Stephen Piscotty is all business. He doesn’t talk much. The St. Louis Cardinal rookie outfielder doesn’t get too emotional, loud or particularly down on the baseball field. After all, this kid has discipline in spades. During this past offseason, he went back to Stanford and completed his degree in Engineering. Baseball just comes easy, and while the pressure is as prevalent as it is for any 24 year old, Piscotty doesn’t let it show on the field.
While General Manager John Mozeliak’s deadline acquisition of Brandon Moss brought out the critics(including myself), Piscotty has been the real key acquisition in 2015. Where would the offense be without this kid? Since he showed up on July 21st, Piscotty has collected 71 hits in 227 at bats(.313) and put together an OPS(on base+slugging percentage) of .872. After a white hot start, Piscotty slumped a bit but he has endured at the plate while providing steady defense all over the field.
First, he’s a smart hitter. He takes a good at bat and has an easy going fluid swing at the plate. He doesn’t get cheated but he also doesn’t swing at everything. For a team with three strikeout kings(Mark Reynolds, Randal Grichuk, Moss), Piscotty is a breath of fresh air. His bat is the logical professor to the other windmill type sticks. He only has 54 strikeouts(23 %) in 2015.
Second, Piscotty can hit anywhere in this lineup. He can hit #2 and be a good jumpstarter for offense or he can supply power(as seen by his 7 home runs and 26 total extra base hits). He can also be a middle of the order bat due to his ability to not only drive in runs, but do what is necessary to get an important run home. In a game against Atlanta last weekend, Piscotty didn’t over swing or try to do too much. He simply lifted a ball deep enough to right field to score the winning run. He doesn’t swing at the first pitch and will make a pitcher earn his stripes.
Third, Piscotty is flexible in the field. He can play left field, right field and also take reps at first base if Reynolds and Moss start to whiff like golf balls are being thrown at them. He played the infield in college and played at first the week before he was called up, so Piscotty isn’t secluded to the outfield. Part of the reason he found himself in St. Louis was his ability to move around. He’s stayed in the lineup because of his steady bat. Unlike Xavier Scruggs, Piscotty’s bat doesn’t seem to be slowing down or powering up. It’s just getting smarter with each trip.
Fourth, the Cards need him right now. Moss has pop, but his bat can go silent at times. Part of the reason Mo didn’t have to go big at the deadline was the promise of Piscotty and wanting him to play every day. A bigger bat comes in here(especially a rental) and the kid may sit more than the team wants him to. With Matt Holliday and Jon Jay out for a significant period of time and other Memphis outfield options pursued or tapped out, Piscotty is the last known quality prospect that was ready to roll up I-55. He will get his shot.
Piscotty is the perfect foil for Grichuk’s power. Here you have a pair of young gun renegades who are getting full time slots to help a championship caliber team bulldoze through the tireless months of the season. Another farm system assisted tool on display. The latest example of The Cardinals working in house to solve major leaks and issues. If people want a #1 reason for Mo not seeking a bigger bat at the deadline, remember guys like Piscotty and Grichuk. They aren’t doing that bad filling in the holes in offense.
As quiet as he is and choice with his words, Piscotty’s bat has done more than enough talking thus far.