BLUF: Potential solid offensive performer whose prospect status depends on power and defensive development.
The Player: Stephen Piscotty (3B, Stanford University) – Has been a standout performer for three years with Stanford. Posted a .326/.387/.454 line as a freshman after being drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 45th round in 2009. Continued to rake in 2011 with a .364/.423/.471 line backed by 13 doubles, one triple and three home runs. Led the Cape Cod League in hitting with a .349 average in 2011. Through the end of the regular season, notched a .319/.405/.460 slash line with eleven doubles, three triples and five home runs.
Basis of Report: Compilation – Personal Observation (2011 Cape Cod League), Industry Contacts
Body (6-3, 205): Big frame with MLB-body potential. Broad shoulders. Long arms and legs. Has thick thighs given the rest of his body. Solid natural strength but needs to add more to take full advantage of his frame. Potential for a prototypical big third base body with lots of strength.
Hit: Very quick bat. Short stroke. Gets the bat to the zone quickly and frequently on time. Shows ability to handle a variety of pitches and can lace line drives from line to line. Has feel for the barrel and knack for contact. Will go out of the zone for contact at times and could be better served developing more plate discipline. Needs to wait for pitches to drive more frequently, as he becomes satisfied with weak contact to the opposite field at times. Potential plus or better hitter with minor tweaks as a professional. Grade – 40/60
Power: Has present strength to drive the ball in the gaps to all fields. Looks stronger than he is and lacks true home run power at this point. Must learn to turn on pitches on the inner half. Swing can be very arm-heavy. Employing his lower half more could yield more consistent over-the-fence power. Potential average power at best down the line, more likely fringe-average raw that yields 14-16 home runs annually. Grade (raw power) – 30/40
Arm: Plenty of arm for third base. True plus to plus-plus arm strength. Shows 92-93 mph velocity off the mound. Can take a while to get rid of the ball at times, but raw strength can make up for length of delivery. Arm easily plays at third and will allow him to make some plays down the line that other third basemen cannot. Grade – 70/70
Fielding: Earns mixed reviews. Looked very raw and inexperienced when I saw him. Methods can be unorthodox. Has good reactions to both sides and shows at least average range. Glove is frequently poorly positioned when he approaches the ball and he must make rapid adjustments to field the ball cleanly. Footwork is rough and is part of the reason he takes a while to get rid of the ball. Seems to work better when he just reacts while on the move. Ceiling as a fringe-average defender at third base and some scouts believe he could shift to first base. Grade – 30/40
Speed: Flashes average home-to-first times. More frequently below-average to fringe-average. Unlikely to maintain speed if he continues to fill out his large frame. Should be solidly below-average at physical peak. Grade – 50/40
Summation: Needs to stay at third base to be a true prospect. Doesn’t have power profile to be more than a fringe big leaguer at first base. At third base, could be a high average, solid on base guy with plenty of doubles and mid-teens in home runs. Defense will never be stellar but could be adequate and allow him to maintain value. Intelligent player with a strong work ethic. Ceiling of a solid regular at third base with peak seasons slightly better than that.
Relative Risk: Moderate. Risk stems from uncertainty surrounding power projection and defensive questions. Needs both to develop and that could be a long shot.
Draft Projection: Has some late first-round buzz as a polished college bat. Raw talent projects more as a second rounder for me and a team that pushes him up their board will have to believe in both his defense at third base and the development of his power.