– John Fay has a nice article on Dave Sappelt in today’s Enquirer; lots of it is covering how well he’s played this spring and how he’s still a long shot to make the club. But it also covers how he has to improve:

“There’s base running,” Baker said. “There’s throwing. There’s fielding. Things you don’t get other than by playing somewhere. Here’s not the place to learn if you’re going to play winning baseball.”

Sappelt is particularly aware that he has to improve as a base-runner. He was thrown out 18 times in 43 steal attempts.

“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.

“That’s the biggest issue.”

The Reds are giving Sappelt a lot of attention. Baker, Billy Hatcher, Eric Davis and Joe Morgan all have worked with him.

“We think he’s bright enough to learn,” Baker said. “He probably thinks we’re picking on him . . . We’re working with him. We’re trying to put him on an accelerated course. We see the ability is there.”

Hatcher, Davis, and Morgan…those are some pretty good instructors right there. Could Sappelt be the answer to our LF question? Could he be the answer sooner than next season?

– Hal McCoy wrote an article on FoxSportsOhio about the number of lefties that might make this team in the bullpen:

Aroldis Chapman, Dontrelle Willis, Billy Bray, Daniel Ray Herrera and Matt Maloney all are legitimate candidates. How many will make it? Depends.

“Naw, no set number,” Baker said. “You’d like two. Depends on who throws good.

snip…

The one sure bet is Chapman and Baker said, “Right-handers probably will hit him a little bit better than lefties, but neither should hit him real good, especially if we can come up with two or three different left-handers. You’d like to have one with a power arm (Chapman) and one with a good breaking ball (Willis, Herrera). Maloney and Bray both throw relatively hard with excellent breaking pitches.

“That way you can use them at different times against different kinds of hitters,” Baker added. “If we have that, we don’t have to save our left-handers for the optimum time, when they could have been in the game in the fourth or fifth inning when you need them then.”

snip…

“Dontrelle is throwing the ball great, Daniel Ray is throwing it good, Maloney is throwing the ball well — competition brings out the best or the worst in people. It is bringing out the best in quite a few of our people.”

John Fay has a short blurb basically saying the same thing (can’t find a link to it, sorry), but he says that he believes Dusty is leaning towards three left handers in the bullpen, if he has his way.

Chapman, Bray (who is out of options), and who?

I think if he continues to pitch as well as he has been, it’ll be Willis. I think either he or Maloney could fill the lefty role and also a long/swing reliever role also. I think Herrera is on the outside looking in.

What do you think?

14 Responses

  1. nvilleredsfan

    Obviously it’s been a while since the end of last season, but it seems to me that hitters started figuring out Herrera, even with how slow he throws. Willis certainly was top notch until he couldn’t find the strike zone. If the Reds have helped him adjust and he can get hitters out, I personally would think he has better stuff than DRH. Then again, wasn’t it Todd Jones that threw crazy slow and still got a lot of hitters out, so who knows.

  2. Sultan of Swaff

    I can get on board with Dusty’s reasoning about the types of lefties he’d like to have. Now if we could only get him to adhere to his own logic in-game.
    As for Sappelt, I’m totally comfortable with him starting in AAA. Like Frazier and Valaika, he needs to experience some adversity before we hand him the left field job. No one has had a chance to make adjustments on him and vice versa. Once he passes that test, we’ll know what we have.

  3. Ethan D

    I want Willis in the pen. There I said it. I think he can handle the job if he keeps it up. Also the guy is just cool.

  4. dn4192

    If the Reds were to go with Dave Sappelt in LF at some point, wouldn’t the Reds have one of the youngest OF in all of baseball?

  5. BJ Ruble

    There is no way shape or form that DRH should make this team. Last year he was crushed by LH batters and didn’t do any better in Louisville.

  6. cliff

    Is it just me or do we get to witness some of the games coolest reclamation projects? Hamilton and willis come to mind. Gomes is a really cool story and he’s better now than before. Hermida has less baggage but is a former top prospect. Phillips went from bust to all star. Sure we’ve had our failures, but we also seem to have a disproportionate amount of success stories. Maybe detroit should send miggy our way, pay his salary for us while we borrow him for a year and straighten him up. They can call it an “investment” (:

  7. jrob45601

    If Willis, Bray, Herrera and Maloney are all legitimate candidates and pitching well enough to make the team, why do we need Chapman in the pen as well? Seems to me that would allow him to be a starter as he should be. Even if it is in Louisville, it is still the best thing for the future of this franchise.

    • Bill Lack

      If Willis, Bray, Herrera and Maloney are all legitimate candidates and pitching well enough to make the team, why do we need Chapman in the pen as well? Seems to me that would allow him to be a starter as he should be. Even if it is in Louisville, it is still the best thing for the future of this franchise.

      I would agree with you, but it appears the Reds are in “win now” mode and think this year, he’s more valuable here. I agree it might not be in his or the team’s best long term interest.

  8. jrob45601

    I also worry bout Dusty’s comments regarding Sappelt. I understand that you have to play defense, but compared to Gomes that can’t be a reason to hold a player back. If they are that concerned about caught stealings, they wouldn’t consider Phillips at the top of the order, cause he success rate is pretty terrible. Dusty is not open-minded about anyone not named Jonny Gomes. He basicly said that even if Sappelt hits so well in spring that they are forced to take him north with the big club, he still wouldn’t be playing over Gomes.

  9. BJ Ruble

    @jrob45601: They have to 1.) Win and 2.) Sell Tickets. Having him in Cincinnati (even as a reliever) gives them a better chance to accomplish both. There is a pretty good chance that he wouldn’t be any better in the rotation this year than what they already have, so why not shorten the games against opponents. Sending him to Louisville would mean less ticket sales to see him pitch.

    Personally, I feel like they gave him a look last year at a starter, realized his stuff isn’t as electric as it is when he is a reliever and we will see him in the pen for the rest of his Reds career. I fully believe that he will be the closer after Cordero leaves. His contract is on par with any other good closer so it is not like you are wasting money on a bullpen guy.

  10. jrob45601

    @Bill Lack:
    “Win now” mode wouldn’t be so bad, except that the majority of this team is young and under control. I would think they would do more to set up for a 5 or 6 year run.

  11. Doug Dennis

    Ignoring the question of Chapman’s development, I tend to think that the Reds will go with Willis, but that Maloney is the better pitcher. I really like Maloney and the truth is, he might be better served in AAA starting over throwing as a #3 LH in this pen.

    Bray better step it up and pronto; he has shown good stuff in the past, but it’s time to put up or shut up. For Willis, he’s been strong in his tiny handful of innings, but he has a long long track record of failing, so it’s hard to see how it will turn out well in the end for the Reds. If he does, someone better buy Bryan Price a steak or two. Either way, I’m unconcerned with Maloney ready and available in AAA at the first sign of a problem. I’d like to see him continue as a starter; he can succeed as one.

  12. Doug Dennis

    As for Sappelt, he has to leap frog more than just Gomes. There’s Fred Lewis, Chris Heisey and Jeremy Hermida as well. Sappelt is playing well, but not SO well that he gets the job right here. He belongs in AAA for another year; let’s not rush him and have to cut good useful players. Having said that, it’s time for Lewis to show us something. Heisey’s been strong–certainly better than Gomes or Lewis, thus far. Hermida has also been a lot better than advertised; maybe with him it was just injuries the past couple years.

  13. jrob45601

    @Doug Dennis:
    I agree that Sappelt isnt ready. My point was more that Dusty seems so entrenched with Gomes in left that no one else has a chance, no matter what. The only guy I can think of at the moment that people would know is Pujols. He hadnt put in any time at triple A, then just mashed his first spring. Could you imagine if LaRussa had just said “he needs to learn other things. We arent really sure he can play third.” I know that the two are completely different circumstances, its just the way I see this being handled. It wouldnt be bad, except Gomes has only been above replacement level for a month and a half of his entire 2 seasons as a Red.