Wednesday, April 3, 2013
Triple-A left field duty for Taveras
By Doug Mittler
Oscar Taveras got a good long look in Grapefruit League before the St. Louis Cardinals decided last week to send the highly-rated outfielder back to the minors, where he will start the season at Triple-A Memphis.
The 20-year-old Taveras had a camp-high 76 at-bats, and made a solid impression by batting .289 with two homers, 10 RBI and a .421 slugging percentage. While tempted to keep him with the big league club, the Cardinals feel Taveras needs more seasoning after he hit .321 with 23 homers at Double-A Springfield last season.
The Cardinals have told Memphis manager Ron Warner they want Taveras to get some experience in left field, reports Derrick Gold of the Post-Dispatch. Taveras will continue to work in center and his natural position of right field, but it can’t hurt to increase his versatility.
ESPN.com’s Keith Law says Taveras, second on his list of Top 100 prospects, might land at Busch Stadium at some point this season:
Keith LawNo. 2 – Oscar Taveras
"If I told those of you who are Cardinals fans that Oscar Taveras would be the next Vladimir Guerrero, you'd take that, right? I disdain player comps since they so often reflect the wrong similarities -- national origin, alma mater, sometimes even facial resemblances -- but this one fits shockingly well aside from their handedness. Taveras, a left-handed hitter, has a furious swing with outstanding plate coverage, doesn't walk much or strike out much and, new in 2012, has plus raw power. He shortened his swing last offseason, getting his hands a little lower and tighter and creating a more direct path to the ball, but still has the same ability to go out of the zone and square up pitches most hitters could only foul off. He has played center and right in the minors, but the corner is his more likely home. He'll have plenty of range, although he doesn't have Vlad's arm (few do). Taveras could be up this year and playing every day, with the potential for .300 averages and 30-plus homer seasons at his peak."