Before that, he was the first overall pick in the 2013 draft, chosen by the Houston Astros, his hometown team. Then-Astros GM Jeff Luhnow called him “the most significant investment… in an amateur player” in franchise history.
But by early 2018, ahead of spring training, Appel was announcing his retirement from baseball, before he’d even made his big-league debut. The road in between was littered with high ERAs at various minor-league levels, injuries and surgeries, and a trade to the Phillies, along with Vince Velasquez, who was released earlier this week.
Now, Appel is 30 years old and back in the Phillies organization after stepping away three years ago. He’s pitched in both Double and Triple-A this season.
Phillies pitching prospect Mark Appel tweets a long list of inspiring advice and lessons he’s learned throughout a tumultuous career
Today, Appel made the decision to enter the fray of Twitter. He began his tweeting career with a thread full of important advice, “hard-earned lessons,” and inspiration:
The knowledge he dropped is pure gold:
- Talent finds a way. Don’t worry about who’s watching.
- Tell someone you believe in them. It goes a long way.
- Opportunity comes when you least expect it. Be ready.
- It’s your career. You can always say “No.”
- Know your priorities.
- You can be content without being complacent (my personal favorite)
- It’s okay to not be okay
- Regularly assess your reality and redefine your wins
- Don’t be afraid to take a break
- Relationships are everything (part 1 and part 2)
- Keep a long perspective
In about an hour, his following had skyrocketed from the two-hundreds to the three-thousands. Mets pitcher Marcus Stroman called Appel “one of the best human beings, with the purest heart” he’s ever met. Fellow Phillies pitching prospect Mike Adams tweeted that Appel is a legend, and let Twitter know that he throws 96 mph.
On a social media platform that is often full of negativity and criticism, current and former athletes, media members, and (most) fans responded with kindness and expressed hope that Appel would reach the big show in his second act.
His current team sent him some love, too:
Appel’s story is as inspiring as the lessons he shared on Friday. He didn’t give up on baseball, he made a choice to step away. Now, he’s choosing to try again, and in the process, wants to help people better understand athletes as human beings. And the lessons he shared apply to everyone, not just ballplayers.
His Twitter debut was a perfect game. Hopefully, his MLB debut is around the corner.