Results tagged ‘ Dave Sappelt ’

From the Pages of Vine Line: Dave Sappelt

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Cubs outfielder Dave Sappelt is used to having to prove himself. The 5-foot-9, Buffalo, N.Y., native, who came to the Cubs in the Sean Marshall deal, may not look like a prototypical major league player, but he definitely knows how to swing the bat. While in the Reds system, he was the Southern League MVP in 2010 and minor league hitter of the year in 2011. After spending most of 2012 at Triple-A Iowa, Sappelt was called up to the Cubs on Sept. 1 and hit .275/.351/.440 in 78 plate appearances. For the December issue of Vine Line, we talked to the 25-year-old Twitter junkie and Buffalo Bills die-hard about battling stereotypes, hitting his first home run and his prolific Twitter posting (by the way, he’s well worth a follow at @SappySappelt6). 

SOUTHERN LEAGUE MVP  It was like [being in] college playing in Double-A. That year, I really learned how to hit and split the plate in half. There are so many factors in hitting that a lot of people don’t understand—like the ball moving so much. They’ve got so many different pitches you’ve got to really do something to help yourself. That year, I feel like I really stuck with my plan of cutting the plate down, only hitting certain pitches and only trying to hit those pitches to a certain spot on the field. It all came together.

LITTLE BIG MAN  It definitely made it harder [not being the prototypical size]. In college, I put up first-round numbers, but I got drafted in the ninth round. [My size has] always been against me, but every year I’ve proven I’m hitting just as good as or better than the big dogs. So it doesn’t really bother me at all. I’m out to prove something every game, every day. I sleep with a chip on my shoulder.

FIRST ROUND-TRIPPER  I think it will be [something I remember for the rest of my life]. When I hit it, I knew it was my first home run, but I tried to pimp it really good. It’s engraved in my brain. I’ll always remember that.

TWITTER JUNKIE  The way I was raised, the fans are just as important as the players. And I communicate with the fans and tell them how I feel and how I’m feeling. There are some things I obviously can’t say, but for the most part, I stretch the limit pretty good and I enjoy it. I’ve been told to watch my tweets, but I haven’t said anything that’s going to get me in trouble yet. If I say something wrong, it’s probably that I didn’t mean it.

AROUND THE CLOCK  I’m pretty much baseball 24/7—plus video games. When I’m not playing Call of Duty, I’m usually watching SportsCenter.

To read the complete interview with Dave Sappelt, pick up the December issue of Vine Line, available now at select Jewel-Osco, Walgreens, Meijer, Barnes & Noble and other Chicago-area retailers. Or subscribe to Vine Line today.

Winter League Highlights: Lake is swinging the lumber

(Photo by Rodger Wood)

For years, Cubs infielder Junior Lake has been seen as a raw, toolsy talent with a ton of potential. But it looks like the 22-year-old might be starting to put it all together. This year at Double-A Tennessee, he hit .279/.341/.432 (AVG/OBP/SLG) with 10 home runs, 26 doubles, 50 RBI and 21 stolen bases in 405 at-bats. On Wednesday, Vine Line discussed how Luis Valbuena is tearing up the Venezuelan league; the same can be said for Lake, who is having his way with Dominican league pitching.

Lake’s .330 batting average is fourth best in the Dominican; his .398 OBP is good for fifth; and his eight stolen bases are tied for third. Plus, he’s doing this all while alternating between DH, third base and left field.

His 1-for-4 outing yesterday lowered his batting average a bit, but he drove in a run and scored another in a 4-3 loss. Fellow Cub Nelson Cruz was 1-for-3 with a double, a walk and two RBI.

Other highlights around the Caribbean:

In the Mexican league, Esmailin Caridad pitched a scoreless eighth inning, surrendering no hits and striking out two in a Yaquis de Obregon win.

In the Venezuelan league, Luis Valbuena continued his run of success, going 1-for-3 with an RBI double, a walk and a run scored in a Cardenales win.

Also in Venezuela, Dave Sappelt recorded a pair of hits and scored a run for the Bravos de Margarita in a loss.

Hot Off the Presses: Vine Line’s Year in Review

The end of 2012 marks the culmination of many firsts. It was baseball president Theo Epstein and General Manager Jed Hoyer’s first year at the Cubs’ helm. It was Dale Sveum’s first full season as a major league manager. It was Anthony Rizzo’s first year in a Cubs uniform and Jeff Samardzija’s first real experience in the rotation. It was also the first time since 1966 the team lost 100 games in a single season.

In other words, I think everybody is looking forward to saying goodbye to 2012 and popping the proverbial cork on a new year of Cubs baseball.

Although a 61-101 record isn’t what anyone involved with the Cubs was hoping for, everybody knew there was work to be done at the outset of the season. As we look back at the year, there were certainly stretches of good play, breakout performances, walk-off wins and plenty to feel positive about. But no one—from fans to players to the front office—is happy with where the team is right now.

“I don’t think a celebration is in order,” said Epstein on his one-year anniversary with the Cubs. “I have a lot more gray hair now than I had a year ago. My wife reminds me of that all the time. But I do feel really energized by a lot of the things that are going on here.”

In the December issue of Vine Line, the Daily Herald’s Bruce Miles examines how the Cubs fared this year and what they did to strengthen their future prospects. It’s impossible to judge the 2012 calendar year by looking solely at the major league level. When Epstein, Hoyer and company came to Chicago, they talked of the need to restock the minor league system to provide a steady stream of homegrown talent to the big league club. And that’s exactly what the Cubs are doing. Respected hardball website Baseball Prospectus recently released a list of the top 10 prospects in the Cubs organization, and six of the 10 players were acquired or drafted in 2012.

It all started with the 2012 first-year player draft, where the Cubs picked up outfielder Albert Almora (No. 1 on Baseball Prospectus’ list) and right-handed pitchers Pierce Johnson (No. 7) and Duane Underwood (No. 8). But it also included free agent signings like outfielder Jorge Soler (No. 3) and making full use of the trade deadline to fill organizational holes with players like right-hander Arodys Vizcaino (No. 4) and third baseman Christian Villanueva (No. 9).

To say goodbye to 2012, Vine Line and Chicago Cubs photographer Stephen Green also look back at the best photos from the past season. Green, in his 30th year with the team, was there for every moment, from Bill Murray’s Opening Day hijinks to Bryan LaHair’s walk-off single to cap off the year.

We also have a preview of the Cubs Convention, a Q&A with outfielder Dave Sappelt and much more. For these stories, subscribe to Vine Line or pick up an issue at select Chicago-area retailers. We’ve also launched a Vine Line Twitter account at @cubsvineline to keep you posted on Cubs happenings up to the minute.

Winter League Highlights: Perez reaches base 5 times

Alberto Cabrera pitched a pair of scoreless innings for Toros del Este Tuesday. (Photo by Stephen Green)

Estrellas de Oriente went more than the distance Tuesday in a 6-5, sixteen-inning win over Gigantes del Cibao in the Dominican League. The almost seven-hour game finally ended when Juan Diaz singled to left in the top of the 16th, scoring Jonathan Galvez. A pair of Cubs prospects played a role in the win.

Nelson Perez‘s on-base percentage jumped when he reached base in five of his eight at-bats. The Double-A outfielder went 1-for-4 and drew four walks. He’s hitting .244 with a .385 OBP on the season. Dominican teammate Junior Lake went 1-for-7 with an RBI single in the seventh.

Another pair of Cubs arms played for Toros del Este Tuesday. Major league reliever Alberto Cabrera made his second appearances of the Dominican season, going two innings, surrendering no runs on two hits, and striking out four in a Toros loss. Jeffry Antigua pitched a scoreless ninth and struck out two.

Cubs outfielder Dave Sappelt hit his first homer of the Venezuelan season, a two-run shot to center. He finished the day 1-for-5 in a 12-2 Bravos de Margarita win.

In other Venezuelan action, Luis Valbuena had a pair of hits, including a double, in a 6-5 loss for Cardenales de Lara.

In Mexico, Esmailin Caridad pitched a scoreless eighth in a 3-0 win for Yaquis de Obregon.

Cactus Notes: Cubs reduce roster to 31 players

Mesa, Ariz. — The Cubs are closer to finalizing their Opening Day roster after sending nine players to minor league camp Thursday, trimming their ranks from 40 players to 31.

Left-handed pitchers Scott Maine and Travis Wood, righty Randy Wells, outfielder Dave Sappelt and catcher Welington Castillo have all been optioned to Triple-A Iowa. Infielders Edgar Gonzalez and Matt Tolbert, righty Blake Parker and catcher Blake Lalli—all non-roster invitees—were assigned to minor league camp.

Manager Dale Sveum announced his Opening Day rotation will consist of Ryan Dempster, Matt Garza, Jeff Samardzija, Chris Volstad and Paul Maholm.

Wood and Wells were in the rotation mix heading into Spring Training, but were outpitched by Volstad and Samardzija. Wood struggled in Mesa, with a 17.28 ERA in 8.1 innings, surrendering 16 earned runs and three home runs. Wells, on the other hand, didn’t give up a run in his 7.1 spring innings, surrendering just four hits.

Castillo spent much of the spring battling Steve Clevenger for the backup catcher position. Though the 23-year-old Castillo hit .324 in 37 at-bats in the preseason, including a pair of home runs, the Cubs ultimately liked Clevenger’s lefty, line-drive bat and poise.

The roster, which needs to be cut down to 25 by next Thursday, currently sits at 16 pitchers, two catchers, seven infielders and six outfielders.

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