Reports: St. Louis Cardinals May Use Stephen Piscotty at First Base in 2015


According to a report from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Derrick Goold on Tuesday, the St. Louis Cardinals have had internal discussions about giving outfielder Stephen Piscotty some playing time at first base. This move, which we speculated about last month at Arch Authority, would make it easier for the Cards to find playing time at the big-league level for Piscotty, their top prospect, as well as installing a more reliable backup for Matt Adams.

The Cardinals haven’t had a legitimate backup at first base since they traded Allen Craig at the deadline this past season. Utility infielder Daniel Descalso got some late-season playing time at first, a position he’d previously had very little experience at, but Descalso was recently non-tendered and will not be back in 2015. Catcher Yadier Molina and third baseman Matt Carpenter can play first, but their duties at their primary positions would prevent them from filling in for an extended period. Xavier Scruggs had a cameo in September last year, but it’s debatable if he’s good enough to be counted on as a major-league hitter.

Piscotty, who hit .288/.355/.406 with nine homers and 69 RBI during his first year in Triple-A, has widely been expected to make the ascension to the major leagues at some point during 2015. But with Jason Heyward, acquired last month, expected to get nearly all the at-bats in right field, and Peter Bourjos and Randal Grichuk being present as reliable backup options in the outfield, there wasn’t going to be much of an opportunity for Piscotty to play his primary position.

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Piscotty, who will be 25 in January, played third base during his college career at Stanford, so he should be a natural candidate to shift back to the infield. As a righthanded hitter who hit .296 against lefties in Triple-A last year, Piscotty could find at-bats by spelling Adams, who hit just .190 against lefthanded pitchers in 2014. The Cardinals’ Opening Day bench is likely to consist of two backup outfielders (presumably Grichuk and Bourjos), a backup catcher (likely Tony Cruz), and at least one middle infielder. That would leave a spot up for grabs which could go to Piscotty. Even if he didn’t start the season on the big-league roster, he would be a logical option to be a prime candidate for a call-up in the event of an injury or shake-up.

While Piscotty’s long-term future is still likely to come in the outfield, perhaps as soon as 2016 if Heyward is not re-signed after this season, having him develop more versatility gives the Cardinals an easier avenue to get him in the big-league lineup in 2015, now that he doesn’t really have anything left to prove in the minors.