Colorado Rockies: Take a chance on former top pick Mark Appel?
By Kevin Henry
The Colorado Rockies have had a recent history of taking chances on former Philadelphia Phillies who might be looking for a fresh start with another organization. They now potentially have the opportunity to do the same with a former top overall pick in the Major League Baseball draft.
On Monday, the Phillies parted ways with the top pick in the 2013 MLB draft, right-handed pitcher Mark Appel. The former Stanford pitcher was designated for assignment by the team when the deadline to firm up the team’s 40-man roster before the Rule 5 deadline happened on Monday night.
Drafted first overall by the Houston Astros in 2013, Appel has spent the last two seasons at Philadelphia’s Triple-A team in Lehigh Valley (Pa.). Overall in three Triple-A seasons, Appel is 13-9 with a 4.82 ERA and 1.585 WHIP. He has struck out 155 and walked 101 in 188.2 innings.
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The 26-year-old Appel will be looking for a new organization and the Rockies might be a good fit. Despite its strong, young rotation at the Major League level, Colorado has shown it is always looking for additional pitching in the minors and players who have untapped potential. Additionally, the Rockies did take a flyer on former Phillies All-Star and National League Most Valuable Player Ryan Howard last season, signing him to a minor league deal to play with the Triple-A team in Albuquerque.
So what have been some of Appel’s biggest weaknesses in the minors? A lack of control has boosted his walk totals (3.6 per nine innings) and he has allowed 9.9 hits per nine innings as well. The strikeouts are there, but so are the negatives that will need to be ironed out before Appel were ever to make his first Major League appearance.
Whichever team picks him up (be it Colorado or another squad), it will be the third franchise in Appel’s young career. He was traded by the Astros to the Phillies organization in December of 2015 in a deal that brought Ken Giles to Houston.
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Could Colorado and Appel make a mutually beneficial partnership? Possibly. It would be well worth the chance to see another change is scenery is just what the former top overall pick needs.