It’s not a surprise that Stephen Piscotty is among the St. Louis Cardinals non-roster invitees to Spring Training this season–besides being one of the top prospects in the organization, he hit .342 in 22 Grapefruit League games last year. In fact, heading into 2014 it just seemed a matter as when–not if, he would be called up to the big league roster. Instead, it was outfielders Randal Grichuk, Oscar Taveras, and Tommy Pham who received calls as Stephen suffered through what he called a “brutal” July before rebounding in August.
“I didn’t really expect it,” said Piscotty of not being called up in September. “There were a lot of good players having really good years that I felt were probably more deserving and I think those were the right moves. I wasn’t entirely expecting it, not to say I wasn’t a little disappointed–obviously, you want to get that call. That’s kind of fueling my motivation for this year.”
Part of that motivation has resulted in a change to his swing.
“I felt a little bit of a need to drive the ball a little bit better,” said Piscotty. “I wanted to do that in a way that wouldn’t take away from what my game is–using the right side of the field and spraying the ball. It’s a small adjustment, but I think it’s going to have a pretty big impact.”
Piscotty hit 32 doubles but only 9 home runs while driving in 69 runs for Memphis last season.
“Ideally, it would increase home runs,” continued Stephen. “Mechanically, it was finding a little bit better slot for my bat path,” explained Piscotty. “Something that allows my bat plane to stay on the pitch longer, through the zone more, get more extension. I’m trying to use my longer arms as an advantage, instead of disadvantage. I felt in Triple A that I kind of got tied up a little bit–I was like my arms are so long I can’t get extended, I can’t stay short so I think I was really trying to attack that.”
With his season ending in September, Stephen used the time to fulfill a promise he made to his parents by finishing his coursework at Stanford.
“Finished my degree, that was a big thing,” shared Piscotty. “That was a huge weight off my shoulders. I’m kind of clear-minded now and really excited for this year now that I’ve got that behind me.”
And it wasn’t just any degree. Atmosphere and Energy Engineering.
“That has to do with solar, wind power–anything that has to do with renewable energy that’s pretty much what I studied,” said Piscotty, who laughed that he could make Busch Stadium more green.
Provided that change to his swing results in the extra home runs as planned, that opportunity could come sooner than later.