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Phillies Believe Change Of Scenery Will Help Appel

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Mark Appel (Photo by Bill Setliff) Mark Appel (Photo by Bill Setliff)[/caption] PHILADELPHIAMark Appel doesn’t make any excuses. He hasn’t reached the expectations that made him the first overall pick by the Astros in the 2013 draft. "That’s on me,” the 24-year-old, former Stanford righthander said.
He joins the Phillies with a positive outlook, intent on fulfilling his huge potential. "There’s some emotion—not bitterness or resentment, just emotion—knowing I was with the Astros and now I’m not,” said Appel, whom Houston traded to Philadelphia as part of the package for closer Ken Giles in December. "On the flip side, there’s a lot of excitement. I look at the opportunity that’s afforded me, and the fact that the Phillies front office wanted me and traded for me, and that’s exciting.” Appel reached Triple-A Fresno for 12 starts last season and projects to open at that level with the Phillies in 2016, joining a Lehigh Valley rotation that also will include imported righthanders Jake Thompson and Zach Eflin. "This really reminds me of where the Astros were when I got drafted,” Appel said. "I was able to see the turnaround and how quickly it can happen.” Appel has been haunted by command and consistency issues as a pro. He went 10-3, 4.37 with a 1.41 WHIP in 25 starts last season at Double-A Corpus Christi and Fresno. Appel has heard all the critiques that go with unfulfilled potential, everything from he’s too nice to he’s simply a bust. He said he’s learned from failure. "I know I definitely have the ability to be a consistent, dominant pitcher,” he said. New general manager Matt Klentak has focused on building pitching depth—he also acquired young righties Vincent Velasquez and Thomas Eshelman in the Giles deal—and views Appel as a lottery ticket. "What’s encouraging to us,” Klentak said, "is the physical stuff that drove (Appel) to be the first overall pick is virtually all still there.” PHIL-UPS

Top 10 Draft Bonuses For All 30 Franchises

A team-by-team listing of top 10 draft bonuses for all 30 franchises.

• The Phillies hired Ned Rice as assistant general manager in January. He spent 11 years in the Orioles’ front office, most recently as director of major league administration. • Benny Looper, a long-time assistant GM in charge of scouting and player development, moved to senior advisor for international operations.

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