St. Louis Cardinals: Another reunion is coming this week
Another former St. Louis Cardinals player is returning to Busch Stadium this week. What has the teams’ former right fielder been up to since his trade?
The St. Louis Cardinals have another reunion coming this week as the Oakland Athletics come to town for a two-game series starting on Tuesday. While Oakland is also just three games above .500 like the Cardinals, they find themselves eight games out of first place in the AL West.
The games aren’t necessarily the focus for me at least because one of our old favorites is making his first return to Busch.
Stephen Piscotty was drafted by the Cardinals in the first round of the 2012 MLB Draft out of Stanford and broke into the league in 2015 at the age of 24. He showed very well in 2015 and 2016 hitting a combined .282/.348/.467 with 29 homers and 50 doubles over 216 games. He added to that some very solid defense and a great arm.
At the beginning of the 2017 season, the Cardinals signed Piscotty to a six-year extension and marketed both him and Randall Grichuk as the outfield of the future.
Oh how quickly that changed.
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During the 2017 season, Piscotty was hit with an emotional brick as his mother was diagnosed with ALS in late May. Understandably, Piscotty’s head seemed to be in a different place for the majority of that year as his Mom lived in Pleasanton, California, halfway across the country.
Piscotty hit just .235 with nine homers and an OPS barely north of .700 in 2017 and while it was a disappointing step back, it was understandable given his off-the-field situation.
After the season, in one of the best all-around trades that has happened in baseball, the Cardinals sent Piscotty to Oakland for Yairo Munoz and Max Schrock. It was hard to see him go, and it wasn’t purely an emotional trade, but it made sense for both the Cardinals and the A’s.
This allowed Piscotty to be near his mother and made it easier for him to spend time with her before she did eventually pass in early May of 2018.
His return was extremely emotional and that homer was a very special moment for any fan of baseball.
Overall, in his first year with the A’s, the right fielder hit .267 with an OPS of .821 and 27 homers, a great bounce-back season after his rough 2017.
This year, Piscotty is hitting just .243 with nine homers and a .702 OPS thus far but again off-field issues have struck him as he had to have surgery last week to get a melanoma removed from his ear. Surprisingly, Piscotty did not wind up on the IL after getting this cancer removed but did go through a bit of a slump, understandably.
Personally, Piscotty was one of my favorite players to watch rise up the minors and then break out in the league and I was sad to see him go.
He will obviously not get the Albert Pujols treatment upon his return, but I would expect a nice long ovation his first at-bat back after a year and a half on the west coast.
Looking back at the trade, it was the right move for both teams as Munoz has provided a lot of bench value and you can’t look at Piscotty and say he would be a marked upgrade over any of our current outfielders. Let’s just all enjoy another former Cardinals’ return.