After beginning the Arizona Fall League in a 1-for-11 slump in the first week of the season, Stephen Piscotty has rebounded to become one of the league's best hitters. His .333 batting average ranks eighth in the league and he was named Player of the Week in the season's second week.
Piscotty continued his turnaround Friday, going 2-for-4 with a run and an RBI. He helped Salt River defeat Glendale, 6-2, at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick.
In the last three weeks, Piscotty, the Cardinals' No. 7 prospect, is hitting .385. He said part of the rebound can be attributed to getting his timing back after a long break between the end of the Minor League season and the start of the AFL. But he said he also made some mechanical adjustments after the first week.
"I didn't really see any live pitching for three weeks," Piscotty said. "But there were also some mechanical things that I ironed out over that first weekend. That's part of baseball. I wasn't worried about it."
Piscotty helped get the Rafters offense going Friday. They scored four runs in the third inning off Desert Dogs reliever A.J. Achter to take the lead. Kenny Wilson led off the inning with a triple. Piscotty hit an RBI single and eventually came around to score in the inning.
Wilson finished the game 3-for-5 with a run. Mike Freeman added two hits and three RBIs for the Rafters.
Achter was in the game so early because Desert Dogs starter Michael Lorenzen again faltered, lasting just 1 2/3 innings. Though the Reds' No. 6 prospect didn't allow a hit, he walked four batters and gave up a run. In 11 innings this fall, he has a 3-to-9 strikeout-to-walk ratio and an 11.91 ERA.
While Piscotty and the rest of the Salt River offense came alive for 11 hits Friday night against the league's best pitching staff, it was Glendale that struck first with two runs in the second inning. After the Desert Dogs walked the bases loaded, Danny Black hit a two-out single, scoring two runs.
But it would be all the runs they could muster. Salt River starter Bo Schultz and four relievers shut out Glendale the rest of the game.
Black finished the game 3-for-4. Brent Keys went 2-for-4.
The Rafters have won seven of their last eight games and now get a weekend off for the Fall Stars Game on Saturday night, live on MLB.com at 8 ET. Piscotty will represent the East Division in the game, along with fellow Cardinals outfield prospect James Ramsey.
Piscotty said he wants to enjoy the all-star experience.
"I'm excited to be on the field with all the great talent," he said. "And I'm excited to be sharing that with my friend James Ramsey. It'll be a fun experience. I want to take it all in and have fun."
After the Fall Stars Game, the AFL season will be down to its final two weeks. Piscotty said the Cardinals tell their Minor Leaguers that August is the season's most important month because of the effect finishing the season on a high note can have.
Piscotty said he will take that same mentality for the 10 games that remain in the fall.
"Really, I'm just trying to finish strong," he said. "The biggest thing is I don't want to leave anything out there."