Phillies prospect Mark Appel taking a break from baseball

CINCINNATI, OH - JULY 12: Mark Appel #26 of the U.S. Team throws a pitch against the World Team during the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at the Great American Ball Park on July 12, 2015 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - JULY 12: Mark Appel #26 of the U.S. Team throws a pitch against the World Team during the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at the Great American Ball Park on July 12, 2015 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /
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A major piece of the Ken Giles trade is walking away from the Phillies

Phillies pitching prospect Mark Appel is taking an indefinite leave from baseball, and his return isn’t guaranteed. The former number one overall pick spoke with Joon Lee of Bleacher Report and said  “I don’t know what the future holds. I’m pursuing other things, but also trying to become a healthy human.”

Appel came to Philadelphia in the Ken Giles trade along with Vince Velasquez, Thomas Eshelman, Brett Oberholtzer, and Harold Arauz for the flame-throwing closer. Appearing in just 46 games in the Phillies farm system Appel has a 4.96 ERA and a 13-11 record.

After suffering from shoulder inflammation last year Philadelphia designated Appel for assignment to make room on their 40-man roster. Going unclaimed this offseason, Appel was returned to the Lehigh Valley IronPigs on a minor league deal.

Appel would be just the third number one overall pick to never pitch in the major leagues, following Steve Chilcott of the New York Mets (1966) and Brien Taylor of the New York Yankees (1991). He was projected to reach the majors quicker than any other prospect and be one of the best starters in baseball.

Losing Appel for an indefinite period of time doesn’t do great harm to the Phillies organization, but with their lack of starting pitching depth it’s not the ideal scenario. Even if Appel could be a number five starter the organization would deem his career a success.

Next: What defines success for the Phillies in 2018?

Now he’s living at home, getting healthy and enjoying life. For his sake let’s hope he finds clarity and can make a decision on how he’ll live his life going forward.