Mark Appel got a fresh start when he was traded from the Astros to the Phillies this offseason as part of the Ken Giles deal, but the former No. 1 overall pick won’t be making the Opening Day roster.
That isn’t a big surprise, but Appel was sent to the minors today as one of the Phillies’ first cuts of spring training. Basically, they treated him like a random minor leaguer not close to being ready for the majors.
Appel split last season between Double-A and Triple-A, posting a 4.37 ERA and 110/51 K/BB ratio in 132 innings. He’s still just 24 years old and has a mid-90s fastball, but Appel has yet to put together any kind of consistently impressive stretch in the minors and has a career ERA of 5.12 as a pro.
His odds of making his MLB debut this season are pretty solid because the rebuilding Phillies figure to cycle through a bunch of different pitchers, but his name recognition is much, much higher than his prospect stock.
As an aside: Appel was the first pick in the 2013 draft. The second pick that year? Kris Bryant, who won Rookie of the Year for the Cubs last season.
Giants right-hander Matt Cain, who had a cyst removed from his upper right arm two weeks ago, resumed throwing today from flat ground.
John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Cain “mixed in some breaking balls” and worked out of the stretch in addition to standard long toss.
Injuries limited Cain to just 11 starts last season and 15 starts in 2014, which is a big change from his run of eight straight seasons with at least 30 starts from 2006-2013. At age 31 and with $47.5 million remaining on his contract Cain is a major question mark for the Giants, but it sounds like the cyst removal won’t be an issue going forward.
Cincinnati is counting on young starters throughout the rotation and now one of them is already hurt, with right-hander Michael Lorenzen being scratched from today’s scheduled start due to elbow soreness.
Reds manager Bryan Price told Mark Sheldon of MLB.com that Lorenzen was examined by team doctors and the plan is to rest him for “a couple days and then get him back throwing.” For now at least the injury is considered minor enough that Lorenzen hasn’t had an MRI exam.
Lorenzen was the Reds’ first-round draft pick in 2013 and made his MLB debut last season with a 5.40 ERA and 83/57 K/BB ratio in 113 innings spent mostly as a starter. He’s competing for a spot in the Opening Day rotation at age 24, so even a little time on the sidelines might ruin his chances.