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Stephen Piscotty’s Bat Catching Fire

Piscotty has turned his game up a notch recently, giving the Cardinals lineup a boost. Let’s take a closer look at his success at the plate.

After coming on strong in his rookie season, Cardinals fans had high expectations for Stephen Piscotty. Normally, major league players go through the “sophomore slump” in their second season as scouting reports improve and more information is gathered by pitchers and coaching staffs. But, as he has shown in the past, Piscotty is no ordinary player.

In spring training, Piscotty even knew that pitchers, “might start to attack [him] in certain ways.” (interview with KMOX 1120) As the 2016 season began, it seemed that Piscotty was going through a bit of an adjustment phase, as he was struggling a bit in April. In fact through 16 games started, Piscotty was hitting only .250 (low for him) with 17 hits, 9 RBIs and 17 strikeouts.

While this was by no means a poor start, it was not exactly what Cardinals fans had come to expect from the young right fielder. Piscotty had work to do, and he knew it. On April 25, Piscotty used some poor pitching by Arizona Diamondbacks starter Zack Greinke to help get back on the right track. Piscotty would go 2-5 that game with 1 RBI and 3 runs scored.

From then on, it seemed like Piscotty had found a new gear. Determined to be more open-minded at the plate in 2016, he now had almost a full month of baseball under his belt. The scouting reports were all updated, and Piscotty became ready for the challenge.

Since April 24, Piscotty has raised his batting average from .250 to .303, a whopping .53 points! Also, Piscotty has added 12 RBIs, and two home runs. It was apparent that Piscotty was ready to switch gears into attack mode, as the number of walks has significantly decreased since the beginning of that Arizona series.

Sometimes when there’s a noticeable decrease in walks, it means that a player’s has become less disciplined at the plate. With Piscotty, this is absolutely not the case. Instead of choosing to walk to first base, Piscotty has used his bat for good reasons and attacked the baseball. After having 17 hits in 16 games, Piscotty collected 19 hits in his last 12 games started.

Now, if Piscotty plays in 150 games this season, he is on pace for 180 hits, 25 home runs, and 105 RBIs. These are All-Star numbers, statistics for a hitter that get you excited about the future. Also, Piscotty currently has a .303/.366/.521 slash line. If he can keep these numbers up, you might as well throw his name in the conversation for one of the National League’s best outfielders.

The deeper meaning behind this sudden change in statistics is important for Cardinals fans to realize. It seems that Piscotty could have overcome the “sophomore slump” in only 28 games started. If this is the case, then we might be able to come to the conclusion that this is the Piscotty that we’ll see for the rest of his career.

I understand the argument that Piscotty has not even experienced a full season of MLB baseball yet, but he’s such a mature hitter that this argument does not carry enough weight. He’s a clutch hitter with runners in scoring position, a player who knows his limitations, and can attack when the situation is right.

All in all, Piscotty seems to have really turned his game up a notch recently, giving Cardinals manager Mike Matheny some more reliability in his every day lineup. If Piscotty can keep this pace up, he will be playing right field at Busch Stadium for a long time to come.

Photo captured by Jeff Curry-USA Today Sports

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