Mark Appel, top pick of 2013 draft, quitting baseball

The No. 1 overall pick of the 2013 draft has walked away from baseball without every throwing a pitch in the major leagues.

Mark Appel, a hard-throwing pitcher from Stanford taken by the Houston Astros with the No. 1 pick in the 2013 Major League Baseball draft, has announced his intention to leave the game. He was released by Philadelphia in November ahead of the winter meeting draft.

Appel told Bleacher Report he was at peace with his decision.

”If you want to call me the biggest draft bust, you can call it that,” Appel told Bleacher Report. ”If I never get to the big leagues, will it be a disappointment? Yes and no. That was a goal and a dream I had at one point, but that’s with stipulations that I’m healthy, I’m happy and doing something I love. If I get to the big leagues, what’s so great about the big leagues if you’re in an isolated place, you’re hurt and you’re emotionally unhappy? How much is that worth to you?”

Appel grew up an Astros fan in West Houston, became a college star at Stanford and received a $6.35 million signing bonus from Houston.

The 26-year-old Appel would become the third No. 1 overall pick to not make the major leagues after right-hander Steve Chilcott, chosen by the New York Mets in 1966, and left-hander Brien Taylor, selected by the New York Yankees in 1991. Chilcott sustained a separated pitching shoulder while on the bases in a minor league game in 1967, and Taylor tore the labrum and capsule his left shoulder during a bar fight in 1993.

Appel went 24-18 with a 5.06 ERA over five seasons in the minors with teams for the Astros and Philadelphia Phillies. He was picked by Houston ahead of Kris Bryant, taken by the Chicago Cubs with the second pick. Bryant was voted 2016 NL MVP after helping the Cubs win the World Series for the first time since 1908.

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