Mark Appel, known around these parts as the Pirates’ unsigned 2012 first-round pick, has announced he’s taking an “indefinite break” from professional baseball.
A top-of-the-draft pitching talent coming from Stanford, Appel slipped in the 2012 draft due to signability concerns, until the Pirates snapped him up at No. 8. Appel didn’t sign with the Pirates, returned to Stanford and ended up being taken first overall by the Astros in 2013.
The Pirates’ compensation pick for not signing Appel was used to take Austin Meadows ninth overall in 2013.
Appel was eventually traded to the Phillies, and he topped out at Triple-A — he posted a 5.27 ERA at Lehigh Valley in 2017.
If Appel is done with pro baseball for good, he would be just the third No. 1 overall pick to not reach the Major Leagues (Brien Taylor, Yankees, 1991 and Steve Chilcott, Mets, 1966 being the others). He’d be the first Pirates first-rounder at any slot to end his career before reaching the majors since 1999 pick Bobby Bradley (there are still active first-rounders who could reach this distinction).