WARNING: The following stat lines in this column may cause drooling, limpness in the extremities, unnatural giddiness, and irrational behavior. Read at your own risk.
There are no words for Dave Sappelt‘s performance in the VWL right now.
Some of our more loyal readers may remember a prospect check on Sappelt that I wrote on the 10th of December which highlighted some concerns about Sappelt’s swing level and shoulder mechanics.
It’s now safe to assume those wrinkles have since been ironed out. But don’t take my word for it, have a look at these metrics:
- .514/.550/.771 triple slash line in his last 10 starts
- 3 doubles in 35 AB
- 2 HR in 35 AB
- 7 multi-hit games in his last 10 starts
- 1.321 OPS
- 12 runs in his last 10 starts, scoring runs in 8 of his last 10
- An average over .500 in 8 of his last 10 starts
- SLG .345 with RISP
- A 1.046 OPS vs RHP
Take a quick moment to catch your breath and wipe the drool from your chin.
These numbers are simply bonkers – and extremely unlike Sappelt. While he’s still struggling slightly vs LHP (.211 AVG) he’s more than making up for it by putting up big numbers against righties. Never have we seen anything close to this kind of offensive dominance from the young outfielder.
Most shocking of all these stats is the power that Sappelt has found. For a guy who is only 5’9″, getting good pop off the bat has always been a concern. There is no doubt that he’s found a way to make his frame carry through the ball in his swing, because the kid is hitting homers and extra base hits.
Could it just be temporary? Could it be because the VWL pitching isn’t as strong as the MLB?
Feb 27, 2012; Mesa, AZ, USA; Chicago Cubs center fielder Dave Sappelt (17) during photo day at HoHoKam Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
It could be a myriad of factors at this point, but I honestly believe something has clicked in Sappelt’s head. He’s always shown massive potential to be a reputable hitter and he may now just be coming to terms with it. I wouldn’t attribute any of this to luck or curbing the mean down because of opposition pitching.
Sappelt seems to have grasped the key to his hitting and made the appropriate adjustments.
If these trends continue through spring training, the Cubs will have to take a serious look at him and make a choice. He could indeed be part of a platoon with Nate Schierholtz in right field if he stays healthy and effective.
Keep an eye out on this guy… He’s making splashes in a big way.