Phillies Get Mark Appel in Finalized Ken Giles Trade


The Philadelphia Phillies have acquired former first overall MLB Amateur Draft pick Mark Appel from the Houston Astros.

The trade sending closer Ken Giles from the Phils to the Astros at this past week’s Winter Meetings was officially announced today. Surprisingly, it was Appel in the final version of the deal, and not outfielder Derek Fisher as originally reported.

In the end, the Phillies acquired pitchers Appel, Vincent Velasquez, Brett Oberholtzer, Thomas Eshelman, and Harold Arauz in exchange for Giles and infielder Jonathan Arauz. Though both Arauz’ are from Panama, they are not believed to be related to one another.

While the outfielder Fisher would have been a nice addition, Appel has to be considered even more so, as he was Houston’s #2 overall prospect according to the current MLB Pipeline rankings and the midseason rankings at Baseball America. MLB Pipeline has immediately slotted him into the #2 spot in the Phillies system, behind only shortstop J.P. Crawford.

In all, Appel was actually drafted three different times, twice in the first round. The Detroit Tigers made him their 15th round selection out of high school back in 2009. He chose to attend Stanford University instead, and the Pittsburgh Pirates then made him the #8 overall pick in the first round of the 2012 MLB Amateur Draft. Appel chose not to sign, and became the top overall pick by the Astros in 2013.

Over the last three seasons in the Houston minor league system, Appel has gone 16-11 with a 5.12 ERA. He has allowed 280 hits in 253 innings pitched across 54 games, 53 of those as a starting pitcher. He has a 221/84 K:BB ratio, with 51 of those walks allowed last season split between the AA and AAA levels.

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Working on his control is the final piece to the Appel puzzle. While he will come to spring training in the battle for a spot in the big league rotation, it is more likely that he will join Jake Thompson at the top of the rotation at AAA Lehigh Valley. Both pitchers will push for roles as the 2016 season moves along.

I covered most of the other principles in the deal in my previous piece when the deal was first announced. Harold Arauz is a 20-year old righty signed by Houston as a 17-year old out of Panama in July of 2011. In parts of four seasons in the Houston system, Harold has gone 11-8 with a 3.54 ERA and 175 hits allowed in 185.1 innings, with a 178/52 K:BB ratio.

Going to Houston, Jonathan Arauz is a middle infielder who signed with the Phils out of Panama as a 16-year old in August of 2014. Last year was his first season in the organization, and he spent it playing 25 games at 2nd base and 19 at shortstop for the club’s Gulf Coast League affiliate. He was ranked #20 by Baseball America on their list of the GCL prospects this past season.

Earlier today, the Phillies announced the acquisition of veteran starting pitcher Charlie Morton from the Pittsburgh Pirates. In that piece, I discussed the growing number of options now competing for spots in the 2016 starting rotation.

That piece did not obviously include Appel or Thompson, now the Phillies’ #2 and #3 prospects, who will begin pushing hard for big league roles next summer. GM Matt Klentak said that he is going to focus on bringing in more quality pitching, and he is proving a man of his word.

Next: Phils Trade for Charlie Morton