2011 Cardinals Prospect #11 – Oscar Taveras

The Appalachian League All-Star is our highest-debuting returning position player in this year's top 40. What will 2011 bring for the 18-year-old?

Scout.com Player Profile (including links to full 2010 and career stats)

2010 rank Pos. DOB Ht. Wt. Bat Thw Signed Round
NR OF 6/19/1992 6-2 180 L L 2008 FA

Selected 2010 stats

GCL 0.167 30 1 5 1 0 0 2 1 5 1 0.194 0.200 0.394
JC 0.322 211 39 68 13 3 8 43 12 41 8 0.362 0.526 0.889
Total 0.303 241 40 73 14 3 8 45 13 46 9 0.342 0.485 0.828

Staff comments (individual rankings in parentheses)

Dustin Mattison (23): I was not nearly as high on Tavares like my co-panelists. And it is not as if I am not excited by the young outfielder, it's just I want to see more. There has been many a prospect that has lit up the lower levels of the minors only to flame out when he goes against more advanced competition.

Tavares has good power though his swing does seem long. He will have to shorten his stroke if he does not want to be exposed at the higher levels. The 19-year-old has above average speed and arm strength. He shows a mature approach at the plate and the ability to drive the ball to all fields.

The Dominican will be given the opportunity to start 2011 in the Quad Cities. That has proven to be a rough assignment for many prospects. Struggles are to be expected even for the most highly touted. It is how he responds that will be the best indicator.

Message board community (8): Oscar Taveras was the star of the prospect gurus for the 2010 season. No other prospect that was in the system at the start of the season showed the promise and the progress of Taveras. He demonstrated the ability to hit for average as well as power despite being the youngest player in his league. Taveras was rewarded for his performance by being voted the #4 prospect in the Appalachian League.

Taveras' frame would suggest that he has the room to develop even more power going forward. If he can also improve his walk rate, he has the makings of being a nationally ranked prospect after next year though he most likely will start in the Midwest League where he will again be one of the youngest if not the youngest player in the league.

With no other outfield prospects ranked ahead of him, Taveras should be able to advance as fast as his abilities allow without being blocked along the way. - CariocaCardinal

Brian Walton (5): I understand he was just in short-season ball, but Taveras didn't have just a nice summer. He had a league-MVP quality kind of campaign. Further, he won't leave his teenage years behind until midway in the season – the 2012 season, that is, not 2011. Progressing at the current rate, Taveras could be on the verge of being ready for Double-A by then.

When told Taveras was named our Rookie of the Year in the system based on his first season of US play, less than two years after having been signed from the Dominican Republic, new Field Coordinator Mark DeJohn endorsed the choice.

"Oh! Well, you've got the right guy," DeJohn replied. "He is an exciting player. When you go to see Johnson City, you're kind of excited to watch him play."

Taveras' 2010 manager, Mike Shildt, is another backer.

"He's got power to all fields," Shildt observed. "As a left-handed hitter, he drives the ball the other way with authority. Actually, that is probably his strength. Most pitchers try to get you out away. That is some degree doing him a favor. He can obviously pull the ball with authority as well. The thing that I think differentiates Oscar is that he knows he can hit."

Cardinals Vice President Jeff Luhnow added his comments this past summer.

"Oscar Taveras is probably one of the highest ceiling players we have in our system right now," Luhnow said. "He was unknown but will be known very soon. You can mark my word on that."

Our 2011 top 40 countdown continues: To see our entire list of 40 Cardinals prospects, click here. You can also read each of the voters' philosophies in making their selections.

There's more! Want access to the all details behind our Cardinals prospect rankings in our "Forty Days, Forty Nights, Forty Prospects" feature here at The Cardinal Nation?

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