Manager Bob Melvin has settled on Piscotty and Matt Olson as the primary candidates to hit third for the Athletics this season, Julian McWilliams of The Athletic reports. "It could be a hot hand, it could be somebody we stick with," Melvin said. "My understanding is that the old three [spot] is the new two and that's [Matt] Chapman, so there'll be consistency in that part. But [the third spot] will be based on who's swinging the bat well and who we're facing that day. I'm comfortable with both." With Chapman and Khris Davis penciled in as the Nos. 2 and 4 hitters, respectively, the Athletics are looking for a new player to settle in between them after last season's primary No. 3 hitter, Jed Lowrie, departed in free agency. Piscotty offers a more contact-oriented approach than Olson, but the latter's superior power and left-handedness may make him a better overall fit. Assuming the Athletics use the lefty-hitting Robbie Grossman as their leadoff man, a Grossman-Chapman-Olson-Davis configuration would allow the team to alternate left and right-handed batters in the first four spots. Piscotty would still likely bat fifth in such a scenario and could replace Olson as the No. 3 hitter when the Athletics face left-handed pitching, so his value shouldn't be dramatically affected one way or the other.
Piscotty was 2-for-3 with two RBI during Tuesday's spring loss to the Angels. Piscotty is coming off a successful 2018 campaign in which he slashed .267/.331/.491 with 27 home runs and 88 RBI over 151 games during his first year in Oakland. The 28-year-old should be prominently featured in right field by the Athletics this season.
Piscotty slugged a two-run home run in his only at-bat during a loss to the Angels on Sunday. Piscotty took Matt Shoemaker deep in the second inning with Matt Olson aboard, putting his only at-bat of the game to good use. The 27-year-old posted career bests in home runs (27) and RBI (88) in 2018, and he'll hope to continue contributing in Wednesday's wild-card showdown against the Yankees.
Piscotty is not in the lineup Tuesday against the Mariners. Piscotty will get what appears to be a well-deserved breather after the A's clinched a playoff berth with Monday's victory. The outfielder had started 39 consecutive games heading into Tuesday, hitting .308/.363/.616 with 11 homers and 33 RBI over that stretch. Matt Joyce will start in right field and hit sixth in place of Piscotty.
Piscotty went 2-for-4 with a three-run home run, four RBI, and two runs scored Thursday against the Angels. Piscotty blasted his 26th home run of the season in the third inning against Matt Shoemaker and added an RBI single in the fourth inning to cap off a big day at the plate. Production has come in bunches of late for Piscotty, as he now has nine RBI across his last two games to go along with four homers in his past 10 games. He has enjoyed a reemergence this season, posting a new career-best mark in home runs and tying the best RBI output of his career.