Could Oscar Taveras Be Called Up This Year?
With the Rangers unpredictable promotion of top prospect Mike Olt straight from AA, other teams may be thinking the same thing-including the Cardinals. The Cardinals’ top-hitting prospect Oscar Taveras is at it again, tearing up AA pitching. He has a ton of talent no doubt. The question is: When will he make his way to the big leagues?
Could it be this year?
At AA Springfield, Taveras is having a great year. He’s hitting .321, with 19 home runs, and a whopping 77 RBIs. He’s also played in the Futures Game in Kansas City. He made an even bigger impression there on scouts with his ferocious swing and towering batting practice home runs.
The Cardinals have one of the best offenses in the league right now which is why I see a 2012 call up for Taveras unlikely. Two things could change that; injuries and Jon Jay beginning to struggle a lot. As of now Jay is hitting well and the offense is relatively healthy.
I don’t think the team wants to call him up to be a bench player. With top prospects such as Taveras, when they’re called up, it’s to be a starter. If someone like a Carlos Beltran would suffer an injury (knock on wood) then a call-up is possible. But even then there wouldn’t be a starting spot for him because of Lance Berkman who would play first and Allen Craig would slide to right-field. But Berkman is nowhere near capable of playing everyday so adding some extra insurance with Taveras wouldn’t be a bad idea.
Not only are the scenarios against a Taveras’ promotion, but it also seems like the club doesn’t want to call him up just yet. Farm director John Vuch has been quoted saying that ideally, they’d like him to finish the season in Springfield. If that does happen, he will likely start 2013 with AAA Memphis and then a mid-season call up is all the more possible. If that also doesn’t happen then it’s almost certain that he would be the 2014 Opening Day right-fielder.
Despite being a great player, Taveras is by no means perfect. The club would like him to improve his defensive game as well as continuing to improve with the bat. In AA, he mainly plays centerfield, but many scouts project him as more of a corner-outfielder.
Between Allen Craig, Taveras, Matt Adams, and Jon Jay someone will eventually have to go. It won’t be Taveras. Craig looks like he’s the first-basemen of the future and Jon Jay has proved himself more than capable of handling centerfield on an everyday basis. And then there was Matt Adams. His call-up earlier in the year just adds to his already high value, but perhaps he’s a bit more valuable as trade-bait.
If he ends up in St. Louis by the end of the year it’s probably not a good thing. A 2012 call-up would likely mean that a there was an injury or a big-time offensive slump. Look, Oscar Taveras is a stud and will likely have a good MLB career, but now is just not the time for it to start.
This may or may not be my last post for a while. I’m leaving Saturday morning for a Florida vacation and won’t return until next Sunday. If some news comes out or something crosses my mind I’d like to write about then I’ll see you soon. If not, see you next Sunday.