Second Half Stud: Why Stephen Piscotty Could Prove to Be A Difference Maker

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Stephen Piscotty has been on the radar of fantasy owners for the past few seasons, including hitting .273 with 22 HR in 2016.  However he regressed significantly in 2017 (.235 with 9 HR in 401 PA), and when he was traded to Oakland in the offseason many were ready to write him off as a viable option.  He closed the first half with some strong numbers, and that has put him back on fantasy maps:

311 At Bats
.264 Batting Average (82 Hits)
12 Home Runs
46 RBI
43 Runs
1 Stolen Bases
.326 On Base Percentage
.457 Slugging Percentage
.300 Batting Average on Balls in Play

So what’s changed?  Is Piscotty primed for a further explosion in the second half, helping to carry your fantasy squad?  Let’s take a look:

The biggest difference for Piscotty has been going back to the approach he had in 2016.  When you look at some of the numbers it looked like he tried to become more passive and it did lead to more walks (13.0% walk rate), but it didn’t lead to fewer strikeouts (21.7%) or harder contact (17.6% line drive rate, 32.7% Hard%).  Just look at the numbers:

Year
SwStr%
O-Swing%
201612.4%33.1%
201710.6%29.5%
201812.4%35.2%

You would think the regressions would lead to worse skills, but it’s done the opposite.  Instead of waiting and working deep into counts he’s attacking, keeping the strikeouts in check (20.1%) and hitting the baseball hard (41.2% Hard%).  That definitely works, when you look at his production against pitches other than what we’d classify as “hard” (AVG/SLG):

  • Changeup – .242/.333
  • Slider – .206/.397
  • Curveball – .207/.345

Couple the approach with a career best 15.4% HR/FB and it’s easy to envision things continuing to improve in the second half.  Given the numbers you’d expect better than a .300 BABIP, and he’s shown that in most months:

  • April – .333
  • May – .185
  • June – .338
  • July – .333

Obviously we’d like to see a few more home runs at home (3.7% HR/FB), and he does have the power to improve on that number (21.6% HR/FB on the road).  It all comes together for an ideal buy for the second half.  There is some risk, if opposing pitchers can adjust and take advantage of his aggressiveness.  That said, given the likely cost (in many cases he’s sitting on your waiver wire) it’s worth the gamble.

Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball

Make sure to check out all of our Midseason Prospect Rankings:

First Baseman
Second Base
Shortstop
Third Baseman
Outfielder
Pitcher

10 comments

  1. Don'tBeAHader says:

    Are Piscotty and the Red’s Winker the same guy?

  2. Bennies Express says:

    Hey Prof,

    I’m curious of what you think about a trade offer I received. I’m in a 5×5 roto league with obp instead of avg. We can keep 5 players, 1 that we drafted bw rounds 11-15.

    So I was offered Jose Abreu (not keeper eligible) for Kyle Schwarber (eligble to be kept in round 11). I also have Snell who I drafted bw round 11-15 so I wouldn’t be keeping Schwarber anyway. I’m pretty sure i should make the deal but Abreu has been BAD the last 28 days, should I expect Abreu to break out of the slump and have a big first half?

    As always I appreciate your input, thanks in advance!

  3. Tuco says:

    Piscotty or Carlos Santana?

  4. Marcus Storm says:

    Crawford’s peripherals look kind of meh to me. Is he a hold or trade high?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *