Mark Appel, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 draft, made his first regular season appearance in professional game since 2017 on Saturday night. Appel started for the Philadelphia Phillies' well-named Double-A affiliate, the Reading Fightin Phils. He permitted a run on three hits, two walks, and two hit batsmen, though he did manage to strike out four batters before departing in the third inning.
Appel walked away from professional baseball ahead of the 2018 season. "I'm 26, I have a Stanford degree, I have many interests beyond baseball, which I still love, but I have a lot of things I care about," he told Bleacher Report at the time of his decision. "I enjoy challenging my mind. My last four years in baseball have challenged my mind."
Prior to turning professional, Appel authored a phenomenal career at Stanford that saw him posted a 2.57 ERA and a 4.22 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 47 starts. Appel's prospects were so promising that he was drafted with a top-10 pick twice: first by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2012 (No. 8), then again by the Houston Astros in 2013 (No. 1).