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Thread: Szymanski is sizzling for Lookouts

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    Szymanski is sizzling for Lookouts

    Szymanski is sizzling for Lookouts

    By: David Paschall
    (Contact)

    From playground competition through high school and all the way to the professional ranks, there is always that last player picked when divvying teams.

    Outfielder B.J. Szymanski was the last position player added to the Chattanooga Lookouts roster coming out of spring training, but he’s been anything but an afterthought. Entering Tuesday night’s Southern League games, Szymanski led the league in batting average (.417), slugging percentage (.806) and total bases (29).

    “You always hear the story about how guys don’t make teams in spring training, but there always seems to be those one or two guys who show up in great shape and have a great spring,” Lookouts manager Mike Goff said. “He’s a very talented guy physically, and he’s a guy we were willing to take a chance on.

    “I think we’re all kind of sitting back and waiting to see what B.J. is going to do, and getting off to this kind of start can only help his confidence.”

    Tallying three doubles, one triple and three home runs in his first 10 games as a Double-A player isn’t a huge surprise for the 25-year-old from Wichita Falls, Texas, who believes he’s had the ability all along. Opening in Chattanooga, however, did come as somewhat of a shock.

    The 6-foot-5, 211-pounder was a second-round pick of the Cincinnati Reds in 2004 but has struggled to live up to that status, hitting .239 in 128 games two years ago at Single-A Dayton (Ohio) and .242 in 123 games last season at high Single-A Sarasota.

    “I would have guessed coming into spring training that it was better than 50-50 that I would go back to Sarasota,” Szymanski said, “but I really, really wanted and needed to come to Chattanooga. I wanted to feel as though I was making strides.”

    Much of Szymanski’s woes the past few seasons can be attributed to two right-knee surgeries and a broken left hand he has endured since signing with the Reds. His second knee surgery occurred after the 2006 season, so this has been his healthiest stretch.

    Szymanski started out in pro ball as a switch-hitter, but repeatedly planting and twisting on his right knee in the batter’s box has made batting left-handed all but unbearable.

    “I came to the conclusion where I was either going to have to hang them up or just hit right-handed, so I’m making a go of this, and so far I’m making some strides,” he said. “Last year, I came into the season feeling that I could hit right-handed only, but now I know I can hit right-handed only. In spurts last year I hit really well, and this year I came in with a different attitude that if I work hard and do things right, I know I can do it, rather than hoping I can do it. It’s a completely different feel.”

    This is obviously a big year as far as Szymanski’s development, considering he’s the second oldest position player on the Lookouts behind infielder Luis Bolivar, but that doesn’t mean it has to be pressure-packed. He was, after all, drafted by the Reds out of Princeton University, where he also played receiver on the football team.

    “I have a Princeton education,” said Szymanski, whose younger brother is the starting quarterback at Baylor University. “I’ve got everything going for me. All I’m trying to do this year is have fun. You look at all the people who have great results, and the most important thing you see in them is that they love playing the game.

    “I’m feeling good now. My body is not hurting, so I have a better chance of playing well, and that makes the game that much more fun. Because of that, there is not a whole lot of pressure. It’s just me versus me.”

    http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2...ling-lookouts/

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  3. #2
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    Re: Szymanski is sizzling for Lookouts

    Sounds like another Brandon Larson. Larson started his resurgence I think at 25 and it came after "laser surgery of the eye". With BJ, it is the knee which has been to blame for his problems.

  4. #3
    We are the angry mob cincyinco's Avatar
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    Re: Szymanski is sizzling for Lookouts

    I don't care what it is I just hope he's turned a corner and keeps it going. He was a 2 sport athlete so maybe he blossoms later as those types typically do.. Or so they say. It would only help if BJ could redeem himself and get back on the prospect radar.
    "I hate to advocate chemicals, alcohol, violence or insanity to anyone... But they've always worked for me."

    -Hunter S. Thompson

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    Re: Szymanski is sizzling for Lookouts

    Interesting that he's gone to righty only. If memory serves, he'd been a stronger hitter from the left side, but I could be wrong there. You have to wonder if getting all his ABs from one side now will help moderate his awful K/BB ratio.

    He remains quite a longshot, I think, but to me he's still one of the most intriguing players to follow. There's always been a big upside for Szymanski, and it appears he's floating upwards now.
    "Baseball is a very, very complex business. It's more of a people business than most businesses." - Bob Castellini

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    Re: Szymanski is sizzling for Lookouts

    lately, a lot of Reds players have hit better at Chattanooga than at Sarasota.

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    He has the Evil Eye! flyer85's Avatar
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    Re: Szymanski is sizzling for Lookouts

    2BB / 15Ks in 40 ABs
    What are you, people? On dope? - Mr Hand

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    Re: Szymanski is sizzling for Lookouts

    lately, a lot of Reds players have hit better at Chattanooga than at Sarasota.
    better place to hit for sure
    "Baseball is a very, very complex business. It's more of a people business than most businesses." - Bob Castellini

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    Let's ride BRM's Avatar
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    Re: Szymanski is sizzling for Lookouts

    Quote Originally Posted by flyer85 View Post
    2BB / 15Ks in 40 ABs
    Debbie Downer.

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    Re: Szymanski is sizzling for Lookouts

    Quote Originally Posted by flyer85 View Post
    2BB / 15Ks in 40 ABs
    I doubt that they're even throwing strikes to him right now. Would you?

    The guy can crush even bad pitches.

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    Re: Szymanski is sizzling for Lookouts

    Could be a good guy to trade soon, if he gets any real value.
    Go BLUE!!!

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    Re: Szymanski is sizzling for Lookouts

    I don't ever expect him to be a starter but maybe he can develop into a fine 4th or 5th outfielder and provide some power off the bench. Lord knows we could use that.

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    Re: Szymanski is sizzling for Lookouts

    Quote Originally Posted by OnBaseMachine View Post
    I don't ever expect him to be a starter but maybe he can develop into a fine 4th or 5th outfielder and provide some power off the bench. Lord knows we could use that.
    Send him to AAA and see if he maintains his success. At his age there is no need to wait around. If hits for a month, he may become an option from the RH side when Griffey sits.
    "All I can tell them is pick a good one and sock it." --BABE RUTH

    Having better players makes "the right time" or "the big hit" happen a lot more often. PLUS PLUS

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    Re: Szymanski is sizzling for Lookouts

    Quote Originally Posted by mth123 View Post
    Send him to AAA and see if he maintains his success. At his age there is no need to wait around. If hits for a month, he may become an option from the RH side when Griffey sits.
    Or keep him there and see if another team bites on his success.
    Go BLUE!!!

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    Re: Szymanski is sizzling for Lookouts

    Quote Originally Posted by princeton View Post
    lately, a lot of Reds players have hit better at Chattanooga than at Sarasota.
    I can't wait to see how Stubbs,Valaika,Turner and Francisco hit when they
    get to Chattanooga. Hopefully it won't be to long before the Reds start moving
    guy's that are not producing and make room for the one's that are.

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    Re: Szymanski is sizzling for Lookouts

    Quote Originally Posted by Redman15 View Post
    I can't wait to see how Stubbs,Valaika,Turner and Francisco hit when they
    get to Chattanooga. Hopefully it won't be to long before the Reds start moving
    guy's that are not producing and make room for the one's that are.
    I agree, although Jose Castro is producing at Chattanooga, and he's only 21 years old. My solution? Move Francisco to the OF, and move Valaika off of SS- to either 2B or 3B. I believe his big league future is as a utility guy anyway.
    Go BLUE!!!


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