If the St. Louis Cardinals didn’t have so much talent in their outfield, the name Oscar Taveras would be buzzing around MLB. Unfortunately, the Cards simply do not have room for one of the best outfield prospects in baseball.
Taveras, 20, has been unreal this spring as he has nailed two home runs and is hitting at a .296 clip. Talks have circulated that Taveras could break in with the major league club, however I do not see how they could make room at this time. St. Louis has a decision to make with Carlos Beltran after the 2013 season as he is a free agent. Beltran, 37, is on his way out in my mind as Taveras is simply too productive to let the aging Beltran stick around.
In addition, the Cardinals have John Jay in center field who will likely move to right field when Taveras gets the call to professional ball. Jay is extremely versatile, but he does not have the upside that the 20-year-old star prospect Taveras does–Jay remains the youngest starting outfielder at 28-years-old.
The consensus around the Cardinals camp is that Taveras is the best prospect to go through their system since Yadier Molina was in the minors nearly a decade ago. St. Louis is going to be competitive again in 2013 and the Taveras-watch is going to be full-throttle as the Summer months wear on. Although he has struggled at time, the 10 RBI that he has in spring training is just a snippet of how well he is going to perform in the minor leagues.
Year after year, the Redbirds have shown the ability to replenish as they were one win away from a World Series a year after Albert Pujols left for the Los Angeles Angels. Taveras is the “next big-thing”, but the question will linger about when he wil get his shot.