Mark Appel is a Number 1 pick in all of baseball from 2013
Number 1 picks in baseball are usually fairly indicative of a player that is bound for some greatness in the game further down the road in his career.
Looking at the last Phillies 1st round pick at number 1 overall, you would have to go back to Pat Burrell to 1998 that the Phillies were able to draft at Number 1, as they will do in the June 2016 draft this upcoming year.
Mark Appel is now on the Phillies team, his pick at #1 overall in 2013 was the result of some last place finishes in all of baseball by the Houston Astros, enabling them to pick back to back as the #1 pick in all of baseball. The previous year, the Astros picked Carlos Correa and he is now a household name in the game of baseball.
Appel received a whopping $6.35M dollar signing bonus as the Astros number 1 pick back in '13, and he is currently ranked at #7 in the top signing bonuses in the history of baseball. Why then would the Astros be willing to part with him?
Ken Giles, recently installed as a Phillies closer, was traded to the Houston Astros for a package of players that included Appel and others. Houston's surplus of quality talent was a boon to the Phillies, who desperately needed to become younger, and better.
The comparison is that Giles has been having success in the MLB being a closer, if not only for a short time with the team, he only had 15 saves on a Phillies team last season that didn't have too many games available to save. Appel on the other hand has been a work in progress
Appel is a graduate of Stanford University, his last two seasons in college yielded a 10-2 and a 10-4 record. That was in 2012 and 2013. Appel's rise through the Astros minor league system was somewhat normal for a #1 pick but the stop at AAA Fresno last year in the Pacific Coast League didn't yield great results but his overall record was 5-2 with a 4.48 ERA. Not exactly the kind of finish that would make a team want to trade you.
Mark Appel's minor league totals in 3 seasons of minors is not stellar though, his record is 16-11 with a 5.12 ERA. Comparing Appel and Phillies starter Aaron Nola's minor league records, below in the chart, you can say that these two pitchers are faily evenly matched, throwing out the 9.82 ERA that Appel had in 2014 in 12 games in A+ ball. Graphic is courtesy of The Baseball Cube.
Adding all of this up, if Appel can find his groove with the Phillies we just may have a terrific starting rotation in 2016. That's something we won't know for a couple more months to come, but it's a sign that things may start to turn around for this team that really hit a low last year that we haven't experienced for many years before.