Appell Sees Promise in New Season

After a disappointing 2006 tenure with the Cyclones, Josh Appell is invigorated to show that last season is behind him. With a greater array of pitches in his repertoire, he hopes to see more playing time in the ultra-competitive Brooklyn bullpen. Inside Pitch caught up with him to discuss his pitches, his thoughts on the season and more.

Anyone that saw Cyclones reliever Josh Appell after the midway point of last season noticed that the 24-year-old's charisma and love for the game were wearing thin. Relegated to the back of a Brooklyn bullpen that consisted of dominant relievers like German Marte, Jeremy Mizell, Jose De La Torre and Grady Hinchman, Appell wound up playing in only nine games with Brooklyn, despite spending the majority of the season with the Mets single-A affiliate.

Soon enough, the stories of Appell's practical jokes in the clubhouse subsided. It was almost like Appell disappeared altogether. The only problem was, he never went anywhere.

"I got off to a real good start in Hagerstown last season and kind of got into a little bit of a rut and it all went downhill from there," said Appell, who had a 5.40 ERA with Brooklyn last season. "Then I came here and after two games, I could tell I got off to a bad start. Then for the rest of the season, I basically rotted in the back of the bullpen."

But that was last year.

With a new head coach at the helm of Cyclones, and a nasty slider added to his arsenal, Appell threw a scoreless frame in his 2007 Brooklyn debut and is not looking back.

"I was focused on making a team out of spring training and I put myself in a good situation to do that this year," said Appell, a Woodmere native who idolized Tom Glavine growing up. "But I guess the organization thought they rushed me a little bit last year and I got a bunch of innings in extended spring training. Then I went up to St.Lucie and got an outing in before I came here. I'm ready to go."

Working extremely hard on all facets of his game this offseason, Appell wanted to make sure he could give himself every chance to succeed in Keyspan this year.

"Last year I came into camp in really good shape, I've always been a hard worker" said Appell, with the same smile and exuberance that made me a fan favorite, despite his limited playing time last season.

"This year though, I'm a little bit stronger. I was able to have a consistent schedule of running and lifting in extended spring training for three months and I think it has definitely benefited me. It helps knowing that you're always going to get work and in extended I was throwing as much as I could. Hopefully, it can carry me through the rest of the season."

However, the biggest reason why there has such a huge change in Appell's demeanor this season has been the implementation of a slider into his arsenal of pitches and the temporary scrapping of his curveball. Now armed with a four-seam fastball, change-up, slider and the curveball, which he plans to still use from time to time, Appell can pick apart opposing hitters in ways that most relievers at the single-A level cannot.

"Last year I was throwing a fastball, curveball and change up," Appell said. "The curveball at times was working really well for me and it was one of my better pitches. It just got to the point where I couldn't throw it well consistently enough and I started throwing the slider much more."

"I had a lot of time in the bullpen last season to just throw and I really worked on my slider. Now I feel the slider is my best pitch and I feel comfortable throwing it in any count. Working out of the bullpen, you really only need two pitches and even though I have my changeup and curveball, I'm going to stick with my slider and fastball for the time being. I can just throw it a lot harder and from the same arm angle as my fastball, so it's just easier."

Thanks to his newfound love of the slider, Appell looks ready to move his career in a positive direction after a mediocre 2006. He seems to have reclaimed his confident swagger, which could play a huge part in the Cyclones success this season.

"I just want to pitch, I don't care where they put me as long as I get my innings" said Appell, who believes he'll be used in a swingman type role similar to that of Darren Oliver's last season with the Mets. "I'm determined to make sure that happens."


Amazin Clubhouse Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nAnyone that saw Cyclones reliever Josh Appell after the midway point of last season noticed that the 24-year-old's charisma and love for the game were wearing thin. Relegated to the back of a Brooklyn bullpen that consisted of dominant relievers like German Marte, Jeremy Mizell, Jose De La Torre and Grady Hinchman, Appell wound up playing in only nine games with Brooklyn, despite spending the majority of the season with the Mets single-A affiliate.
\r\n
\r\nSoon enough, the stories of Appell's practical jokes in the clubhouse subsided. It was almost like Appell disappeared altogether. The only problem was, he never went anywhere.
\r\n
\r\n\"I got off to a real good start in Hagerstown last season and kind of got into a little bit of a rut and it all went downhill from there,\" said Appell, who had a 5.40 ERA with Brooklyn last season. \"Then I came here and after two games, I could tell I got off to a bad start. Then for the rest of the season, I basically rotted in the back of the bullpen.\"
\r\n
\r\nBut that was last year.
\r\n
\r\nWith a new head coach at the helm of Cyclones, and a nasty slider added to his arsenal, Appell threw a scoreless frame in his 2007 Brooklyn debut and is not looking back.
\r\n
\r\n\"I was focused on making a team out of spring training and I put myself in a good situation to do that this year,\" said Appell, a Woodmere native who idolized Tom Glavine growing up. \"But I guess the organization thought they rushed me a little bit last year and I got a bunch of innings in extended spring training. Then I went up to St.Lucie and got an outing in before I came here. I'm ready to go.\"
\r\n
\r\nWorking extremely hard on all facets of his game this offseason, Appell wanted to make sure he could give himself every chance to succeed in Keyspan this year.
\r\n
\r\n\"Last year I came into camp in really good shape, I've always been a hard worker\" said Appell, with the same smile and exuberance that made me a fan favorite, despite his limited playing time last season.
\r\n
\r\n\"This year though, I'm a little bit stronger. I was able to have a consistent schedule of running and lifting in extended spring training for three months and I think it has definitely benefited me. It helps knowing that you're always going to get work and in extended I was throwing as much as I could. Hopefully, it can carry me through the rest of the season.\"
\r\n
\r\nHowever, the biggest reason why there has such a huge change in Appell's demeanor this season has been the implementation of a slider into his arsenal of pitches and the temporary scrapping of his curveball. Now armed with a four-seam fastball, change-up, slider and the curveball, which he plans to still use from time to time, Appell can pick apart opposing hitters in ways that most relievers at the single-A level cannot.
\r\n
\r\n\"Last year I was throwing a fastball, curveball and change up,\" Appell said. \"The curveball at times was working really well for me and it was one of my better pitches. It just got to the point where I couldn't throw it well consistently enough and I started throwing the slider much more.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"I had a lot of time in the bullpen last season to just throw and I really worked on my slider. Now I feel the slider is my best pitch and I feel comfortable throwing it in any count. Working out of the bullpen, you really only need two pitches and even though I have my changeup and curveball, I'm going to stick with my slider and fastball for the time being. I can just throw it a lot harder and from the same arm angle as my fastball, so it's just easier.\"
\r\n
\r\nThanks to his newfound love of the slider, Appell looks ready to move his career in a positive direction after a mediocre 2006. He seems to have reclaimed his confident swagger, which could play a huge part in the Cyclones success this season.
\r\n
\r\n\"I just want to pitch, I don't care where they put me as long as I get my innings\" said Appell, who believes he'll be used in a swingman type role similar to that of Darren Oliver's last season with the Mets. \"I'm determined to make sure that happens.\"
\r\n
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