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BREAKING: Mark Appel is stepping away from baseball

In a shocker, Phillies prospect Mark Appel is stepping away from baseball for an indeterminate amount of time.

Appel, in an interview with Bleacher Report, says he’s taking an “indefinite break.” He doesn’t know whether he’ll return, and said he’s comfortable in life beyond baseball.

“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. I enjoy challenging my mind. My last four years in baseball have challenged my mind.”

Appel was part of the late 2015 trade that sent Ken Giles to Houston. In 2016 he suffered an injury and, when active, put up a 4.46 ERA with 20 walks and 34 strikeouts for Lehigh Valley. Last season he remained in Lehigh Valley, putting up a 5.27 ERA with 53 walks and 60 strikeouts. He was added to the 40-man roster early in 2017 but later designated for assignment; as nobody claimed him, he stayed with the Phillies organization.

He hasn’t lived up to his No. 1 overall hype, and while he was scheduled to be part of spring training in Clearwater, Appel decided he’d rather get away from baseball, at least for now.

The piece is great, illuminating the struggles ballplayers endure, especially with the hype that surrounds someone like Appel. We wish him the best of luck as he steps away.

Meanwhile, as we scour the results of the Giles trade, the jury is still out but it’s looking slightly worse for General Manager Matt Klentak.

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