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Mark Appel setting sights high with Phillies

Despite the poor numbers he's posted since being selected No. 1 overall by the Houston Astros in the 2013 draft, Mark Appel still has the same lofty goal in mind.

"I want to be the best pitcher in baseball," Appel told Jeff Skversky of 6ABC Philadelphia. "I want to be the best pitcher on this team."

That team is no longer the Astros; it's the Philadelphia Phillies. Appel was traded to the Phillies this winter in the Ken Giles deal and is hoping for a fresh start in his new organization.

"There's pressure that comes with [being the No. 1 pick in the draft], I'm not going to lie about that, but that was three years ago," Appel said. "None of that really matters anymore."

In three minor league seasons, the right-hander has a 5.12 ERA and has proven to be easily hittable. Appel is expected to start 2016 with Triple-A Lehigh Valley, where he'll get the chance to rebuild his stock and rise to the top of Philadelphia's pitching depth chart.

"It's an exciting time to be in the Phillies organization," he said. "I think the future is bright and it's a lot sooner than I think a lot of people expect."