TCN 2012 Cardinals Minors Player of the Year

Springfield outfielder Oscar Taveras is The Cardinal Nation/'s top position player in the St. Louis Cardinals minor league system.

In selecting the top performance by a position player across the St. Louis Cardinals minor league system for the 2012 season, it only makes sense to begin with the next-most granular group. That is the Players of the Month, both named by The Cardinal Nation and by the Cardinals organization itself, from April through August.

Player of Month  
2012 The Cardinal Nation Cards organization
April  Oscar Taveras Oscar Taveras
May Colin Walsh Colin Walsh
June Xavier Scruggs Oscar Taveras
July Mike O'Neill Mike O'Neill
Aug Mike O'Neill Mike O'Neill

Perhaps some think that this process would be unnecessary. After all, 20-year-old outfielder Oscar Taveras has clearly established himself as the top position player prospect in the system, if not the new number one prospect overall.

Yet as the table above indicates, Mike O'Neill also won two monthly awards, both consensus selections, finishing with a strong kick. As the 2012 season ended, O'Neill had been promoted from A-Advanced Palm Beach, playing left field alongside Taveras in center for the Springfield club that became Texas League champions.

Quad Cities' Colin Walsh also had a superb first half before hitting some injuries and a slower post-break. 2012 was his third season at Class-A.

Though one might wonder if O'Neill had been left in Palm Beach too long, his contributions should be judged on their merit. So, let's look at the ranking of the O'Neill and Taveras in several offensive categories, not just at Springfield, but across the entire Cardinals system.

O'Neill  Taveras
BA 0.359 0.321
System rank #1 #2
Hits 150 153
System rank #2 #1
Runs 64 83
System rank #2
HR 0 23
System rank #1
RBI 40 94
System rank #1
OBP 0.458 0.380
System rank #1
SLG 0.440 0.572
System rank #1

O'Neill has considerable ability to get on base via the hit and walk, though Taveras scored almost 20 more runs – likely due to his long ball ability. Oscar can hit for average, too, as they finished in the top two spots system-wide in that category.

In fact, both were batting champions in the leagues where they spent the majority of their respective seasons – the Florida State League for O'Neill and the Texas League for Taveras.

Both players were mid-season and post-season all-stars in their leagues, with Taveras adding both Texas League All-Star Game and overall league Most Valuable Player awards to his impressive resume.

Going back to their comparative stats, Taveras laps O'Neill is in power and run production. Oscar led the entire Cardinals system in home runs, slugging and RBI – a trifecta that clearly places him as The Cardinal Nation/ Cardinals Minor League Player of the Year for 2012.

The next question - to be disclosed in the coming weeks - is whether Taveras has raised his prospect ranking standing from last winter's no. 3 to the top overall spot in the Cardinals system. Stay tuned!

Note: This page has links to all articles about previous award winners across the system club by club, schedule for upcoming announcements as well as 2012 team recaps.

Premium Article In addition, The Cardinal Nation subscribers can read much more about Taveras' 2012 accomplishments in the Springfield Cardinals Player of the Year article, written by TCN Springfield beat writer Brandon Mahler.

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Brian Walton can be reached via email at Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.

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