Stephen Piscotty, the Cardinals starting Right Fielder and middle-of-the-lineup bat, rode a hot bat through this past road trip in DC and NY. In 6 games against the Nationals and the Yankees, Piscotty went 7 for 22, with 8 RBI’s and 2 HR’s.
Unfortunately, the Cardinals only went 1-5 over that stretch. Last year, there was a pretty direct relationship between Piscotty’s output and the Cardinals winningness. So, will Piscotty’s hot bat be able to turn around the still-young season?
In 2016, the Cardinals finished the season with a 86-76 record. Stephen Piscotty appeared in 153 of those games, helping the Redbirds win in 81 of them.
The Cardinals win percentage with Piscotty (.529) was nearly identical to the Cardinals win percentage overall (.531). But, after looking deeper into the saber-metrics, it becomes clear that a lot of the Cardinals wins came when Piscotty performed well.
The Piscotty Effect
Piscotty recorded a hit in 105 of his 153 games in 2016. Out of those 105 games with a Piscotty hit, the Redbirds won 60, or .571 of the games.
But when Piscotty did not record a hit, in only 48 games, St. Louis only won 21 time, or a .438 win percentage. That’s right, the Cardinals won over 30% more frequently when Piscotty recorded a hit.
Even more impressively, the correlation between the Cardinals willingness and whether Piscotty hit a home run in a game is very high. Piscotty hit 22 home runs in 2016, each in a different game. Out of those 22 games, the Cardinals won 16 of the contests.
That’s a .727 win percentage in games where Piscotty went deep. But in games where Piscotty didn’t hit a home run and played, the Redbirds only won 65 of 131 games, for a win percentage of .496. One Piscotty home run led to the Cardinals winning nearly 50% more often in 2016.
(Piscotty’s Contributions in 2016)
Turning a Hot Streak into Wins
Whenever a player has such a big impact on a teams overall performance, a small hot streak can turn things around for everyone.
With such an impressive past week in DC and New York by Piscotty, but disappointing outcomes of the games, returning home may just be the shift that the team needs. If Piscotty is able to ignite the Cardinals lineup overall, good things are sure to come.
And that is exactly what happen in Monday night’s game against the Pirates. Piscotty recorded a single in the 7th that helped lead to a victory.
Although Piscotty was thrown out at second while trying to extend his hit into a double, it was enough to start a chain reaction for the St. Louis lineup.
Randal Grichuk followed with a single, and then quickly moved over to third after the Pirates catcher overthrew second base on an attempted steal. Jose Martinez followed with a single of his own, driving in the second run of the game in a 2-1 St. Louis Cardinals win.
Although baseball is a team sport, often times one player has the ability to ignite the rest of his teammates. And this definitely seems to be the case for Stephen Piscotty.
© Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports
Statistics: FanGraphs.com and Baseball-Reference.com