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Cardinals recall top prospect Oscar Taveras from Triple-A

Jun 30, 2014, 1:18 PM EST

Oscar Taveras Getty Getty Images

Stud prospect Oscar Taveras was demoted back to the minors on June 13 after struggling in his 11-game debut with the Cardinals, but the team just announced that he’s been recalled from Triple-A.

Taveras homered in his first big-league game, but went on to hit just .189 with a 7/2 K/BB ratio and .522 OPS overall. He wasn’t great at Triple-A following the demotion, hitting .292 with one homer and a .775 OPS in 13 games, but Taveras has been a monster in the minors overall this season and at age 22 he’s one of the truly elite prospects in baseball.

When the Cardinals sent Taveras down earlier this month they did so because they didn’t want him wasting away on the bench for a team that had plenty of outfield depth to go around, but now manager Mike Matheny seems willing to cut into Allen Craig‘s playing time in right field. Craig has hit just .255 with six homers and a .673 OPS in 81 games after posting an .850 OPS from 2010-2013, and limiting him mostly to starts versus left-handed pitchers while using the left-handed-hitting Taveras versus right-handers would make some sense.

  1. ereed1286 - Jun 30, 2014 at 1:23 PM

    In Oscar We Trust.

    We need runs, buddy. Do your thing.

  2. stex52 - Jun 30, 2014 at 1:25 PM

    Somebody has to hit for them. Adams is doing well (as long as the pitcher is right-handed). Otherwise it’s been a less-than-desirable year for the Cards.

  3. SocraticGadfly - Jun 30, 2014 at 1:38 PM

    Infielders have all been above average, overall, until Wong went down. It’s been the OF that’s been teh suck. Let’s hope Taveras does better than his first time up.

    • stex52 - Jun 30, 2014 at 1:53 PM

      Hey, I like the Cards. But Carpenter has taken a big step down from last year. Molina is having a good year. He is not having last year. Check the OPS on both guys. Admittedly Peralta has been a step up as SS. But they sorely miss power.

      • SocraticGadfly - Jun 30, 2014 at 2:52 PM

        Short and sweet, Carp’s OPS+ is 113 and he has 4 defensive runs saves. There’s just not a lot of 3B depth in the NL. Headley? That’s a gamble, indeed, that this is just a “funk year,” and nothing more. Wright? I don’t want to pay him $20M a year through 2018, when he’s likely on the down side. Zimmerman’s not for sale. Aramis Ramirez is definitely not being traded. And, I’ve just listed the top 3B in the NL not named Matt Carpenter.

      • stex52 - Jun 30, 2014 at 3:29 PM

        I agree. Carpenter is down on power. But third base is thin. You are not doing much better at 3rd. Second base, maybe.

      • cincinata - Jun 30, 2014 at 7:27 PM

        Hey Socratic:

        I will take Frazer over either of the guys mentioned. Check out his stats. He has suffered a little in B-A, but not in RBI-HR etc.. And, he is a lot younger than Ramirez. And, he is an outstanding defensive guy. Check out those stats.

      • stex52 - Jul 1, 2014 at 9:24 AM

        I would take Frazier, but the Reds would be lunatics to send him to the Cards. I ruled that one out immediately.

  4. okwhitefalcon - Jun 30, 2014 at 1:43 PM

    I’m excited to see Taveras back but even if he replicates what he did in the minors (big if) – that’s still not enough.

    I suspect a move outside the organization for at 2B or 3B to augment the offense will be explored heavily, hopefully something will present itself and they get something going..

    • SocraticGadfly - Jun 30, 2014 at 1:52 PM

      If, as Dave Cameron suggests (and I disagree), the Cards should look at Zobriest, presumably with Price in a package, what would you pay for the package?

      If you’re looking at 3B instead, who?

      • kycardsfan - Jun 30, 2014 at 2:02 PM

        Beltre is probably the best option but also the most expensive. Chase Headley would be interesting, his numbers havent been great this year and 2012 may have been a fluke, but Im sure he would welcome getting out of Petco.

      • stex52 - Jun 30, 2014 at 2:02 PM

        Zobrist is suffering from a downswing similar to that of Carpenter. Is he the type of guy you like on your team? Yeah. But he brings virtually no power. And they don’t need his flexibility as much because they have guys who play multiple positions.

        I don’t know what TB would want for Price/Zobrist. The Cards have comparable players in skills, but the Rays want young prospects with years of control. That’s a tough one for me.

      • okwhitefalcon - Jun 30, 2014 at 2:03 PM

        I have no idea what the Rays would want for both but making a run at Zobrist alone may be more realistic, the deck needs shuffled regardless.

        Here’s Mo from this morning (pre Taveras call up) on AM 920, covers an abundance of ground and doesn’t pull punches.

        Listen here:

        http://www.insidestl.com/insideSTLcom/RadioShows/ThePressBox/tabid/307/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/13575/The-Press-Box-63014.aspx

      • stex52 - Jun 30, 2014 at 2:04 PM

        Beltre came to mind for me. Actually, this year there are more guys putting up good numbers at second than at third.

      • SocraticGadfly - Jun 30, 2014 at 2:16 PM

        @Ky: Beltre would definitely add power, too. But, yes, pricey and not likely. Especially given that Panda was struggling like hell earlier in the year, I’m surprised the Giants didn’t make a move for him.

        @Stex, I’ve argued that, in years prior to this one, Tampa IFs in general have been overrated from the amount of shifting the team has done. (Remember, most sabermetric defensive stats are comparative vs. league average.) Now that a number of other teams are shifting semi-regularly, and some even more than the Rays, we’re getting more “true” numbers. Longoria’s a “minus” fielder this year. Zobrist is little more than league average.

        ===

        Baseball Prospectus also mentioned the Mets’ Daniel Murphy as a trade candidate at 2B. Solid bat, but definitely not a good fielder.

      • SocraticGadfly - Jun 30, 2014 at 6:52 PM

        @Falcon: Nice radio piece overall, except for the start, with the one talking head claiming Price is “struggling.”

        Otherwise, I generally agree with Mo’s own analysis of the moves in the offseason and what the team needs.

    • jerze2387 - Jun 30, 2014 at 2:22 PM

      Hows about just move carpenter back to 2B, and put craig at 3B. Craig is versatile enough to handle it i think.

      • SocraticGadfly - Jun 30, 2014 at 2:55 PM

        I think not. The man’s played all of 4 games at 3B in his MLB career.

  5. westcoastredbird - Jun 30, 2014 at 2:14 PM

    I had the misfortune of attending the Dodgers/Cards games this past Saturday and Sunday. It was ugly. Why Matheny sat Peralta on Saturday is a mystery with an open date on Monday. Descalso sucked in his place. Granted it was Greinke. Hopefully Taveras has made adjustments on how teams were pitching him. Falcon you’re right it is not enough. Bryce Harper has said on numerous occasions he loves playing at Busch stadium. It would be great if the Cards could work out a deal with the Nats. Keeping Taveras and Martinez in house and dealing 2 or 3 prospects and some of that garbage on the current roster. Make a trade with the Twins for 8 inning pitcher, Casey Fien and put Motte/Neshek in the co-closer role. Stretch Rosenthal out and put him in the rotation. Wacha is a question mark for the rest of the season and beyond. This way the Cardinals won’t need to make a bonehead trade for David Price.

    • stex52 - Jun 30, 2014 at 2:54 PM

      The problem with trading garbage: 95% of the time you get garbage back. You can’t do a Matt Holliday with most GM’s. They are too smart.

    • SocraticGadfly - Jun 30, 2014 at 2:57 PM

      Too soon for such a move, though intriguing. If Wacha turns out to be OK, you then have a six-man rotation: Waino, Wacha, Miller, Lynn, Martinez, Rosenthal.

      Right now, Wacha’s questionmark-itis is itself a question mark.

  6. illadelphiasphinest - Jun 30, 2014 at 2:44 PM

    Cliff Lee n cash for Tavaras.
    Both teams fill a need.

    • SocraticGadfly - Jun 30, 2014 at 3:04 PM

      Damn, who let Ruben Amaro in here?

      • rmalmstrom - Jun 30, 2014 at 4:10 PM

        Amaro would demand Fernando Tatis and Roger Cedeno.

  7. perryt200 - Jun 30, 2014 at 3:06 PM

    With the offense of Mark Ellis, Shane Robinson and Peter Bourjos; I am missing Pete Kozma.

  8. cardsman - Jun 30, 2014 at 9:25 PM

    this is not a good team. it is becoming painfully obvious that matheny and mo are lost. larussa’s magic has worn off. kinda reminds me of martze, after a couple years removed from dick vermeil.

    • simalex - Jul 1, 2014 at 2:29 AM

      “this is not a good team.”

      it’s july. you have 44 wins. you’re only 6.5 out. the dodgers gained 9 in 20 days. let’s see in august and september.
      this is a good team underachieving, not a bad team.

      • cincinata - Jul 1, 2014 at 2:28 PM

        Keep dreaming. Look to get swept at San Fran, starting tonight with Mr. Tim leading the way.

  9. cvitale29 - Jul 1, 2014 at 1:44 AM

    Look, Mo and company are not the issue. When you field a team of Holliday, Molina , Craig, M Carp and Peralta, offense typically wouldn’t be a concern if you look into their history. Molina himself said on paper, this is the best team he’s been on, and I trust his judgment over fan perspective. Craig simply looks lost at the plate covering the entire season thus far. Out of the ordinary. Holliday consistently slashes .290 / 25 / 100, but for some reason hasn’t evolved into form yet. Peralta has hit everything hard, but more often than not, right at the defense, so his BABIP should spike. Yadi has been Yadi, albeit a little more streaky than we are accustomed to. And Carp has been just fine for us, but not quite the catalyst we saw last year. To expect everyone to perform at elite levels year in and year out is lunacy. We have some tools to fix these issues, which is exactly what Mo is doing by calling up OT again. Craig needs a breather, so why not split him and Adams? This isn’t a team that will bash like the beer league Oakland A’s, but they’re talented and they’ve been here before.

  10. cvitale29 - Jul 1, 2014 at 1:50 AM

    Oh, and Wong is a stud at 2b…give him more than half a year before writing him off. Remember, he won the rookie of the month award in May…while only playing half the month! He is the future Cards’ leadoff hitter. Trading for a 2b or 3b makes no sense unless one of him or Carp are out the door.

    • stex52 - Jul 1, 2014 at 9:33 AM

      Conceivable. After his performance last year you could probably sell Carpenter high.

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