With Allen Craig gone there’s going to be a spot open for an outfielder, especially in September during the stretch run, so I thought I’d look at the three most likely candidates for that spot: Stephen Piscotty, Randall Grichuk and Tommy Pham.
Last up is the guy probably favored to get the call-up: Stephen Piscotty.
Here are his Minor League Stats
Piscotty, who was originally a a 3rd Baseman, one of three we took in the early rounds of that draft, has taken a relatively quick route up the ladder, hitting for a good average at every level, with a solid OBP at every level. This year he’s hitting .283 with a .346 OBP, his worst stats so far. Makes sense as the competition gets tougher the higher up you get.
Beyond the average and the .OBP, I noticed several things:
1) He’s not a thumper. His best year in terms of home runs was 2013, when he hit 15 homers combined at 2 levels. This year he has 7 homers in 414 AB’s. He’s not carrying a boomstick.
2) That said, he *does* have line drive power. He has 28 doubles already this year, heading towards 35-45 total.
3) He has a pinch of speed. 10 SB’s this year, while being caught 4 times. Whether this is an indication of actual speed or just a smart base runner I’m not sure. Given that he started out as a 3rd Baseman, I’m inclined to think the latter.
4) He’s not a center fielder. Only played the corners in the minors. He’s the only of the 3 without any center field experience. With Oscar in right and Matt H in left, center is the best place for one of these 3. Without any reps there, it’s hard to see Piscotty ending up there. Holliday’s contract does expire in 2016, so Piscotty could come up, get some experience on the bench and take over a corner OF spot when Holliday’s contract expires.
5) To me, the best case for Piscotty is that he ends up as a Matt Carpenter clone. He’s not too far away, but he needs a little more discipline. I hope he gets there, as having 2 people with that kind of skill set would be nice. Heck, a lineup with 8 Carpenter clones’d be downright scary!
So who gets the chance? Well of the three, Pham and Piscotty seem the most MLB ready to me, while Grichuk needs to work on his discipline, important for a slugger. And since Pham is out of options (the Cards will have to release him at the end of the year if he’s not placed on the 40 man roster) I’d bring both Pham and Piscotty up, cut bait with Shane Robinson and let Pham takeover his spot on the 40 man roster, and when the season ends, send Piscotty and Grichuk to Winter Ball too to get some reps. Have Piscotty play both corner outfield spots in spring training for some flexibility. Oh yeah, I’d cut bait with either Bourjos or Jay. Trade them for prospects, particularly pitching prospects. As this year proves, you can never have enough pitching. After that, let these Pham share time with the one that’s left in CF while having Piscotty be the corner OF relief guy. Also have these two serve as our primary PH’s.They’re certainly better options than Robinson or Descalso. Let Grichuk start in the minors next year before calling him up around mid-season.
As always, thanks for reading.