Five years ago, it was Colby Rasmus who Cardinals fans could not wait to see—now, it is Oscar Taveras.
Rated as the 12th best prospect by MLB.com, Taveras has been a hitting machine since joining the Redbirds' organization at the age of 17. Taveras hit .321 with 23 home runs and 94 RBIs this season with the Springfield Cardinals, as he jumped Shelby Miller as the organization's No. 1 prospect.
The talented, young outfielder can get on base with ease, and drastically improved his power and plate discipline in 2012.
"He's phenomenal," Cardinals GM John Mozeliak said (according to an article on stlcardinals.com). "He's an amazing player."
With one more year on Carlos Beltran's contract, the Cardinals starting outfield is solidified heading into next season, as Matt Holliday and Jon Jay will be mainstays in the lineup. However, expect Taveras to get an opportunity with the big league club in 2013, with Allen Craig making the permanent transition to first base.
Mozeliak will likely want Taveras to get high volume at-bats in AAA to begin the year, but don't discount the possibility of the 20 year-old making his Major League debut next summer—as he prepares to take over Beltran's spot in 2014.