By The Baseball Beginnings Guy
April 12, 2012
The first time I saw Stephen Piscotty was probably the worst night of his life, four ground ball outs on a Friday night in 2011 at USC. On my scouting card that night, I made the note, “might be one adjustment away.”
Then I saw him again recently in 2012. The first thought is, “Where is the guy I thought looked a lot like a young Casey Blake?”
Piscotty had everything in common with Blake, from the long, lean, loose body to the easier, effortless swing with just a slight little uppercut that promised modest home run production at the major league level. This time, I’m not as sold, which is probably not a popular opinion, but in his haste to get stronger, as many college players aspire between sophomore and junior years, he looked slower, stiffer and tighter to me this year than he did last year.
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It doesn’t matter what I say here because he’s going to go good anyhow, but I wonder if teams pay as close attention to scouting history as much as I do. I’ll share my grades here. Hit 4/5, Power 4/4, Run 5/5, Arm 5/5, Field 4/5. 48. A lot of people probably won’t agree with my power grade, but I’m not seeing the hand strength, at least not this year. It ain’t rocket science. He looks like a guy getting away from what got him there.
Now I’m also not talking about the slanted scale teams are starting to use now, I’m talking about a real world evaluation, envisioning this guy at the big league level. Still a potential everyday ML third baseman but not a top shelf one – who cares if I’m this guy, that skill set still makes money. But he’s getting away from what he really is, which is a gap hitter with occasional power, not a power hitter who occasionally gets a gap. When I said he was one adjustment away, this wasn’t what I had in mind. He has trouble with the change-up, which three years into his college career, shouldn’t concern me as much as it does. He also needs work defensively, as he gets beaten too many times on in-between hops and his throws flash a lack of accuracy.
These things I’m discussing are correctable with adjustments and work, but it’ll never happen in college. This guy is a gap hitter gripping and ripping. Pro ball will center him in a hurry, then we will find out what he really is.