Cincinnati outfielder Chris Heisey has been cast as one of the cornerstone pieces of the Reds' future.
Along with Joey Votto, Jay Bruce and Drew Stubbs, Heisey is expected to be another young, explosive hitter who will help keep the Reds in the playoff picture year after year.
As of today, however, the Reds are all but out of the playoffs and Heisey is sitting on the disabled list with a strained oblique.
While his 2011 season has certainly been promising and he has proven himself to be a dangerous pinch hitter, Heisey has failed to impress as a starter in left field. Sure, he has shown flashes of brilliance (such as a three home run game earlier this year), but his .249 average has many Cincinnati fans questioning whether or not Heisey is really the answer to the Reds' issues in left.
Cincinnati seems dedicated to Heisey, considering their decision to trade outfielder Jonny Gomes to the Washington Nationals at the trade deadline.
But they still have Fred Lewis on the roster and have also called up Dave Sappelt, another young outfield prospect, to replace Heisey during his stay on the DL.
Should Sappelt impress, there could be another three-man battle for the every day left field slot going into 2012.
The Reds certainly have options in left, but as of right now, none of them seems to be an obvious choice.
It should be interesting to see how things develop as 2011 winds down and Cincinnati prepares to regroup for 2012.