By: Luke Johns
With outfielders Matt Holiday and Jon Jay constantly on and off the disabled list this season, the St. Louis Cardinals have needed to find a way to fill the voids of those outfielders on a game-by-game basis.
In comes a 24-year-old Stanford graduate who has been in the lineup just about every game since his July 21 promotion to the big leagues. Stephen Piscotty is now contributing to the best team in baseball, who are well on their way to another playoff run.
“I’ve been trying to approach the situation of each at-bat and going up just trying to get a runner in and not trying to get too big,” Piscotty told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “But when we need a guy in scoring position I might try to drive one so I do kind of change or alter what I’m trying to do based on the situations.”
With his simple approach, Piscotty is thriving. Entering Wednesday, he has four homeruns, 28 runs batted in, and has a .366 on-base percentage. Not only are his numbers good enough for manager Mike Matheny to keep him on the field, Piscotty has shown signs already he has a knack for timely hitting.
On July 25 his RBI was the only run of the Cardinals 1-0 victory over Atlanta, and his four hit game on Aug. 29 set the table for a 6-0 victory over San Francisco.
Another key characteristic of a baseball player is the ability to bounce back after a rough game. Piscotty has already demonstrated that, by following an 0-for-4 game with three strikeouts on Aug. 22 with two homeruns and a triple the very next game.
Piscotty is a humble, down to earth person, as he doesn’t allow any moment to get too big for him. When asked about the buzz surrounding his name as a potential big-leaguer back in Jan. 2014, he told the Dispatch that he’s not on Twitter and doesn’t read the paper much. He even capped it off by saying, “I don’t think that’s something to worry about because I can’t control it.”
His quiet confidence likely correlates to his strong performance. His stats speak for themselves, but Piscotty also brings intangibles by supplying that young-player energy that teams usually rally around. Down the stretch it’s going to be difficult for Matheny to take him out of the lineup once the Cardinals start to get healthy.
We’ve seen players like Brennan Boesch get off to fast starts at the beginning of their career but for various reasons never able to replicate their superb performance in the following years. For all we know, Piscotty could very well be another Brennan Boesch. But for now it’s exciting to watch him rake at the big-league level and he has shown all the signs needed to think of him as the next up-and-coming superstar, and play major roles in future successful St. Louis Cardinals teams.