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December 12, 2015

As it turns out, former No. 1 overall pick Mark Appel is in the Ken Giles trade

Now that it’s official, the trade that sent Ken Giles and his blazing fastball to Houston just got a bit more interesting.

Outfielder Derek Fisher is out and right-handed pitcher Mark Appel, the first overall pick of the 2013 MLB Draft, is in. Overall, here is what the deal looks like:

Phillies get: RHP Vincent Velasquez, RHP Mark Appel, RHP Thomas Eshelman, LHP Brett Oberholtzer, RHP Harold Arauz
Astros get: RHP Ken Giles, IF Jonathan Arauz

Even if Velasquez is still probably the headliner, Appel is the most intriguing guy here. The top pick out of Stanford (right ahead of Kris Bryant), he was 41st on ESPN’s midseason prospect list and is currently ranked 43rd on MLB Pipeline. Here’s what Appel told’s Todd Zolecki:

"The more I look, the more I see pieces coming together for Philadelphia," Appel told "I think Philadelphia is in a place where maybe the Astros were a couple of years ago. We've seen what the Astros have done. I'm excited to be a part of that in Philadelphia, and I think my goal is to get that to happen as soon as possible."

Appel's results haven’t matched up to the stuff that made him the first overall pick. Throughout his minors career, he is 16-11 with a 5.12 ERA, though he knocked that down to 4.37 between AA and AAA last year. For more on Appel’s pitching style, here is Matt Winkelman of Phillies Minor Thoughts:

He still throws hard (at times, there has still been a lot of inconsistency) and his slider is still a good pitch as well, the changeup has reportedly gone a bit backwards.  His command and control have wavered, especially the command.  There have long been whispers that he does not care enough on the mound, as well as questions of pitch tipping and feel for pitching, but it is hard to split truth from rumor and speculation.  There is the raw stuff to be a #2 starter, the middling outcome to be a mid rotation arm, and the FB/SL to be a late innings reliever.

The two Arauz’s (not related, apparently) are the other additions to the trade, and it seems like Jonathan was the price of prying Appel away from Houston. He’s apparently a 17-year-old shortstop a long way away from the big leagues that has potential.

Seems like a little more risk, but also more potential reward. Should be a fun trade to look back on in five years.

Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann