Looking Ahead At Oscar Taveras
In the past few years, the St. Louis Cardinals have proven that grooming a solid amount of homegrown talent sprinkled with some key free agent signings can form a winning team. While a splashy free agent signing can grab instant headlines, there is always something special when a marquee prospect emerges from within a club’s system. Oscar Taveras continues to emerge as that can’t-miss outfielder of the future for the Cardinals. However, will he get any chance to prove himself in 2013?
For starters, the Cardinals seem pretty much set heading into Spring Training as far as the outfield goes. Matt Holliday, Jon Jay and Carlos Beltran all had solid seasons in 2012, and the Cardinals are not about to bring up a prospect like Taveras to just sit the bench and be a fourth outfielder.
Taveras will be getting extended work in the next month at Spring Training, and everyone keeping an eye on the fantasy baseball 2013 class will be taking an interest. Still, even an unreal March will still likely give him a ticket back to the minors. However, Holliday and Beltran are on the back end of their careers, and Jon Jay lays his body out on the line quite a bit to make plays in center. Injuries are never something people want to discuss, but Taveras could be one injury away from getting his first taste of the major leagues.
By now, most fans of the Cardinals have heard Taveras’ name. He has been compared to everyone from Vladimir Guerrero to, yes, Albert Pujols. While that is high praise, and the Cardinals have a great reputation when it comes to developing talent, he won’t turn 21 until June and is still learning the strike zone a bit. St. Louis’ farm system is being touted as one of the best in baseball this season, but these guys will still need to come up and prove that they can handle this level of play.
Barring any serious setbacks, Taveras will be up at some point in 2013. Whether it be as a replacement for an injured outfielder, or simply as a September call up, the Cardinals are ready to give him a shot at playing every day. They already practically have him penciled in as an outfielder for 2014, so the more work he can get done this season, the better.