Editor's note: The above video is from June 19, 2013 after Stanford's Mark Appel signed with the Houston Astros
CLEARWATER, Fla. – A little before 9 o’clock on Thursday morning, Jake Thompson, Zach Eflin and Mark Appel slung red equipment bags over their shoulders and headed out of the Phillies' clubhouse door.
When will they return?
That’s a question that will impact the team’s rebuild.
[By the numbers: Dissecting what spring training stats mean]
Thompson, Eflin and Appel are the Phillies’ top three starting pitching prospects, all acquired in trades over the last 15 months that have coincided with the team’s efforts to get younger and gear toward the future. They were in big-league camp to gain some experience, get a feel for the environment and give team officials a chance to gauge what could be on the way. All three will start the season in a prospect-studded Triple A Lehigh Valley rotation and, if all goes well in the development process, could start arriving in the majors later this season, a three-pronged addition to a pitching foundation being built around Aaron Nola.
“I think deep down we all kind of see that and think about that,” Appel said. “The three of us have played against each other at different levels of the minor leagues, and now we’re all on the same team and we see each other’s talent and we get excited about it. We’re becoming good friends. I’m looking forward to getting to know them a lot better and playing with them and developing that friendship. I think we’re going to have a lot of fun.”
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