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VIDEO: Oscar Taveras homers in his second major league at-bat

May 31, 2014, 3:51 PM EDT

Cardinals top prospect Oscar Taveras harmlessly flew out to left field in his first major league at-bat this afternoon, but he did this in his second at-bat:

That swing. Just beautiful. Here’s hoping it’s the first of many in the big leagues. The game went into a rain delay right after the home run, which gave the Cardinals a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the fifth inning, so it is an official game and the home run will count no matter what.

Courtesy of our own Matthew Pouliot, check out this screenshot of Taveras’ blast. If this picture isn’t the wallpaper in Drew Silva’s bedroom already, I’m gonna be really disappointed.


  1. okwhitefalcon - May 31, 2014 at 3:57 PM

    Can’t get wiped out by he weather, the game is official I believe..

    • D.J. Short - Jun 1, 2014 at 1:08 AM


  2. tfbuckfutter - May 31, 2014 at 4:01 PM

    If the game gets rained out it’s only because God wants him to Homer in his first official at bat.

    Like a true Cardinal.

  3. Old Gator - May 31, 2014 at 4:16 PM

    Big strong looking kid and that was a murdered pitch. Well goody, another masher to liven up the dog days. Looking forward to watching him square orf against the Iron Giant eventually.

  4. captainwisdom8888 - May 31, 2014 at 4:37 PM

    That swing is butter-smooth…almost Griffey-esque in its beauty. I had to promptly add this guy to my fantasy squad, and I’m calling it right now: I guarantee he hits another homer today. You heard it here first.

  5. thomas844 - May 31, 2014 at 5:11 PM

    Looks like “Minor League Guy” is truly “Major League guy” now! (Skip to 1:08)

  6. shadowcell - May 31, 2014 at 5:14 PM

    Welcome to the big leagues indeed.

  7. 1harrypairatesties - May 31, 2014 at 5:25 PM

    Cubs have 2 guys better. Baez & Bryant. You’ll be seeing them soon Cardinals fans.

    • paperlions - May 31, 2014 at 5:39 PM

      There is a reason neither one of those guys have been rated better than Taveras by anyone.

      Bryant might be better, eventually, his power is just crazy. But he also has contact issues. Striking out 27% of the time in AA is an issue, that translated to about a 35% K rate in the majors.

      Baez has been attrocious in AAA this year, striking out 34% of the time after striking out 29% of the time in AA last year. At least Bryant’s Ks come with BBs. Baez’s Ks just come with more Ks.

      Contact is important. If you can’t make contact against AA and AAA pitchers, who lack the command, control, and movement of MLB pitchers….you are really going to struggle against MLB pitching.

      Bryant and Baez have huge potential, but they are also going to have to show they can make enough contract (and for Baez, control the strike zone) well enough for the power to play.

      • imnotyourbuddyguy - May 31, 2014 at 8:20 PM

        K rates in AA/AAA tend to remain the same in the majors.
        I agree what what ya posted for the most part, but 27% K rate in minors does not translate to 35% in the majors.

      • paperlions - May 31, 2014 at 8:38 PM

        Yeah, it does. While it is true that players develop, the point is that if they promoted a guy in AA with a 27% K rate he would K at about 35% right now in the majors, not that in a year or so when he is ready that he’ll K at that rate, or that if he doesn’t improve contact and pitch recognition he’ll K at that rate.

      • imnotyourbuddyguy - May 31, 2014 at 9:38 PM

        If you’re not into graphs the moral of the story is once you have a K% over 25% it doesn’t deviate much from that.

        Would be the chart for a 22 year old AA player

      • paperlions - May 31, 2014 at 10:40 PM

        That isn’t actually the story at all, based on this data. There is no analysis and unfortunately the data is coarsely binned. There is nothing in there that supports your first statement, because those players were all binned into just 25%+ in each case, not allowing one to evaluate if high K players Ked at higher rates in the majors.

        This table shows that K rates for 22 yr old AAA players were generally higher for their MLB careers. Almost every guy with a K rate 10%. Guys from 10-15% were just as likely to be between 15-20% as 10-15% (likely a binning problem). Same with guys between 15-20%, they were just as likely to stay the same as to have higher K rates. Unfortunately, the data isn’t there to show the magnitude of the the trend, but the trend is clearly up. Those differences are similar for each age class.

        He even concluded that high K rate guys have a lower success rate in the majors because they have less room for error and high K rate guys stayed high K (though he didn’t evaluate how much it increased) and low K rate guys struck out more.

        That data really is too course to accurately estimate the magnitude, but even in the data you cite, it shows that K rates go up from AAA to MLB.

      • imnotyourbuddyguy - May 31, 2014 at 10:46 PM

        Nothing in the data shows a AA or AAA player at 22 years old who already has a 25% or higher K% jumping another 7-8 percent.

        I don’t know what to tell you at this point, all the data shows that once players reach 25% or higher K% in the minors you rarely see a jump that you suggested.

        It’s been covered on fangraphs and other places, so I don’t know why you’re continuing to defend a 8% increase when all the data says otherwise.

      • paperlions - May 31, 2014 at 10:53 PM

        What data are you talking about? There is no data in that article that can evaluate the question because everything is binned and there is only one category above 25%+. That data is totally useless to demonstrate any effect size because it is binned (i.e. it would not distinguish between a K rate of 25.0 and 35.0 or between 15.1 to 19.9. The data is too imprecise to say anything about how much the rate goes up, and it doesn’t say anything at all about guys over 25% because there is no higher bin to move them to.

      • paperlions - May 31, 2014 at 10:55 PM

        FWIW, if you read scouting articles or any of the MLEs that are used for projectsion, they all bump expected K rates about 5%, because that is the average increase in K rates experienced by hitters. Of course some will K less and some will K about the same, but most K more.

      • imnotyourbuddyguy - May 31, 2014 at 11:04 PM

        Pedro Alvarez rose 6%
        Goldschmidt dropped 1%
        Giancarlo went up 2%
        Ryan Howard went up 1%
        Springer went up 3%

        Point is you can’t just tack on a 8% K% onto Bryant as fact. Which was all I was disagreeing with

      • paperlions - May 31, 2014 at 11:16 PM

        I didn’t state if very well, or linearly, the point was that a guy in AA now that Ks at 27% will K about 35% if he was brought to the majors now, not that he would K that much during his career (assuming he makes it). It was in response to someone saying Bryant was better than Taveras. Bryant will have to show improvement in pitch recognition and contact or he will K more than 30% once he’s called up, but he has some development time left.

      • paperlions - May 31, 2014 at 11:06 PM

        Another to see from that data that high K rates are an issue.

        29% of 21 year olds never make it in the majors (< 500 PA)

        The most common outcome for 22 yr olds with 25%+ is to not make it in the majors.

        The most common outcome for 23 yr olds with 20-25% or 25% plus K rates is to not make it in the majors (nearly 1/2 of each group). And it only gets worse with age.

        If you sort players by their current MLB K rate and look at those striking out the most, they all struck out less in the minors….most guys that struck out more washed out.

      • imnotyourbuddyguy - May 31, 2014 at 11:18 PM

        That’s a separate issue
        LOL But ya there are quite a few Shaq Green Thompson’s in there that totally wash out.
        Having a high k% certainly isn’t indicative of future success.
        Just pointing out that 27% at AA doesn’t mean that 35% is most likely at MLB.

      • paperlions - May 31, 2014 at 11:20 PM

        Yeah, this medium can be crappy for “debates”.

      • imnotyourbuddyguy - May 31, 2014 at 11:20 PM

        Shaq’s final line
        47 PA’s 37K’s
        Good for 78.7%, lol gotta love it

      • paperlions - May 31, 2014 at 11:22 PM

        That’s got to be a record for non-pitchers.

      • imnotyourbuddyguy - May 31, 2014 at 11:24 PM

        Yaaa he made the right choice and committed to football at Washington State last year.

      • paperlions - May 31, 2014 at 11:30 PM

        His example should be pointed out to all of the MSM that act like because Winston and Wilson are good at football, that they would be star baseball players. Wilson’s MiLB career ended for a reason, he wasn’t any good…and no one thinks Winston is a prospect, but he still get’s hyped.

      • imnotyourbuddyguy - May 31, 2014 at 11:33 PM

        Winston isn’t a legit prospect until Baseball America tells me he is

      • imnotyourbuddyguy - May 31, 2014 at 11:31 PM

        I forgot this was the Taveras thread, think he knew it was gone? I’m half surprised nobody has got on him for his “Yup that’s 1” finish

      • paperlions - May 31, 2014 at 11:34 PM

        I think everyone thought it was gone. At least he did take off running rather soon and he didn’t flip is bat, heaven forbid a guy enjoy the moment.

      • imnotyourbuddyguy - May 31, 2014 at 9:01 PM

        Rendon’s K’s rate actually dropped coming to the majors.
        Longoria has remained the same
        Wieters the same

        Fangraphs and others have done pieces on this phenomenon, guys who K’s over 25% in the minor tend to stick around that # in the majors.

      • paperlions - May 31, 2014 at 10:49 PM

        And if we are cherry picking a few guys:

        McCutcheon’s K rate went up….but if we want to pick guys that have contact problems, which are probably the better comps for Baez and Bryant.

        Mark Reynold’s K rates took a huge jump in the Majors. Junior Lake’s K rates took a huge jump in the majors. Chris Carter’s K rates took a huge jump in the majors. SSS but Springer’s K rates took a huge jump so far. Chris Davis’ K rates took a huge jump in the majors.

        The effect is not linear. Guys with contact issues have a harder time adjusting to MLB pitchers than other guys, and most guys with 20% plus AA/AAA K-rates have significantly higher K-rates in MLB.

      • yahmule - Jun 1, 2014 at 12:33 AM

        Baez has calmed down and begun to sting the ball the last couple weeks. Part of the reason he was struggling so grotesquely was because – no matter what he said – he was severely disappointed to be demoted after a monstrous spring. He spent the first month in Iowa trying to hit a five run homer every AB and he also sprained an ankle. This is one reason I get annoyed when teams keep a guy down who is clearly ready like Springer. They’re as likely to improve as they are to develop bad habits. I wasn’t really opposed to sending Baez down, though. He’s still only 21 and he hasn’t had that many ABs as a pro.

    • Reflex - May 31, 2014 at 5:44 PM

      While both are good, neither is a higher rated prospect than Taveras.

    • gibbyfan - May 31, 2014 at 7:00 PM

      If they ‘were better’ I’m pretty sure they would be playing, especially for a team like the Cubs

  8. psunick - May 31, 2014 at 5:50 PM

    Isn’t Mike Trout’s strikeout rate over 25% this season?

    • bfunk1978 - May 31, 2014 at 7:15 PM

      It is. Amazing what you can find on Fangraphs.

      Trout is trending down bigtime this year for some reason. Isolated power is down, BABIP is down, wRC+ is down, slugging is down (and as a result OPS is down slightly)…of course, they’re all down from super-human levels to that of a mere amazing hitter. I would take his worst year as my best and still call it pretty damn good.

      • jrob23 - May 31, 2014 at 8:54 PM

        as the weather warms his numbers will explode. Personally I think he needs to be leading off where his speed comes in to play more. He’ll still end up 30 HR 20 SB. Though that is not him reaching his potential. His bad year is 95% of players career years lol

  9. jerze2387 - May 31, 2014 at 5:58 PM

    That swing, to me, looked exactly like Chris Davis.

  10. volcom2143 - May 31, 2014 at 6:11 PM


  11. ud1951 - May 31, 2014 at 6:32 PM

    It’s my desktop photo now!

  12. 1harrypairatesties - May 31, 2014 at 11:46 PM

    Damn’ I started an interesting debate here. Both of you made good points. I think Tavares, Baez, & Bryant should all do pretty good for themselves. Future stars for sure. It’ll be fun to see them grow as major leaguers.

  13. musketmaniac - Jun 1, 2014 at 1:58 PM

    Marte homered on his first pitch.

  14. stlouis1baseball - Jun 2, 2014 at 10:20 AM

    Wait just one minute! I did NOT see a bat flip. Bat flips are mandatory.
    Oscar Taveras, you are doing it wrong!

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