Prospect rankings primer
Last year's Cardinals list
The Top Ten
1. Oscar Taveras
Height/Weight: 6’2” 200 lbs
Drafted/Acquired: International free agent, 2008, Dominican Republic
Previous Ranking: #1 (Org), #2 (Top 101)
2013 Stats: .306/.341/.462 at Triple-A Memphis (46 games)
The Tools: 8 potential hit; 7 potential power; 5 arm; 5 run; 5 glove
What Happened in 2013: A high-ankle injury spoiled what was to be his major-league breakout, limiting Taveras to only 46 games in Triple-A.
Strengths: Elite hit tool potential; natural feel for barreling the baseball; elite hands; elite bat speed; controlled chaos in the swing; batting title future; power will flow from the hit tool; raw power is near elite; game power likely to play above plus; arm is strong; good athlete with instincts for the game; average run; average (or better) glove; special offensive profile.
Weaknesses: Greedy at the plate; thinks he can hit every pitch thrown (usually can); can lose counts because of aggressive approach; reads/routes need work in center; good athlete but lacks plus run; baserunning needs refinement.
Overall Future Potential: 7; perennial all-star
Realistic Role: High 6; first division/all-star
Risk Factor/Injury History: Low risk; ready for majors; ankle injury on resume (2013)
Bret Sayre’s Fantasy Take: There’s a group of four elite fantasy prospects right now, and Taveras is squarely in the middle of it. There’s no one who can touch his batting average projection, which could be league-leading, but he’s certainly no slouch in power either (think 25-30 homers, realistically)—and he can even sprinkle in a couple of steals. This is a potential future first-rounder here, and a player to build around for the future.
The Year Ahead: Taveras lost some of his high-gloss prospect shine in 2013, but only because he was limited by a nagging ankle injury that prevented him from climbing to the major-league level, becoming a media darling in the postseason, and admitting to a national audience that his long-term goal is to become my best friend. The bat is very special, with electric hands, ferocious bat speed, and contact so easy and natural that it’s conceivable that Taveras shares a genetic relationship with the bat in his hand. He’s ready to hit at the major-league level, and the medicals suggest the ankle will be ready to go for 2014, so whenever he gets to promotion, be prepared to watch a future batting champion and perennial all-star.
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