The 2013 Opening Day roster has become clearer for the Chicago Cubs. On Mar. 22, the Cubs trimmed their roster to 35 players. Outfielders Brian Bogusevic and Darnell McDonald were among the players who were demoted to minor league camp. The Cubs must trim their roster to 25 players before they open their season on Apr. 1.
With Bogusevic and McDonald out of the picture, Dave Sappelt will win the job as the No. 5 outfielder. Sappelt became the frontrunner candidate when Tony Campana was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks. In 44 spring at-bats, Sappelt has a .217 on-base percentage (OBP) with nine RBI, three home runs and two stolen bases.
Should Bogusevic have been taken over Sappelt? In 39 spring at-bats, Bogusevic had a .410 batting average with a 1.145 on-base plus slugging percentage (OPS). Despite those impressive numbers, Bogusevic has spent his baseball career jumping from Triple-A and MLB. There’s nothing to suggest that he’d continue to hit at his spring pace.
What can fans expect from Sappelt? The Cubs could use him more against left-handed pitchers. In 2012, Sappelt had a .440 batting average and 1.237 OPS in 25 at-bats against southpaws. Scott Hairston will already platoon with either David DeJesus or Nate Schierholtz.
Those numbers are deceiving because it’s a small sample size. However, at age 26, Sappelt has more upside than Bogusevic. The Cubs will gamble on Sappelt because he’s more of an unproven commodity. Maybe he can surprise and put together a decent season as a pinch-hitter and specialist against left-handed pitchers.