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Oscar Taveras is hitting and Mike Matheny is happy

Aug 25, 2014, 12:16 PM EST

taveras getty tall Getty Images

Oscar Taveras is playing and playing well lately, easing Cardinals fans’ concerns about manager Mike Matheny frequently benching the 22-year-old rookie for lesser talents, and now Matheny is full of praise for the work Taveras has put in to get better.

Matheny told Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post Dispatch that Taveras has made “huge adjustments” since a slow start to his MLB career, adding:

He’s really worked hard in the cage with [hitting coaches John Mabry and David Bell] on his approach and shortening his swing a bit. Even his outs were pretty loud. He’s definitely taking steps in the right direction.

It’s too small of a sample size to get truly excited yet, but Taveras is in a 9-for-22 stretch right now and has hit a combined .280 with just 13 strikeouts in his last 100 plate appearances. And perhaps most importantly Matheny is playing him and saying positive things about him, which is a big change from just a couple weeks ago.

Taveras was a consensus top-10 prospect coming into each of the past two seasons and the Cardinals’ front office cleared the way for him to take over as an everyday player–and future middle-of-the-lineup force–by trading Allen Craig to the Red Sox.

  1. SocraticGadfly - Aug 25, 2014 at 12:42 PM

    He has been hitting better. And, if Mike is happy enough to almost act like Taveras is now one of “his guys,” that can’t hurt the stress levels, either.

    • SocraticGadfly - Aug 25, 2014 at 1:16 PM

      From Hummel’s piece, here’s the nut grafs, including the stress issue:

      Through a translator, Taveras said, “I’ve been working hard with the coaches, coming early and working on all this stuff. I’m coming to the ball quicker with my swing and I’m swinging at good pitches.

      “That’s part of the positive results I’m getting now.”

      The 22-year-old Taveras, playing every day after Allen Craig was traded in late July, said he was more comfortable now.

  2. stlouis1baseball - Aug 25, 2014 at 1:08 PM

    At this point…I will take any positive sample size Oscar can provide.
    The way the kid has struggled thus far…it’s wonderful news.

  3. kyleshabram - Aug 25, 2014 at 1:12 PM

    Matheny has handled the whole Tavares situation sooo oddly. Glad to see him publicly praise Oscar

  4. beepbeepbeeplgb - Aug 25, 2014 at 1:39 PM

    he’s looked much more comfortable lately. he’s been laying off a lot of the pitches he had been swinging at.

  5. Reflex - Aug 25, 2014 at 7:42 PM

    This is by far the largest piece needed for the Cards to make a run. Yes it will be nice to get Molina back, but Taveras has far more offensive upside and that is where the Cards have been struggling.

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