Things haven’t gone according to plan for Mark Appel since the Astros made him the No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 draft. Coming out of Stanford he was supposed to have top-of-the-rotation potential and be close to MLB-ready, but instead his prospect stock has dipped dramatically and they’re just now promoting him to Triple-A.
Appel started 20 total games at Double-A between this season and last season, posting a 4.05 ERA and 87/36 K/BB ratio in 102 innings. And he was even worse at Single-A.
At age 23 there’s still plenty of time for Appel to get on track and fulfill his potential, but the Astros were probably hoping he’d be in the majors by now and whenever he does arrive it’ll likely come with middle-of-the-rotation expectations at this point.
In today’s column for The Athletic, Ken Rosenthal reports that the Phillies are “shopping the hell” out of first baseman Carlos Santana, according to a rival executive. Doing so would allow the Phillies to move Rhys Hoskins back to first base and open up a spot in the outfield for free agent Bryce Harper, with whom the Phillies have been commonly connected.
Santana, 32, is coming off of a mediocre season in which he hit .229/.352/.414 with 24 home runs and 86 RBI in 679 plate appearances. His 1.7 WAR, per Baseball Reference, was his lowest output since 2015. He has $35 million remaining on his contract. The Phillies would presumably eat a significant portion of that $35 million in order to make a trade work.
If the Phillies can’t move Santana but still end up signing Harper, Santana could share third base with Maikel Franco and first with Hoskins. Right now, the Phillies have a glut of outfielders with Hoskins, Odúbel Herrera, Nick Williams, and Aaron Altherr. Hoskins rated among the worst outfielders defensively in 2018, so moving him back to first base is likely one of the Phillies’ bigger priorities.