I thought about this last night, and I felt like a little kid at Christmas time. Santa asks what I want for Christmas, and I look up at the man, and I say “Please, pretty please, can I have a Piscotty?” In all seriousness, though, I would love for him to make the team and be the 4th outfielder this year. I liked him from the beginning of Spring Training, and he made a great first impression. I was initially excited to see the kid make it to Memphis, but knowing the logjam that there is in the outfield, I figured that he might live out his days in obscurity there. Now, situations have changed.
First, Taveras has not been able to get back to form. He only played a little in big league camp before being sent down, and although I was confident that he would make it up in June or July to the majors, I don’t know what to think anymore. Even then, someone could jump ahead of him and keep the seat warm for him until he can make it up. Most people assume that is going to be Shane Robinson, but I’d like that to be Piscotty. If Shane has no choice but that he’ll have to go down to Memphis when Taveras comes up, then you can send him down now without too much harm done. Don’t get me wrong, I am a HUGE fan of Sugar Shane, but I just don’t see them sending down Jay and his $3.25 million to Memphis, so Jay’s guaranteed a spot unless Mo trades him.
Speaking of Jay, he’s been terrible this spring. In 44 plate appearances, Jay is hitting .167. Yes, it’s spring. Yes, it’s not against major leaguers all the time, but his opponent quality (a stat by baseball-reference that attempts to quantify how difficult the competition is in spring training. It has flaws, but it’s a good attempt, and people do look at it, so I include it) is 8.6, which is just more than AAA difficulty. Jay’s hitting last year was about 25 points lower than what everyone expected, and I just chalked that up to a bad year, but maybe it’s decline. Based on this spring, it’s hard for me to say that it isn’t. It got to a point yesterday that Jay had been sent to minor league games instead of coming to the Mets game so that he could get more work in. On the other hand, Piscotty is hitting .333 in 40 PAs against an opponent quality of 8.3, just lower than Jay, and close enough that I’d say it’s probably pretty even.
Looking and comparing the Minors numbers, which are hard to compare because players that are going through the minors in one year are facing completely different competition than another year, Piscotty’s numbers dwarf Jay’s by a long way, including Piscotty hitting .355 in 112 games last year between high A and AA, where he actually hit better at AA than high A. That’s pretty darn good. On top of that, he is rated as having the best outfield arm in the Cardinals system, and it would be great to have a guy in the outfield at times who could make teams fear his arm and make them run less, causing them to score less, and throw them out when they try.
It’s been pointed out before that he needs consistent playing time, and I completely understand. He’s only been in the minors a year and a half, and many people think he need to be at AAA for a season. I completely understand, but the kid is so good, that I think that he could produce at this level. Here’s what I’m thinking: Leave Jay as a bat off the bench. Send Robinson down to Memphis. If he’s going to have to be sent down for Taveras anyway, we’d only be losing him for a few more months anyway. Put Piscotty in as the 4th outfielder. He needs consistent playing time, and give that to him: about 3-4 starts a week. Rest Adams one day a week, and put Craig at first. Rest Bourjos and Craig one day a week as well. Even put Piscotty in for Holliday about once every couple weeks or so. Put Piscotty in with double switches or defensive substitutions late in games to get him a little more work. You’d want his arm out there anyway in the 8th or 9th. Then, when and if Taveras is ready this year, send Piscotty down when you bring Taveras up.
That’s what I want them to do. Is that really what they’re going to do? Probably not, but it’s nice to dream, right?