It has been easy to root for pitcher Mark Appel in recent years.

The former first-round pick for the Houston Astros went from a world of expectations to being out of baseball. In 2021, Appel made his return to the Phillies organization and worked his way into the major leagues for the first time in 2022, a feel-good story all-around.

Even as the Phillies released Appel on Monday, Appel is still smiling.

On his Twitter account Tuesday, Appel expressed his great gratitude for his time with the Phillies:

Philly, thank you. For everything. In 2015, you believed in me and traded for me, even as I struggled with performance and injuries. In 2018, you graciously supported me as I dealt with my struggles off the field.


In 2021, you welcomed me back, giving me a chance to play again. In 2022, you changed my life by letting me taste the big leagues for the first time in my life. A night I’ll never forget. Then we go on and win the National League, appearing in the WS for the first time since 09.


I wouldn’t change one thing about my time in your beautiful city, playing for this storied organization. I’ll have more opportunities as I keep working to play this game, but the one thing I won’t have is the pleasure to show up every day to a clubhouse of the best people I know


From top to bottom, you’ve shown me nothing but love. You’ve welcomed me into your family and given me experiences I never thought I’d have. I’m forever grateful. Always will be. Thank you.

On Appel's personal website, he noted that he left the game in 2018 due to "injury and poor performance" and that one publication called him "the biggest bust in MLB history."

Appel notes that he has discovered a "love of writing" and will write a newsletter for all who wish to read.

Appel was the first overall pick in the first round of the 2013 MLB Draft by the Houston Astros.  After some injuries and occasional struggles with his command in the Astros organization, Appel was part of the trade that sent closer Ken Giles to the Astros.  The Phillies received Appel, Vince Velasquez, Brett Oberholtzer, Tom Eshelman, and Harold Arauz in exchange for Giles and Jonathan Arauz.

After a tough 2017 campaign, the Phillies outrighted Appel off of the 40-man roster.  Before the 2018 season began, Appel left the game.

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After three years away, Appel returned to the Phillies organization in 2021. Appel split 2021 between Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley and remained mostly off the radar for a potential big league promotion.  With another opportunity in 2022, Appel made the most of it.

After going 5-0 with a 1.61 earned run average, Appel would get his first taste of the major leagues.  A roster substitution for Connor Brogdon's COVID illness, the former first overall pick of 2013 made his first major league appearance nine years and three weeks later.

Appel returned to Phillies camp as a minor league free agent with an invitation to Spring Training.  Appel made the announcement on March 18th that this would "likely be his last" attempt.

Appel calls his release on the day he expressed his gratitude, "purely coincidental."  Appel wrote, "I did not see it coming, but I understand it".  Despite his release, Appel wrote that he is "beyond grateful."

It is unclear whether Appel will try to latch on with another team.

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