MLB News & Moments You Should Know – June 30

A long-awaited debut, drama with Freddie...

Stay updated on everything baseball with our morning MLB News & Moments articles. We’ve got you covered to keep you in the know.

 

Today’s Headlines

 

Mark Appel Finally Gets His Turn in the Bigs

The crazy story of Mark Appel reached one of its signature moments last night, as Appel finally made his debut in The Show, tossing a scoreless inning for the Phillies.

Appel’s story began like many highly-regarded collegiate baseball players: Appel was drafted out of high school by the Detroit Tigers in 2009. He was drafted with the 450th overall pick (15th round) but elected to go to Stanford and earn one of those prestigious Cardinal degrees. At Stanford, Appel worked his way up into the starting rotation, eventually earning a First-Team All-American award before the 2012 season and the National Pitcher of the Year Award in the same year. Going to college paid off, as Appel was projected as the top overall pick in the 2012 MLB Draft.

However, Appel asked for a “high” signing bonus of $6 million, which the Astros (who were picking first overall) balked at. Appel fell to 8th, where he was selected by the Pirates. The Astros instead took Carlos Correa and Appel declined the $3.8 million signing bonus offer from Pittsburgh and went back to college for his senior season. Appel graduated from Stanford with his degree and got his desired signing bonus from the Astros in 2013. You can also read an extensive analysis of the 2013 MLB Draft by yours truly right here.

Appel wasn’t “lights out” upon joining the Astros’ minor league system, but he eventually worked his way up to Triple-A Fresno for the 2015 season. But, during the 2015-16 offseason, the Astros decided to ship out Appel, Vince Velasquez, and others to the Phillies for Ken Giles and Jonathan “The Ooze” AraúzUnfortunately, Appel just couldn’t crack the major-league roster, even on awful 2016 and 2017 Phillies teams, and decided to step away from baseball in November of 2017.

In March 2021, Appel started his comeback tour. He was assigned to the Reading Fightin’ Phils for the 2021 season and was promoted to Lehigh Valley shortly thereafter. Appel shared much of his acquired wisdom in this incredible thread from September 2021:

On June 24 of this year, after Connor Brogdon went on the COVID IL, Appel finally had his number called. And last night, Appel became a major leaguer. Who else is cutting onions right now?

Okay, one more:

 

The Marlins Continue to Suffer Internal Turmoil

The Miami Marlins are starting to (if they haven’t already) put the league on notice regarding their pitching development. Miami has put together quite the young pitching staff and has some more young talent waiting in the wings in Eury Pérez and Max Meyer, among others. And yet, the Marlins seem unhappy with the executive leadership overseeing player development:

Or, like Derek Jeter, Mr. Denbo might simply have been voicing his displeasure with Marlins ownership and their tightfisted ways. Jeter stepped down as CEO of the team recently, citing differences in “the vision for the future of the franchise.” Jeter was reportedly upset the team wouldn’t sign Nick Castellanos, a Miami native, during free agency, but his issues with ownership likely went far deeper than any one player. Some players spoke up on Jeter’s behalf after the resignation:

Remember, the Marlins’ ownership group promised to “spend” on the team. It doesn’t feel totally impossible that Denbo might have said something about a shrinking or inadequate budget for scouting and player development to the wrong person, which ended up getting him fired. Of course, I could be reading far too deeply into this, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Denbo was just asking for a little more than billionaire Bruce Sherman was willing to give.

Ultimately, I just hope Kim Ng and the remaining staff in Miami turn the ship around. Firstly, because I’m rooting for Ng, but secondly because Jazz Chisholm Jr. and Sandy Alcantara and the rest of those guys deserve a winner.

 

Dudes Taking Offense To Getting Hit!

Boy, it’s a good thing Kirk didn’t make a rude gesture to the fans, right? That would be pretty weird to do; definitely can’t think of any other players that enjoy trolling the fans like that…

 

Freddie Freeman’s Free Agency Hijinks Continue

What in the h*ck is going on with Freddie Freeman’s management?

If you’re just joining us, the tweet that “started it all” is listed above. Doug Gottlieb, a “radio host for Fox Sports,” reported that Freddie Freeman’s agent never told Freddie about Atlanta’s final contract offer. Buster Olney reported that Freeman was “frustrated” with how his free agency concluded, which was apparently the impetus for firing his agent.

Casey Close, Freeman’s former agent, vehemently denied Gottlieb’s statement:

It seems a little fishy — to me — that Doug Gottlieb (who?) would have inside information about Freddie Freeman’s free agency. Gottlieb is first and foremost a basketball commentator — that’s not to say that he can’t be a baseball and basketball guy, but it means his sources aren’t going to be as reliable as, say, Jeff Passan’s. Additionally, it seems highly unlikely that Casey Close, one of the top agents in one of the sports industry’s most reputable agencies, is not going to tell a longtime Atlanta player (who appeared to want to stay in Atlanta) about a new offer from Alex Anthopolous.

I think it’s fair to say that this news doesn’t seem likely to be true. Feel free to call me up when I’m wrong!

 

Best Moments from Wednesday

 

Fire Us Up, Josh Naylor

Be right back, I’m gonna run through a brick wall after watching this Josh Naylor celebration:

Is Tito Francona okay after feeling Naylor’s head smack right into him? Is Josh Naylor’s head okay after hitting that helmet at full speed?

Here’s a different view:

This isn’t Naylor’s first celebration rodeo, by the way:

I’m hiring him to be my hype man. There’s no one better for the job.

 

Daily Shohei Ohtani Content

Put away your Tungsten O’Doyle tweets and just watch this:

Unrelated but still cool: Golden Hour photos of the Angels’ City Connect uniforms —

 

Gum Toss

If you’re Matt Carpenter, and you’ve seen just about everything baseball has to offer — a World Series ring, All-Star Games, etc. — sometimes you just get bored and need to toss some gum. The Yankees, as a team, are apparently getting too bored with winning and have decided to play the “bubblegum game” en masse.

Today, Carpenter played a great round of the “bubblegum game,” tossing a little piece of what looks like Double Bubble into a drain cover/sprinkler head in foul territory by the dugout:

Carp, looking good as always with the mustache, absolutely nailed that last toss. Michael Kay knew it, too. #GameRecognizeGame

 

Sandy’s Got That DAWG In Him

Every pitcher hates handing the ball off to the skipper. “Just one more out!” they cry. Rarely do those managers listen.

However, Sandy Alcantara got Marlins skipper Don Mattingly to listen and let him keep dealing. Alcantara was on the mound, in the ninth, with the game on the line. The winning run was on first base with only 1 out. And he had already thrown 115 pitches.

Sandy did his thing, though:

Alcantara’s superb effort makes him the only pitcher in MLB this season to have thrown multiple complete games. His ERA sits at a cool 1.95. Make him the All-Star Game starter or we riot!

 

Injuries

 

Yordan Alvarez and Jeremy Peña collided in the outfield during their game against the Mets. Both players were evaluated for concussions, according to a team spokesman. Jacob deGromwho is still rehabbing from a stress reaction in his right scapula, threw 29 pitches in another live BP session. DeGrom is likely headed for Minor League rehab starts, where he will stretch out his arm and get prepared for the second half of the season. Max Scherzer is a little further along, throwing 4 2/3 innings for Double-A Binghamton. Scherzer reached 80 pitches in his outing, striking out eight and allowing 2 ER on 4 hits and a walk. Scherzer apparently feels ready to rejoin the Mets. Ronald Acuña Jr. will reportedly rejoin Atlanta for their Thursday game in Philadelphia, but it’s looking like he will not play on Thursday and will rest up for another day before entering the lineup. Jazz Chisholm Jr. went on the 10-day IL Wednesday with a right lower back strain after exiting Tuesday’s game with the injury.

 

 

Articles You Should Read

 

How the Cardinals’ Starting Pitchers Make it Work — Nate Schwartz, resident Cardinals superfan, PitcherList

Disgusting Slobs Bored By Oakland A’s — Tom Ley, Defector

The best Trade Deadline name for each position — Mark Feinsand, MLB.com

 

Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)

Adam Sloate

Die-hard Angels fan since birth; misses the good ol' days of Vladdy, Kendrys, and Weaver. Temple University alumnus, UCLA Law student.

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