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Just 13 short years after being drafted for the first of three times, pitcher Mark Appel completed his journey to Major League Baseball on Wednesday night.

After starring primarily as a relief pitcher at Monte Vista High School in Danville, California, the Detroit Tigers selected Appel in the 15th round of the 2009 MLB Draft.

Appel instead chose Stanford, where he developed into one of the best starting pitchers in college baseball as a sophomore.

He got drafted again in 2012 after his junior season, this time No. 8 overall by the Pittsburgh Pirates, but Appel chose to return to Stanford for his senior year.

The third time was a charm in 2013, when the Houston Astros picked him No. 1 overall. 

But it's been a rough road for Appel since then. 

He bounced around the minor leagues playing for the Houston Astros and Philadelphia Phillies organizations until 2018, when he announced he'd be stepping away from baseball.

Appel made a comeback in 2021, and on Wednesday night in Philadelphia, his perseverance paid off.

He made his major league debut for the Phillies, pitching one inning of scoreless relief in a loss to Atlanta.

Before Wednesday, Appel had been one of just three No. 1 picks in baseball history — along with Brien Taylor (Yankees, 1991) and Steven Chilcott (Mets, 1966) — to not make it to the big leagues. 

Now, Appel is officially a major league player, becoming the oldest former top pick (30 years and 349 days) to make his debut.