Exit Interview: Stephen Piscotty

For the fourth straight year, we’re taking some time in that time between the end of the season and the winter meetings to discuss each player that made an appearance on the St. Louis roster this season.  Whether they played almost every day or never actually got into a game, they get covered in this series.  All stats are exclusively their time in St. Louis.   Just think of this as them stopping by Mike Matheny‘s office for a quick evaluation before heading home for the winter.

Player: Stephen Piscotty

Season stats: 63 games, 256 PA, 29 R, 15 2B, 4 3B, 7 HR, 39 RBI, 2 SB, 1 CS, 20 BB, 56 K, .305/.359/.494, 129 OPS+, 0.9 bWAR

Hero/Goat: Hero 12, Goat 2

Overall grade: A

Positives: He got the Hero tag 12 times in 63 games, which should tell you something right there….led the team with three home runs in the postseason….learned first base on the fly this season and was more than adequate by the end of the campaign….took him just 30 games to have a multi-home run game….hit .322 against lefties, but five of his seven homers came against right-handers….hit .346/.378/.551 at Busch….hit .413 in the six-hole….hit .615 and slugged 1.077 on a 1-0 count….hit .356 (with four homers) with two outs in an inning and .361 with two outs and runners in scoring position.

Negatives: Hit just .266 with nobody out in the inning….average was just .175 when the pitcher was ahead in the count….was most used in the second spot, but only hit .263 there….his worst month by average was September, when he hit .263 (but three of his home runs)….hit just .255 away from home….hit just .242 in games the Cardinals lost.

Overview: There is really no two ways about it, calling up Piscotty probably saved the Cardinals’ season, at least if you are looking at it from a “win the division” standpoint.  Piscotty never seemed to be overwhelmed, staying stoic even when he was having success.  (Something he might want to be careful about–Cardinal fans can turn on quiet, non-demonstrative types quickly, as J.D. Drew could attest.)  His consistent offense helped the club weather the charge from the Pirates and the Cubs.

I honestly didn’t know what to expect from Piscotty when he came up.  I knew he was “the next big thing” but he’d been so long in the shadow of Oscar Taveras that it seemed like even though he was next, it was a step down.  He quickly became the guy that I wanted to see at the plate in a big situation, though, and pressure obviously didn’t bother him much as shown by his postseason performance.  If that was a coming out party, it was a grand one.

Outlook: All those glowing things being said, we still don’t really know what we have in Piscotty.  How will the league adjust to him?  Will he adjust back?  Will he continue to develop?  How will he deal with being at first much of next season?  I feel better about the answers to those questions than I did in August, but there’s still enough uncertainty that it’s tough to mark him down as more than a complementary player for the offense next season.  It’s a great thing to have such a player, don’t get me wrong, but time will tell if he’s a pillar or not.

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