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Josh Appell Q & A

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Josh Appell Q & A
By Patrick Hickey Jr.

Q: Which position player on the Cyclones team do you think has the highest ceiling and why?  What do you like about his game and what do you think he needs to work on the most in order to develop into a big leaguer?


Josh Appell: I’d say Dustin Martin. I just think he has all the tools. He has a lot to work on, but we all do, that’s why we’re down here. He can hit for power, he can hit for average, he’s got a good arm and he’s quick on the base paths. He’s a five-tool player that can make it somewhere in this game if he continues to work hard. I just really think he needs to shorten up his swing [in order to be more successful]. When you get to higher levels, they’ll see the holes in your swing and they try to exploit your weaknesses. Late in the season, they were throwing him more breaking balls and he was struggling a little bit.


Q: Which pitcher do you think has the highest big league upside and why?


Appell: I love to watch Jake Ruckle pitch just for the simple fact that you know he’s not going to blow it by you. I played with him last year when he was throwing a little harder though, I know in high school and college he could hit 90. I just love the fact that he can consistently throw strikes. He has a great changeup; sometimes you’ll just watch from the dugout and see how off balance the hitters are and it’s funny how a guy throwing 84 mph righty can dominate the way he does.


Q: Who do you think is the biggest sleeper prospect, position prospect or pitcher?  Who do you think will fly under the radar, doesn't get the attention he deserves, but will become a quality big leaguer?


Appell: Luis Rivera. I played with him for a week in Hagerstown, where he was a backup and then he comes here and didn’t get to start for about the first two weeks. When he got his chance to start he had three hits against Hudson Valley I believe and hasn’t looked back since. The fact that he hits as well as he does is such a bonus considering how well he plays defensively. Both him and Jonathan Schemmel up the middle have saved so many runs for us this season. He’s really the unsung hero on this team.


Q: Heading into the offseason, what do you need to work on the most to be ready for next season and what will you be doing to work on it?


Appell: Well, I worked very hard this off season and came into spring training and played really well there and carried that into the regular season. I worked on a lot of physical things, like strengthening my arm and gaining velocity. I had better velocity than I’ve had at any other point in my career, up to the low 90’s. This off-season, I’m going to be focusing more on my mental approach; because that’s really important to a pitcher. I’ve realized that you can have all the physical tools in the world, but if you don’t have confidence in those tools, you’re not going to be successful.  


Q: What would you say is your biggest strength as a ball player?  What do you bring to the field and to your team?


Appell: I think I’m a positive guy. I haven’t be able to pitch much in Brooklyn this year and sometimes it’s tough staying positive for everyone else, but this is your job. It’s a team sport, but we’re all trying to play for ourselves to get to the upper levels. You root hard for the other guys, but you pull for yourself as well, because you want that chance to show your stuff. Saying that, I think that I’ve worked pretty hard keeping everyone positive in the pen and on the team by just joking around from time to time and staying focused at others.


Q: What did you think of your season this year?  How do you think it went for you?


Appell: I started off great in Hagerstown, but I hit a roadblock in late May. I had a couple of bad outings in a row and it was really tough. Then I came here and my first two outings weren’t good. After that, I settled down and haven’t given up that many runs in my last 12 innings pitched. I feel good, but it’s hard when you don’t pitch regularly. In Hagerstown, I was pitching every other day and here at times, I’ve gone 15 days without pitching, so it’s been tough.


Q: Tells us about your repertoire.  What kind of pitches do you throw and at what speeds?  What is your strikeout pitch?  Which pitch needs the most work?  Is there a pitch you'd like to develop?


Appell: My repertoire this season has been a fastball, curveball and a change up. My fastball’s velocity has varied this season; in spring training, I was throwing 88-91 and in Hagerstown I was throwing 89-93, it really depends on how I’m feeling. I throw a slider too but I haven’t been throwing it that much because I was working on my command with my other off-speed pitches. Recently, I’ve been throwing the slider more and next year, I want to use it more.


Q: To give our fans a better idea of the type of player (pitcher) you are, who would you compare your game to at the Major League level and why?


Appell: As a left handed pitcher that doesn’t throw hard, I really think I have to strive to be someone like Tom Glavine. He has a great work ethic and has the mental aspect of the game down pat and goes out there and hits his spots and changes speeds. He talked to all the minor league pitchers during spring training and really left an impression on me.

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