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Cardinals prospect Oscar Taveras is crushing Double-A pitching at age 19

May 2, 2012, 12:48 PM EDT

the next big thing

Oscar Taveras isn’t quite in the same class of prospect as Bryce Harper or Mike Trout, but now that those two are both in the majors the Cardinals outfielder is making his case as one of the minors’ elite young hitters.

Taveras won’t be 20 years old for another six weeks, but he’s currently destroying Double-A pitching after making the jump from low Single-A (where he hit .386 last season).

Taveras smacked his seventh homer last night, which is already just one short of a career-high, and is now hitting .347 with a .694 slugging percentage and 1.078 OPS in 24 games at Double-A. HardballTalk’s resident Cardinals fan, Drew Silva, has taken to calling him Oscar “Ted Williams” Taveras and the teenager figures to be near the top of most midseason prospect rankings after placing 74th on Baseball America‘s preseason list.

  1. ajcardsfan - May 2, 2012 at 1:00 PM

    Looks like I’ll need to follow him a bit then

    • biasedhomer - May 2, 2012 at 1:42 PM

      You are a Cards fan and you are just hearing of him? Before the season, he was arguably the best hitting prospect of the Cards (One could make the argument for Wong, but he doesn’t have the power.)

      • ajcardsfan - May 2, 2012 at 2:07 PM

        I don’t follow the Minor Leagues too much, I’m starting to do it more now that I’m not in school anymore

  2. blues1988 - May 2, 2012 at 1:04 PM

    agreed. the cardinals have to be towards the top in recruiting over the past few decades, we always have someone awesome comin out of the minors. i love it.

  3. makeham98 - May 2, 2012 at 1:25 PM

    the next “can’t miss” , following in the footsteps of cody rasmus.

    • saints97 - May 2, 2012 at 1:34 PM

      Cody?

      Fail.

  4. underwoodsbeard - May 2, 2012 at 1:39 PM

    How is it a fail when the guy’s name isn’t worth remembering? Hope his daddy doesn’t get all bent out of shape and leave me a super mean comment on this here message board! probably too busy trolling Blue Jays boards anyhow…

  5. lapsncaps - May 2, 2012 at 1:42 PM

    Lets put it up to the ultimate minor league test…Dylan Bundy.

  6. mdpickles - May 2, 2012 at 1:49 PM

    You sure this guy isn’t 24? Latin America’d?

  7. hotkarlsandwich - May 2, 2012 at 1:53 PM

    Yeah Minor League Guy!!!

  8. cintiphil - May 2, 2012 at 2:10 PM

    I don’t think the redbirds need any more stars, however, he is JUST a proscpect. Remember all of those guys in the past? Not only Colby, but the guy they traded to Oakland who couldn’t miss? Also, they had a good guy (Ankiel) who was a pitcher and now an outfielder, who is barely staying alive in the bigs. However, the Reds had some can’t miss guys too. Dunn was the biggest loser, but they had others. So don’t get too excited Cardinals fans, YET!

    • okwhitefalcon - May 2, 2012 at 2:27 PM

      It’s fun watching these guys, Taveras included.

      I keep enthusiasm tempered, the Cards have definitely overvalued a few – especially through the Jeff Luhnow years.

      It’s worked in some cases, getting Matt Holliday for Brett Wallace essentially was a steal and unloading Rasmus was a key to World Series Championship run.

    • paperlions - May 2, 2012 at 3:18 PM

      What you have to realize as well is that different organizations have different rates of success in developing talent. There is no way to know what would have happened to Wallace if the Cardinals kept him, he might have been fine. Some systems (like Baltimore) are great at screwing up prospects, some (like Boston) draft a lot of high quality talent, but don’t seem to know how to develop any of it, and other (like StL the last 6 or so years) seem to regularly have guys out produce their prospect status.

      The bottom line is….you can’t develop a star if you never have the prospect with that potential in your system….so having a potential All-Star in AA is far better than not having him….because he has a greater than a 0% chance of being a star (compared to the 0% chance associated with not having the prospect in the first place).

    • forsch31 - May 2, 2012 at 10:01 PM

      While the warning of caution is well-advised, not all prospects are created the same. A quick comparison:

      Rasmus–age 19–Quad Cites Single A: .310 batting, .884 OPS in 341 plate appearances

      Taveras–Age 19–Quad Cities Single A: .386 batting, .1.028 OPS in 347 plate appearances

      Rasmus–Total Springfield Double A: .275 batting, .932 OPS, 29 HR, in 556 plate appearances

      Taveras–Current Springfield Double A: .347 batting, 1.078 OPS, 7 HR, in 104 plate appearances

      Rasmus was a highly regarded prospect and the first bluechip prospect to come along for the Cardinals in a while. But Taveras is something different. He’s been absolutely destroying pitching ever since turning pro. In four minor league seasons (which includes his underwhelming DSL season at age17), his line is .325 batting, .518 slugging, and .900 OPS. That’s been making a lot of scouts and prospect evaluators take notice. There’s more than plenty to be excited about.

  9. Drew Silva - May 2, 2012 at 2:33 PM

    If the nickname Oscar “Ted Williams” Taveras eventually evolves into “Teddy Taveras” and then ultimately “Teddy T,” I wouldn’t be all that upset. Not that upset at all.

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