A chill is in the air as we enter October, the best month for America’s great pastime. Around playoff squads this fall, several former Stanford players have made significant impacts. Houston, Kansas City and St. Louis are a few of the places that are enjoying the benefits of Cardinal alumni. The Cardinals were graced by an upcoming star who could one day become MVP and certainly would have for the NLDS if the Cardinals had won the series.
In Houston, Jason Castro ’10 started every game as catcher against both the Yankees and the Royals. Despite not swinging the bat well, he had solid defensive performances in all outings, including a phenomenal one-game playoff in the Bronx. In Game 3 of the ALDS, with the series tied at one game apiece, Castro had a critical one-out single to turn a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 advantage.
Third baseman Jed Lowrie ’08 came into four of Houston’s six games as a pinch runner or hitter but did not secure a single hit. On the Kansas City side, Jeremy Guthrie ’04, who played a critical role in the 2014 campaign in which the Royals made it to the World Series, failed to make the playoff roster this year after a disappointing season in which his ERA ballooned to nearly 6. Houston then fell in the pivotal fifth game against Kansas City in what was a much-improved but disappointing season nevertheless.
In the Cardinals and Cubs’ NLDS clash, Stephen Piscotty ’12, who earned his degree this offseason after a three-year absence from The Farm, played spectacularly at times, starting every game in left field and crushing balls from the batter’s box.
From Cardinal to Cardinals, Piscotty was by far St. Louis’ best player in the series. He went 6-for-16 batting .375 and crushed 3 home runs. In Game 1 of the series, he treated the Bush Stadium crowd to an opening double in the first inning, later scoring and also a closing home run in the ninth. In Game 3, he could not be kept off the bases by the Cubs, having 2 hits and a walk, and a ninth-inning 2-run homer that almost sparked a late St. Louis comeback.
In the final game of the series, Piscotty hit his first pitch at bat for a home run and an early 2-0 Cardinals lead. However, the team was ultimately unsuccessful, losing to the Cubs in four games. But look out next season for this rising star.
As of the league championship series, there are no longer any former Stanford baseball players on active MLB playoff rosters.
Contact Michael Spelfogel at mspel ‘at’ stanford.edu.