Now having completed his third season in the St. Louis Cardinals’ system, shortstop Oscar Mercado continues to work on improving his game. The organization selected the now-20-year-old in the second round of the 2013 Draft.
After his Gulf Coast League introduction, the Florida resident spent his 2014 at short-season Johnson City. There, he had a so-so season with the bat, but came on in the post-season as his club won the Appalachian League title.
Mercado’s stolen base total for last season was 26, third-most in the entire Cardinals system. He improved his position to first among all Cardinals players in 2015 with his 50 steals in 69 attempts, all at full-season Peoria.
The mid-season Midwest League All-Star has an aggressive approach at the plate as well as on the bases. The right-handed hitter cut his strikeouts to just 12 percent this season, but walked a career-low 4.5 percent. That added just 43 points to his so-so .254 average. A sub-.300 on-base percentage won’t keep any player near the top of a batting order for long.
I caught up with Mercado at Cardinals instructional league camp last month. He was among the rehabbers, taking it slowly after tweaking his back late in Peoria’s playoff run. Mercado was also fighting a cold when he kindly agreed to do talk.
In the following interview, Mercado discusses his progress made during 2015, his areas of focus ahead, the Midwest League playoff campaign, his infield partnership with second baseman Darren Seferina (our next interview) and his plans for 2016.
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