Dave Sappelt hit as well as he could have during Spring Training. He caught the eye of everyone who was in Reds camp, and he even stuck around until nearly the last cut.
In Spring Training, Sappelt hit a whopping .564 with 22 hits in 39 at-bats. He hit 3 HR and had 12 RBI.
“I think they know I can hit,” Sappelt said. “I think they want to see how consistent I can be on the base paths. I haven’t made a mistake yet in games. I think if keep that consistency, that confidence, I’ll be a real helper of this team.”
Sappelt has the combination of speed and power that could make him the Reds leadoff hitter at some point in the future. While Stubbs leads off now, Dusty Baker and Stubbs have made it clear that Drew is better fit for a spot where he can drive in more runs.
Through 4 games this season at AAA Louisville, Sappelt has not missed a beat. He is hitting to the tune of a .438 batting average with 7 hits in 16 at-bats. Dusty Baker was concerned during Spring Training about Sappelt’s rate of success when stealing a base. Last season, despite his speed, Sappelt was thrown out 18 out of 43 times when attempting to steal.
So far this season in AAA Louisville, Sappelt is 1 of 2 on stolen bases.
Now allow me to give my two cents on the current outfield situation with the Reds. Jay Bruce and Drew Stubbs are future stars, and I do not think that very many people would dispute that. Both are still young and have tremendous tools, and figure to be gold glove winners at some point in the future.
Jonny Gomes is a terrific guy to have on your team. He has pop and a consistent motor that makes him a good example for young players around the game. He hustles but…he is a below average left fielder, and so far this year, he has already committed a few egregious errors that should have been routine plays.
Can Jonny Gomes hit a breaking ball? No. Is he going to get shut down in the playoffs when the Reds face pitchers like Ubaldo Jimenez, Cliff Lee, Tim Lincecum, or Tommy Hanson? Yes, probably.
While Jonny will give the Reds 15-18 home runs and 60+ RBIs, he is not a player made to excel in the playoffs.
I think that the Reds would be better served allowing Chris Heisey or Dave Sappelt to develop in left field. The Reds lineup is good enough to score runs and get through any slumps that Heisey or Sappelt may deal with. The potential of Heisey and Sappelt far exceeds that of Gomes, and Gomes could serve as a fill in for either, and he would provide terrific pop off the bench.
I understand that many fans love Gomes but with talents like Sappelt and Heisey waiting in the wings, he ought to be nothing more than a platoon player. Dusty is loyal to Gomes, and when Gomes is hot, he is dangerous, but I hope that Sappelt or Heisey can get a chance and sink their teeth into the job or just into earning more playing time.
Heisey was the Reds minor league hitter of the year in 2009, and Sappelt was the most impressive player of all at Spring Training in Goodyear.
Tags: Atlanta Braves Baseball Carolina Mudcats Chris Heisey Cincinnati Reds Cincinnati Reds Roster Colorado Rockies Dave Sappelt Drew Stubbs Dusty Baker Jay Bruce Jonny Gomes Louisville Bats Reds Baseball Reds Minor Leagues Spring Training Tommy Hanson Ubaldo Jimenez