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Oscar Taveras -- OF – St. Louis Cardinals
Height: 6'2" Weight: 185 lbs. -- Hits: Left Throws: Left
2013 Stats (AAA) – .306/.341/.462, 5 HR, 32 RBI, 25 Runs, 5 Steals
Oscar Taveras is the best prospect in all of Baseball. At the plate he is an aggressive hitter with good pitch recognition. He has drawn more walks and struck out less in each season of professional ball. Taveras has the quickest hands in the minor leagues and can turn on the quickest of fastballs in a snap. The great thing about Taveras is that he doesn’t just catch up to good pitches; he centers them and sends them a long way. It’s a natural ability to center the barrel on the ball so consistently that makes scouts drool. While I could go on forever about Taveras’ hitting ability, he is also very impressive on defense. The Cardinals have really worked with Taveras on his defense and he’s made tremendous strides over the years. Though he is capable in centerfield his future is likely in right where his arm can be an asset. He was a slightly above average runner before the ankle injury last season. It is unclear if he will have the same burst post surgery that he did previous though it really won’t matter. The Cardinals will work with Taveras to add some upper and lower body strength which should translate to massive power once he fills out. This will impact his speed and defensive range but completely worth the trade off. Oscar Taveras will be a perennial All-Star in the big leagues very soon.
It had been a forgone conclusion that when Carlos Beltran left this off-season Oscar Taveras would take over in centerfield. Then the Cardinals added Peter Bourjos which logically moved Taveras to rightfield. Now the Cards are saying that they will move Allen Craig to the outfield permanently and install Matt Adams as their everyday first baseman. So, at this point Taveras is the odd man out and destined for triple-A Memphis. While this will undoubtedly drop Taveras value he is still a player that deserves to be taken in most drafts this spring. Bourjos has never been able to stay healthy throughout his career and Craig is coming off a Lisfranc injury himself last year. As good as Matt Adams was last year he did strike out over 25% of the time and does not have a long leash. There will be plenty of opportunities for Taveras in 2014 providing he shows that he is completely healthy after surgery on his ankle this off-season. The Cardinals had Taveras fly into St. Louis once or twice a month this off-season in order to watch him at the Central Institute for Human Performance where they send most of their rehabbing players. This special attention proves that Taveras is not just another big league prospect but a very important part of the Cardinals future. Monitor him closely in spring training and if he is proving himself healthy, he is definitely worth a late round stash in every Fantasy league this year.
Albert Pujols – He doesn’t profile as high a ceiling but the similarities are abundant.
Colby Rasmus – Similar build and skill set as the former Cardinal top prospect.
Drafted in the 24th round (302nd overall) in the FSTA Experts League Draft