The Oakland A’s need several players to rebound if they are going to return to the postseason in 2021. Should they have hope for Stephen Piscotty?
The Oakland A’s offense disappointed in 2020. Numerous players performed below expectations, with the offense a disappointment throughout most of the season. With a great deal of turnover expected this offseason, the A’s will need those players to rebound if they want to contend in the coming year.
One of the biggest disappointments of the year was Stephen Piscotty. He was healthy entering 2020, seemingly primed for a rebound after a lackluster 2019 season. Instead, he produced a disappointing .226/.271/.358 batting line with five homers and six doubles in his 171 plate appearances.
That lack of production continued in the postseason. Piscotty had just one hit in seven plate appearances as he was relegated to the bench for most of the playoffs. The hope that he would be able to return to form in Oakland has seemingly run out.
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His hitting metrics would appear to back up that pessimistic viewpoint. Piscotty posted the worst barrel rate of his career in 2020, and his 88.1 MPH exit velocity was his second lowest mark. He ranked in the bottom fifth of the league in expected on base percentage, strikeout rate, walk rate, and whiff percentage. Not only was Piscotty not hitting the ball, but he was not making hard contact when he did.
But the A’s have to hope for better. He is signed for another two years at a total of $16.17 million, assuming his $15 million team option for 2023 is bought out. The A’s are a team in flux, with a hole in their outfield and the need for someone to step up in the lineup.
Presumably, that could be Piscotty. He had an excellent 22 game run from August 12 through September 12 where he produced a .288/.321/.475 batting line, hitting four homers and three doubles over his 84 plate appearances. It is not outside the realm of possibility that he could produce at that level over a full season as that batting line is similar to his production in 2016 and 2018.
The Oakland A’s are hoping that Stephen Piscotty can turn his fortunes around in 2021. If that does not happen, he may not have that long of a leash.