Since being chosen by the Cardinals with the 36th pick in the 2012 Draft, Stephen Piscotty has blazed a path through the Cardinals organization and become perhaps the most heralded bat in the system not named Oscar Taveras.
After a season where he hit .295 with 15 home runs, 23 doubles and drove in 59 runs in 112 games between Palm Beach and Springfield, he truly took a step onto the higher stage in the Arizona Fall League. To round out 2013, he hit .371 in the premier postseason league, and now is primed to get his first crack in the spring with the big league team.
At the Cardinals Care Winter Warm Up, I got a chance to have a few words with the rising Cardinal right fielder to touch on a few topics. From getting comfortable in the outfield, adjustments at the plate and his current teammates that we should know about, Piscotty describes what his coming of age has been during his first two professional years.
I-70: With the type of versatility that you have, having played third base and moving to the outfield now, do you see yourself approaching, say, a Matt Carpenter to prepare to play multiple positions to find your way onto the field?
Piscotty: Yes, absolutely. You try to keep your options open and there are a lot of guys out there that do a lot of different positions. I was on the (Cardinals) Caravan with Jermaine Curtis and he was telling me that he was playing in the Dominican this winter playing literally every position except catcher, so there are a lot of guys around to help prepare for that.
I-70: On all of the different levels you have played at so quickly in the organization and now going out to the Fall League, what has been the biggest difference in the pitching that you’ve seen so far between the levels?
Piscotty: The toughest jump was from High-A to Double-A definitely. The guys in High A had a lot of good “stuff”; a lot of good fastballs and sliders. But in Double A, the command was there, the stuff was there and it was more of a mental game. You really have to fine tune your approach there because pitchers know how to get you out. That was definitely the biggest challenge.
I-70: Has there been a pitcher that you have played behind in the organization that you would say is going to be a factor in St. Louis soon?
Piscotty: Tim Cooney was absolutely lights out for us. He was one that can really hit spots well. He has a good tempo and great command, and was really fun to play behind.
I-70: Has it helped you to play behind a pitcher with a good pace while learning the outfield?
Yeah. I had that going to the outfield you have a lot of time to think about your previous at-bat, and if you strike out you have a lot of time to go through it, and that’s not always good. But if you have a guy on the mound that’s got a great pace, that stuff just sinks to the back of your mind and you’re just locked in and ready to perform.