The world of professional baseball is not an easy one to concur, many players with so much promise get lost in the wild forest of Minor League Baseball. This happens for a litany of reasons, the player didn't have the mental make-up, injuries occurred, or maybe they just flat out didn't have the talent or opportunity to make it to the show.  Here's the story of one of these types of players from the Houston Astros who's decided to retire at the age of 26.

Mark Appel had just concluded his senior season at Stanford University in 2013. He had an exceptional year, 10-4 with four complete games and two shutouts. He also struck out 130 batters in 106.1 innings pitched, while walking only 23 hitters he faced. He was a stud.

The Houston Astros had finished 2012 with the worst record in baseball at, 55-107 and were awarded the first overall pick in the 2013 Major League Baseball Draft.

Appel's hometown just so happened to be Houston, TX and even though everybody wanted him, only one team was going to get him. That team was his hometown team of the Houston Astros. He received a lucrative $6.35 million dollars as a signing bonus.

It was said that he would concur the Minor Leagues with ease and would find himself in as a staple of the Houston Astros rotation for years to come. Dream come true right?

Well, as I detailed in the beginning of this piece, the world of professional baseball can be a very unpredictable one.

Appel would spend three seasons in the Astros Minor League system with varying results as he dealt with injury and inconsistent pitching. While he was able to hang on to his stellar command, he wasn't able to produce the swing and miss stuff that he displayed while dominating at Stanford.

With those varying results came doubt, doubt that he would ever be able to live up to the hype in which he was drafted with and after his third season the team decided to make a move.

He would be packaged in a trade to the Philadelphia Phillies that would return relief pitcher Ken Giles.

After playing two seasons in the Phillies minor league system in Triple-A Lehigh Valley he's decided to step away from the game of baseball at the tender age of 26.

This couldn't have been an easy decision for Appel who undoubtedly loved the game of baseball and it'll certainly infuriate Astros fans to know that he was selected above a couple notable names from that draft class:

  • Kris Bryant-2nd (Cubs)
  • Jon Gray-3rd (Rockies)
  • Clint Frazier-5th (Indians)
  • Aaron Judge-32nd (Yankees)
  • Sean Manaea-34th (Royals)

Although, I'm sure Astros fans won't complain TOO MUCH, seeing as they're coming off winning the World Series in 2017. If anything, the Stros deserve credit for being able to turn the missed draft pick into a back end of the bullpen type of Major League reliever.

Mark Appel said he's not sure if he'll ever return to professional baseball, but for now he's stepping away to try his hand in the world of business, saying either, "private equity or business".

Best of luck to you Mark Appel, I hope you find success in whatever venture you get into next.

If you want to check out the entire story on Mark Appel, check it out on Bleacher Report.


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