I selfishly grieve the loss of baseball yet to come that now never shall come to be. I fully expected to enjoy watching Oscar Taveras play baseball for the Cardinals for many years. I mourn Oscar Taveras the baseball player, because I knew not the man. Deeply meaningful mourning requires a direct emotional connection to Oscar Taveras the person and rightfully should be reserved for close family and friends. Mine is a more detached sense of loss that comes from sharing the human condition with others. Inevitably, we all come to know loss, thus we share an ability to empathize in such times.
Those are the numbers that comprised Oscar Taveras‘ triple slash line at the end of the 2014 season, his rookie campaign. The organization’s top prospect, indeed one of baseball’s very brightest stars, struggled in his first season in the big leagues, and even a hot finish and impressive postseason cameo couldn’t undo that initial misstep. If you believed in Oscar Taveras, though, really believed, you couldn’t wait until the 2015 season started so the phenom could redeem himself and put that triple slash line in its proper place. With the 22-year-old’s passing announced on Sunday evening, no one will ever get the chance to know if the believers were right.
The Ballpark Village People have taken up their sporks and started demanding more playing time for Oscar Taveras. The good news is that Taveras has performed well enough in the past few weeks to fuel this debate. The bad news is that he still sits somewhere below Yadier Molina and Fredbird on Matheny’s OF depth chart.
For weeks now, I knew I was going to be in St. Louis to see the Cardinals take on the Giants in late May. What I had no way of knowing was that I would also see the debut of uber-prospect Oscar Taveras, a hard-swinging outfielder long compared to the great Vladimir Guerrero. Sometimes life hands you a gift, and like so many in my existence, this gift was explicitly baseball related. Continue reading
Through his the first 23 games at Memphis this season, Oscar Taveras is hitting .326/.383/.558/.941. Meanwhile, the CF position for the Cardinals has produced a line of .214/.289/.320/.610. Though Taveras has long projected to be a corner outfielder, he can play a passable center field and has done so for the bulk of his minor league career.
The 2013 MLB amateur draft has really come out of nowhere (or at least it seems that way to us), but that doesn’t mean we’re not excited. Tomorrow morning we will preview the draft from the Cardinals’ point of view and take a look at what picks the organization has, what players might wind up donning the birds on the bat, and whatever else we feel like discussing. For today, however, it seems appropriate to take a look at the state of the farm system as it currently stands.
The Cardinal farm system has never been as stacked as it is right now; multiple authorities were willing to anoint the St. Louis system as the best in the game before the start of the 2013 season, and the mileage the big league club has gotten out of these guys this spring has done little to convince us those experts weren’t correct. Top prospects like Michael Wacha and Carlos Martinez have already made their MLB debuts, while Shelby Miller and Trevor Rosenthal have already become integral parts of a team that sports the best record in the game. It’s a very good time to be a Cardinal fan, so forgive us if this examination of the minor league system’s depth feels a whole lot like a gloating victory lap. Continue reading
So Carlos Beltran wants to come back to St. Louis next year, eh?
That’s the impression he left in an article by Jennifer Langosch posted to the Cardinals website. In the article, he said he loves St. Louis and “his family has embraced the city.” That’s not a foreign concept to Cardinals fans, who have heard similar statements over the years from players like Larry Walker, Mark McGwire and yes, even Albert Pujols. Cardinals nation is extremely loyal and supportive, so why wouldn’t a player want to play in the Busch Stadium environment? Continue reading
Now a full-fledged, power-wielding member of the United Cardinal Bloggers faction, it’s time for StanGraphs to participate in its very first feature for the group. As the UCB crew does each September, we’ll be running down the top seven prospects in the Cardinal system according to our own fail-proof ranking system. I suppose it’s a good idea to describe our ranking system to you in a more in-depth manner, though doing so might only serve to make you immediately leave this page and head to Neosho, Missouri in search of those nachos Spencer likes to talk about making.
I just realized that when I say “ranking system,” what I really mean is that Spencer and I had a lengthy discussion about the order in which we should place the best prospects in the St. Louis system at this point in time. We’re going largely off numbers, expert opinions, recent trends, personal preference, and how we decided to weigh a player’s ceiling versus his floor. Swagger may have also been a factor; I’m not sure. You’ll find the results of this conversation below, along with some additional discussion as to how we arrived at the conclusions we did.
Thanks to the wonderful and talented Danny Byrd, I was able to catch some Springfield Cardinals action at Hammons Field on Monday night. A big thanks to Danny for the tickets and for enabling another edition of Drunk Scouting in the process. The Springfield squad took on Houston’s Double-A affiliate, the Corpus Christi Hooks. I’ve long wondered exactly what the Hooks are named after. Could it be a slang term for curveball? What about something you hang your coat on upon entering a room? Better yet, perhaps the insinuation is that the team is full of one-handed pirate players who are able to throw a baseball only by stabbing it angrily with their, you guessed it, hooks.
Team nomenclature aside, this was a very entertaining game even if there wasn’t a whole lot of run-scoring action. The only real disappointment was that Oscar Taveras failed again to lash a deadly home run in a game I was at, though he did lace a rapid single to right field which resulted in a runner being thrown out at home plate. Should Taveras’ base hit have scored the run, the game would have never gone 13 innings and Springfield would have won. Unfortunately the baserunner (don’t hold me accountable when it comes to knowing the man on second base’s name) did not realize that Taveras hit the ball so hard it actually traveled back in time, so he didn’t even bother to slide. Continue reading
It’s safe to say we have no reason to talk about Zack Cox anymore when we do our fortnightly minor league updates. Now in Miami, which I know is infested with murderers from watching “Dexter,” Cox has his work cut out for him. No other Cardinals farm hands were forced to join other organizations, so I’ll mostly be checking in to see how our usual heroes of the future are faring with the vast majority of the minor league season now completed. Continue reading