Nov 2, 2013; Surprise, AZ, USA; St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Stephen Piscotty against the West during the Fall Stars Game at Surprise Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

St. Louis Cardinals Prospect Profile: Stephen Piscotty

The St. Louis Cardinals have a solid right field hitting prospect on the horizon and, shockingly, his name is not Oscar Taveras. His name is Stephen Piscotty, and fans might as well get to know him now because he is going to hit his way on to the main roster much sooner than most would have ever expected.

Piscotty was selected 36th overall in the first round of the 2012 MLB June amateur draft as a third baseman, but he has now switched positions out into right field. He appears to be firmly entrenched there both now, and well into the future, which naturally will lead to some interesting discussions because it appears the plan now is for Allen Craig to take over RF with the departure of Carlos Beltran.

By taking this route the Cards are immediately two deep at the position because it seems imminent that Taveras will break on to the main roster at some point in the upcoming season.

That’s all another discussion for another time, however. The point of this post is to give anyone, and everyone, who would like a glimpse of yet another future Cardinal the chance to see what Stephen Piscotty brings to the table.

After a little research I came across a couple of videos that show Piscotty’s evolving line drive approach at the plate. So, without any further ado, take a look for yourselves and see what you you think.

Obviously, this video appeared to be taken in its entirety from his time at Palm Beach in High A ball. He looks fluid at the plate, and that fluidity led to a .292/.348/.477 line at that level. He mixed in 9 home runs with 14 doubles and 2 triples in his 71 hits. I particularly liked the AB at the 6:00 mark when the ball was slightly up. He pulled his hands up and through the zone very quickly and got level with the ball to drive it. That’s a very good sign for his future development.

The Cardinals obviously liked what they saw too, because Piscotty made the leap to AA after 264 plate appearances at Palm Beach, and then onward to the Arizona Fall League following the completion of the AA season.

The second video I found shows Piscotty during his AFL stint, and he has clearly furthered the development of his swing, but not at the expense of his numbers.

The triple that Piscotty hit at the 1:00 mark shows exactly what he is trying to do in every at bat. He’s not a pure power guy, although it seems he has that ability when he runs into a ball the right way. What you see throughout is that he is really letting it go compared to the semi-reserved swing you could see in the first video from Palm Beach, almost to the point of swinging from his heels. In that very same at bat you can see virtually the exact same swing that produced the picture at the top of this article, but this even freer swing didn’t affect his overall production.

At AA Springfield, Piscotty posted a .299/.364/.446 line with 6 HR and 5 more doubles mixed in with his 55 hits in 207 plate appearances, and then it got even better when he arrived at the AFL against other top flight MLB prospects. Piscotty finished his 2013 in fine fashion with an AFL performance line of .371/.430/.506 including 3 doubles, 3 triples, and 1 HR in 89 at bats.

Lastly, I’d be remiss not to address the lone defensive play at the very end of the second video that shows his approach to fielding a ball in RF. His footwork is sound and his arm appears to be very strong as he let’s a perfect strike go towards home. The Cardinals appear to have made the right move by shifting Piscotty out to RF.

It will certainly be interesting to see the course the Cardinals take with regards to Piscotty’s development. My best guess is that he is tied to Taveras’ movement throughout the organization. As Taveras moves upwards, so shall Piscotty until they both end up in St. Louis. That’s when things are going to get very interesting because Mike Matheny is going to have to make some very serious decisions about allocation of playing time.

You can follow Ryan on Twitter @RPKraemer.

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  • john weitzman

    Good article, I agree with your assessment assuming Piscotty is not used as trade bait during the season..
    I saw him in the AFL, he looked great.. If you could slow the video down than I could really see his swing. I also look to see how well he keeps his head in line with his body. There was no better than Albert back in the day. Which wasnt too long ago. Its a good thing to have plenty of position players and not just all pitchers..

    • @RPKraemer

      Thank you for the kind words. The potential for trade is always on the table but at this point, with what this team needs, it wouldn’t make a ton of sense unless they were packaging a player like this up for a long term SS solution (have long been infatuated with the idea of trying to snag Addison Russell from the A’s – doubt it ever happens, but boy it would be nice.). I just can’t see the value of losing a potential bat like this for a bench upgrade. I mean, I guess it could happen, but would it really be worth a potential rental type bench thumper for the control of a player who clearly seems like he’ll be able to hit at the MLB level?

      As for his balance – totally agree. When hitters eyes don’t bounce around (think bobblehead) they tend to be much more effective, and you are absolutely right in that outside of possibly Tony Gwynn there really isn’t anyone in recent memory that’s been better than Albert at keeping level during the course of his swing.

      Lastly, agree it’s always good to have the pipeline full of players, not just pitchers. Must have the arms though, because that’s what baseball is – an arms race. Love what the Cards are doing in the minors though. Their vision for the future is fairly obvious and as a fan you can’t ask for much more than that.

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