Good Morning Cardinal Nation. Here’s what I have for you this morning:
LAW RANKS PROSPECTS: Keith Law ranked his top 100 prospects on ESPN this morning, in which five Cardinals were named (Oscar Taveras, Shelby Miller, Carlos Martinez, Trevor Rosenthal, Kolten Wong). Taveras ranked at the number two place next to Rangers’ prospect Jurickson Profar. Here’s what Law had to say about Taveras:
If I told those of you who are Cardinals fans that Oscar Taveras would be the next Vladimir Guerrero, you’d take that, right? I disdain player comps since they so often reflect the wrong similarities — national origin, alma mater, sometimes even facial resemblances — but this one fits shockingly well aside from their handedness. Taveras, a left-handed hitter, has a furious swing with outstanding plate coverage, doesn’t walk much or strike out much and, new in 2012, has plus raw power. He shortened his swing last offseason, getting his hands a little lower and tighter and creating a more direct path to the ball, but still has the same ability to go out of the zone and square up pitches most hitters could only foul off. He has played center and right in the minors, but the corner is his more likely home. He’ll have plenty of range, although he doesn’t have Vlad’s arm (few do). Taveras could be up this year and playing every day, with the potential for .300 averages and 30-plus homer seasons at his peak.
I don’t think he will be playing every day with the Cardinals. Just yesterday, John Mozeliak said: “With Oscar, I think position players need to play everyday. I don’t think he would benefit from being a bat off the bench. He needs to get at bats, wherever it is.” Unless a major injury (perhaps even two) takes place, it is highly unlikely that Taveras will make the big league roster out of Spring Training. The organization is still focused on him getting as many at bats as possible, and it’s hard to envision a scenario in which that could happen in St. Louis.
Lastly, here are a couple photos from Jupiter this morning, per Derrick Goold: