While most teams remain in spring training getting ready for the start of the rest of the season on March 28th, the baseball gods bless us with an early 2019 MLB Opening Day treat featuring the Mariners vs Athletics. After a relatively quick pace to start the game off, Steven Piscotty took a low fastball deep to center field and hit the first home run of the MLB season.
WATCH: Oakland Athletics’ Steven Piscotty Hits First Home Run of Season on MLB Opening Day
On a 1-1 count with two down in the bottom of the first inning, Piscotty got a hold of a low fastball, giving the A’s a 1-0 lead in the game. Not necessarily known for his power, Piscotty is a somewhat surprising player to hit the first dinger of the season, especially considering the sheer power that surrounds him in the A’s lineup.
Although Piscotty claims the mantle of being the first player to hit a home run in the 2019 MLB season, he does have a slight leg up on the competition considering he gets to start his season a year in advance. All that said, Piscotty has always shown decent pop when healthy and is usually good for at least 20+ home runs if he can stay in the lineup for the majority of the year.
Stephen Piscotty 2018 MLB Stats & Season Projection
Piscotty is coming off a career year where he 27 home runs along with 88 RBI (both career bests) along with his second-best career batting average. While his walk total dropped, he was also able to cut back on his strikeouts and did a much better job of simply putting the bat on the ball in 2018. Still young and only in his age 28 season, Piscotty is entering his athletic prime and should potentially be expected to have a bit more room to grow.
While it isn’t realistic to expect Piscotty to turn into an absolute monster at the plate, he could wind up being good for about 30 home runs and 90 RBI to go along with a respectable average at the plate. Piscotty will never be a .300 hitter nor provide much in terms of his run-scoring ability but should be a solid run-producer in the middle of the Athletics’ lineup in 2019.
Despite the A’s losing some key contributors, the presence of Matt Chapman, Matt Olson, and Khris Davis should still be enough to ensure that their lineup doesn’t take much of a hit. Especially considering the addition of Jurickson Profar, a dynamic and versatile offensive talent, the Athletics should roll out plenty of lineup protection and opportunities to drive runners in for Piscotty.