Cards Add Piscotty, Option Pham, DFA Kelly

The St. Louis Cardinals brought up their top hitting prospect, Triple-A OF/1B Stephen Piscotty. Other moves were required as well.

St. Louis Cardinals press release

St. Louis Cardinals announced today prior to their series opener with the Chicago White Sox that they have purchased outfielder/first baseman Stephen Piscotty from Memphis (AAA). Following Sunday’s game, the team optioned outfielder Tommy Pham to Memphis, and in order to make room for Piscotty on the team’s 40-man Major League roster, Memphis infielder Ty Kelly has been designated for assignment.

Piscotty, 24, considered by Baseball America and to be among the top prospects in the Cardinals organization, was a supplemental first round draft selection (36th player overall) by the Cardinals in 2012 out of Stanford University where he recently completed his degree in Atmosphere and Energy Engineering.

The right-handed hitting Piscotty was batting .272 (87-for-320) with 28 doubles (4th in Pacific Coast League), 11 home runs and 41 RBI in his 87 games at Memphis this season, including a .366 on-base pct. and a .475 slugging mark. He has raised his season average from .243 to .272 since June 1 by batting .308 (44-for-143) over the past six weeks.

The 6-3, 210-pound Piscotty, a native of Pleasanton, Calif., was named to the Pacific Coast League (AAA) All-Star team in 2014 and the Florida State (A) All-Star team in 2013. He owns a career batting mark of .288 with 39 home runs and 196 RBI in 390 minor league games and a .360 on-base pct.

Piscotty, who began his professional career in 2012 as a third baseman, recently began playing first base, appearing at six games for Memphis at the initial sack. He has played 73 games in the outfield this year, primarily in right field (61 games).

Piscotty will be making his Major League debut with his first game appearance. He has been assigned uniform no. 55.

Brian Walton’s take

The Piscotty and Pham moves were disclosed on Monday, leaving the Kelly news as the only new piece. Given the latter’s poor performance at Triple-A this season and limited defensive value (second base and corner outfield) compared to Memphis alternatives Dean Anna and Greg Garcia, the move is not a surprise to me.

Kelly, 27, who was acquired in a trade with Seattle during the off-season for Sam Gaviglio, has no hits in his last 14 at-bats and just three singles in 30 July at-bats (.100), which lowered his season batting average to .203.

If unclaimed by another organization and not traded or released, Kelly will likely return to Memphis. In the interim period of up to 10 days, he will be inactive.

Interestingly, when Piscotty makes his debut, 38 of the 40-man roster players (plus three 60-day disabled list players) have appeared in St. Louis. Only exceptions are Double-A catcher Michael Ohlman and rehabbing pitcher Marco Gonzales.

On Monday, Twitter was ablaze with (unfounded) rumors that shortstop Pete Kozma would be the one removed from the 40-man, despite it seeming unlikely for several reasons. First, the Cards would be lacking a reserve shortstop without other roster moves. Second, there is no indication the team is willing to risk losing Kozma on waivers. Some fans don’t like it because of Kozma’s poor season at the plate, but that is the way it is, at least for now.

Given Kelly cannot play shortstop at the Major League level and is not hitting at the Triple-A level, his situation and that of Kozma are completely separate.

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Brian Walton can be reached via email at Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.

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