.

    By the way, I was reviewing some of our prospects and came across something interesting regarding Andrew Pullin, who could end up being a nice player for us. Unlike Hoskins and Cozens (especially Cozens), Pullin had better away splits for 2016 in the EL than he had home splits at Reading. He hit like .375 away from Reading with the same number of homers he had at Reading and with a higher OPS. I haven’t given up on him, although playing the outfield is going to make further promotions more difficult for him. But he can really hit.

    1. Jim Salisbuty has heard from many inside the FO they really like Pullin’s potential.
      Comparing Williams and Pullin, strictly offense, Pullin appeared to be progressing and Williams seemed to flattened out last season. Since both are primarily LFers going forward, should make for an interesting competition. Williams of course has all the natural raw tools, Puillin just can hit, so far. Also, both born same month , same year, so age is not a factor for either.

  4. I voted Valentin again. He seems the forgotten man in the Kingery hype. He’s a month younger than Kingery and a level ahead of him. They both played some time at Reading last season and Valentin was about 150 OPS points better. To my eye they are comparable defensively, with Kingery’s only obvious advantage being speed. They are both primo draft picks, with Valentin actually being a higher pick as the Dodgers’ first round supplemental pick back in 2012 out of H.S. I still rate it a toss-up between Hernandez, Valentin, and Kingery (and rank them in that order) as our 2B of the future.

    1. Kingery is the white, scrappy, second base, high draft choice from the PAC-12 that everyone is dreaming of becoming Utley 2.0.

      To me, it says more about how incredible Utley was – and how desperate people are for the second coming of chase, then how well kingery profiles. I think a lot of people are very willing to overlook the red flags/flaws and limited ceiling because of this.

  5. Everyone makes very good points but invited for Lively again because he didn’t fall into 18 wins last year. I think the guy just knows how to pitch. Tirado has a higher upside but could also be a flame out due to bad control. Pivetta clearly is ckosing in on Lively and is younger. Spring training will be a great chance to see these arms against some better players.

      1. Good for you, Murray. I can’t stand spell check. Because I have friends and family in the Caribbean and in South America I write to them in Spanish. You should see what the unmentionable “aide” does with Spanish. It’s embarrassing and takes twice as much time to write..

  6. My concern on Appel is that if he can’t make it as a starter how is he going to make it from the Pen when according to most who have worked with him are saying a majority of his problems come out of the stretch?

    1. @DMAR – Appel still have a very good stuff. In the Pen, Appel will only need to pitch 10-20 pitches (30 tops) compared to 80-100 as SP. With less # of pitches, the Phils hope that Appel can concentrate to use the pitch(es) that he can control best.

      1. We’ll see Kuko I think he gets at least 10 starts in LHV before they even consider a move to the pen but as the season moves along that is something I’d be paying attention to…

        meaning how is he doing with runners on base…

        1. @DMAR – i agree that there’s concerns with Appel starting. but these concerns will be minimized when he will be moved to the pen. the biggest difference between starting and pen is that the batters will (most likely) see you once and chances are pen arms are called upon when the match up favors them.

          1. I thought the majority of his problems were mental?

            Maybe that parlays into trouble with men on base, when overthinking and nervousness come into play.

            Cocksure he isn’t; and you need a bit of bulldog in you on the mound.

          2. The biggest difference between starting and the pen is pitching from the stretch. If you want to assume he only comes in on a clean inning you might be right but if you want to see what these scouts are saying go look at his runners on base splits

            2016-929 OPS
            2015-843 OPS
            2014-936 OPS

            The delta between that and his no runners on OPS is huge and when you compare it with guys like Velasquez and Thompson they are way high. Heck even Lively’s figures are no where near that.

  7. Lively again here, since i still think a good indicator of future success is past success. Lively’s arguably had the best minor league career on the board.
    I know there’s a big difference between the majors and minors and there are guys who have better stuff but pitching is about deception and if you can’t deceive the hitter even galvis can take chapman deep or if you can’t throw strikes hitters will catch on quick.
    Lively has a deceptive delivery and seems to know when to throw strikes.

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