The wait for Cardinals prospect Oscar Taveras may soon be over.
Taveras hit his 4th home run of the season Sunday for the AAA Memphis Redbirds and is now slashing .313/.360/.513 in 21 games. Now, this looks like a great line, but this is the Pacific Coast League we’re talking about here, a league renowned for inflated numbers. Case in point: fellow Redbird teammate Joey Butler leads the PCL with a .403 average.
Butler is a 28 year-old minor leaguer, and despite his eye-popping season thus far, he’s nothing more than a source of depth in a crowded Cardinals outfield if they ever need it.
It’s promising to see Taveras swinging the bat well after missing most of last season due to injury. His Spring this year consisted of minimal play, injury, and virtually no chance of making the Opening Day roster. In Mike Marteny’s post about prospects worthy of a roster spot, Mike’s expected ETA of a call up is before the All-Star break.
In deep leagues Taveras is most likely long gone, but if you’ve got a bench spot to spare or a player who’s droppable, it’s time to strike… but with tempered expectations.
A top MLB prospect, Taveras has modest power (24 homers in 124 games in 2012) and hits for average, but doesn’t steal many bases (10 in 2012, none in 21 games this year). Hitting for average doesn’t always translate to the bigs – Kolten Wong was just sent back down to AAA after hitting just .225 this season. Wong had a great Spring and won the 2B job, but he has since disappointed.
Taveras is a classic high risk, high reward candidate due to his injury tendencies, but he could provide reasonable percentages and 10-15 homers the rest of the way.
He’s played all three outfield spots the past couple weeks, CF in particular, which could mean the Cardinals are seeing if he’s ready to make the transition.