In the last prospect battle, I looked at two pitching prospects, Alex Reyes and Rob Kaminsky, who will both be top 5 prospects for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2015. For my latest battle, I went with outfielders who should also be top 5 prospects for 2015. Stephen Piscotty and Randal Grichuk have taken very different routes to the Cardinals, as Piscotty was drafted by St. Louis, while Grichuk was acquired via trade, but both may be competing for one spot in 2015.
In my second Prospect Battle, I will compare Stephen Piscotty and Randal Grichuk and give you a look at what they have to offer now and what the future might hold for both. I will also pick the prospect that I think will have a better career when it is all said and done. First, a tale of the tape on the two pitchers.
|Tale of the Tape
|August 13, 1991
|January 14, 1991
|1st Round (24th overall) – 2009
|1st Round (36th overall) – 2012
|6’1″, 195 lbs
|6’3″, 210 lbs
|AAA- 472 PA, .259, 25 HR, 71 RBI
|AAA- 556 PA, .288, 9 HR, 69 RBI
We will start with the prospect who has been in the Cardinals system since day 1, Piscotty. Stephen Piscotty was drafted 36th overall in the 2012 draft out of Stanford University. He came to the Cardinals in the same draft that brought Michael Wacha, James Ramsey, and Carson Kelly. When he was drafted, there were concerns about his hitting stroke, thanks to a less than idea approach at Stanford, but many thought he could be corrected in the Cardinals system.
Being a college draftee, Piscotty was on the fast track through the Cardinals system and reached Triple-A Memphis less than two years after being drafted. His best year came in 2013 when he split time with High-A Palm Beach and Double-A Springfield. He spent the majority of that season at Palm Beach (63 games to just 49 at Springfield) and combined to hit .295 with 15 home runs and 59 runs batted in over a combined 112 games. That would project to over 21 home runs over a full 162 game season.
2014 was supposed to be Piscotty’s coming out party after a strong 2013 that included a fine showing in the Arizona Fall League. He began 2014 with the Memphis Redbirds after just those 49 games at the Double-A level. The inexperience showed as his numbers declined slightly at the higher level. His OPS dropped from .810 to .761 and his wOBA also dropped about 40 points. His K rate also increased a percent or so.
For those that believe Piscotty is ready for the major leagues, I point to those numbers and show that he had just 49 games at Double-A, not even half a season. 2015 should see a return to Memphis and an increase in production. There was some talk that Piscotty could learn first base, but with the addition of Mark Reynolds, that may change. That said, I would not be surprised to see him get time at first next season.
Randal Grichuk was acquired by the Cardinals in November of 2013 in a trade that sent him and Peter Bourjos to St. Louis for David Freese and Fernando Salas. Many at the time believed that Grichuk was considered a “throw in” and did not realize the potential that was there. There has been a lot of talk at the 2014 MLB Winter Meetings that Dodgers GM Andrew Freidman does a great job of maximizing return in trades. I believe that John Mozeliak is also a master at that, as seen in the Grichuk/Bourjos trade.
Grichuk started the 2014 season,along with Piscotty, at the Triple-A level. This was after an awesome Double-A season in the Angels organization where he hit .256 with 22 home runs and 64 runs batted in. Grichuk continued to rake in 2014, hitting 25 home runs in just 108 games, which led the Cardinals organization. Grichuk saw plenty of MLB time in 2014, which was a surprise to many. Over 110 MLB at-bats, he hit .245 with 3 home runs and an OPS of .678. This included 31 strike outs.
Piscotty and Grichuk do many things differently. Piscotty is the low strikeout, high on base hitter who will get extra base hits, but will not be a big power threat. Grichuk is the high strike out, low on base hitter who will bring you 20-30 home runs over a full MLB season. Defensively, the edge goes to Grichuk who can handle center and right, while Piscotty is an average right fielder with an above average arm.
For me the edge goes to Piscotty because he fits the Cardinals mold much better. An obvious comparison to him is Matt Carpenter from the right side. Yes, you would love to see the power develop, but his OPS is nearly equal to Grichuk’s even without the SLG part of the equation. I believe Piscotty’s future is brighter and Cardinals fans will start to see that in the later stages of 2015.
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