Mark Appel, 2013's first overall pick, pitches scoreless ninth in long-awaited MLB debut

Mark Appel, the first overall pick in the 2013 draft, made his long-awaited MLB debut Wednesday night during the Philadelphia Phillies' game against the Atlanta Braves.

With the Phillies trailing the Braves 4-1, Appel took the mound during the top of the ninth at Philadelphia's Citizens Bank Park. He held the defending champs off the board, needing just 10 pitches to get out of the frame. He finished with one strikeout and one hit allowed and received a rousing ovation from the Philadelphia fans.

Now 30, Appel was made the top selection nine years ago by the Houston Astros. The Stanford product bounced around the minors and eventually was traded to Philadelphia in December 2015. Appel left baseball in February 2018 due to injuries and ineffective play. After three seasons away from the game he returned to the Phillies organization in 2021.

He was called up last Saturday, which set the stage for Wednesday night's MLB breakthrough.

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“It’s pretty surreal,” Appel said of his debut. “I was trying to hold back the tears. It was emotional. It was special.” 

Appel is the fourth No. 1 overall pick to make his MLB debut this season, joining 2017’s Royce Lewis (Twins), 2019’s Adley Rutschman (Orioles) and 2020’s Spencer Torkelson (Tigers).

Mark Appel, the first overall pick in 2013, made his MLB debut on Wednesday night.
Mark Appel, the first overall pick in 2013, made his MLB debut on Wednesday night.

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Contributing: Associated Press

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Mark Appel makes MLB debut, pitches scoreless ninth for Phillies