Cardinals AFL Interview Series: Oscar Taveras

Named the number 11 prospect in the Arizona Fall League by, St. Louis Cardinals outfield prospect Oscar Taveras speaks from Arizona in this exclusive interview.

By now, most everyone in top prospect circles knows the name Oscar Taveras. If they didn't after his .383 batting average was converted into the 2011 Midwest League batting title, they do after watching flashes of his brilliant talent show in the Arizona Fall League.

On Thursday, the St. Louis Cardinals prospect was named by as the number 11 player in the entire AFL this year. The 19-year-old was the second-youngest player in the league after Washington's Bryce Harper. At times his youth was evident. In one AFL contest, I saw Taveras make a perfect throw home on the fly from deep left, only for him to miss a cutoff man and throw a ball away later in the same game. In his final at-bat, he blasted a two-strike count offering well over 400 feet from home plate.

To continue his growth and perhaps help assess if he can follow teammate Matt Adams and leap over Palm Beach next spring, Taveras received permission (as a Dominican Republic native) to play in the Arizona Fall League for the Peoria Javelinas.

Though his job was on the other side of the house, Javelinas pitching coach Ace Adams was suitably impressed with Taveras – not to mention being fearful of him in a self-preservation kind of way.

"When I throw to this kid in batting practice, he is the only one other than Matt Adams, that when I let the ball go, I am scared stiff it is coming right back at me through the middle," the coach said. "The ball just jumps off his bat." Like all Cardinals coaches with whom I have spoken about the subject, Adams believes Taveras has a very high ceiling.

"He's got a lot to learn," Adams noted. "He is young, but he is getting a lot better in the outfield and running the bases. He is a player to keep an eye on because that bat is special."

In this exclusive audio interview, Taveras talks of the importance of taking the Midwest League championship versus winning the batting title, his rehab process from hamstring problems, learning about hitting different pitches in different counts and the pressures of returning to the Dominican to play winter ball after the AFL season ends.


For daily stats on Taveras and all the Cardinals participating in the Arizona Fall League as well as players competing all over the world, be sure to check out our Cardinals Winter League Notebooks, exclusively here at The Cardinal Nation.

Other interviews in this series:
Tyler Lyons
Matt Adams
Ryan Jackson
Justin Wright
Keith Butler
David Kopp
Coming: Pitching coach Ace Adams.

Brian Walton can be reached via email at Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Look for his weekly minor league column during the season at Follow Brian on Twitter.

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