St. Louis Cardinals' 3 Prospects off to Hottest Starts This Year
Majority opinion believes April showers bring May flowers.
As the 2014 regular season enters its second month, we’re starting to see some of the St. Louis Cardinals’ top prospects sprout into full bloom.
The belief that the cream of the crop resides under the Arch is true in terms of green seedlings.
Just a month old, this season has already provided us evidence of rapid growth. These young stars have sprouted, sunken their roots firmly in the ground and have matured.
Still deemed one of the top young talents in the game and the No. 1 prospect in the Cardinals’ organization, Oscar Taveras is recovering nicely after battling adversity for the past year.
Taveras suffered an ankle injury early last season, which eventually led to surgery and ended his season after just 47 games.
Fully recovered from the injury, the 21-year-old Taveras was expected to make the Cardinals Opening Day roster; but he fell short.
Rather than having limited at-bats with the parent club, the Cardinals thought it best for Taveras to be in the everyday lineup for Triple-A Memphis to begin the season.
The plan has worked thus far.
Taveras is ripping the cover off the ball, hitting .322 with 15 runs scored, five home runs and 17 RBI through 24 games.
His early-season success has Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch lobbying for his promotion. Miklasz wrote this on Thursday.
I’m thinking the Cardinals’ organization is just toying with Oscar Taveras now. GM John Mozeliak and all of his men must be trying to get their finest hitting prospect since Albert Pujols so ticked off and fired up, that by the time he’s belatedly promoted to St. Louis he’ll be so wired to do damage to pitchers that no one will be able to stop him.
The question isn’t if Taveras will be called up, it’s when. And when that happens, watch out.
Another future big league star is infielder Greg Garcia, whose early-season success at Triple-A Memphis earned him a promotion.
After Garcia hit .267 with 14 runs scored, five homers and 14 RBI, Mozeliak made a bold move by promoting the 24-year-old.
By all means, Garcia earned it.
The rookie infielder received his first major league at-bat Monday and drew a walk. He notched his first-career hit Wednesday, a leadoff double in the fifth inning in the Cardinals’ 9-3 win over the Brewers.
“When I got to second base, I kind of gave myself a second to think about my family and God and just how blessed I am to be in the big leagues,” Garcia told Rick Hummel of the Post-Dispatch.
“It’s a special moment.”
Look for more special moments from Garcia, who is making a case for himself early in his career.
Few would’ve thought Randal Grichuk to be the best player to come out of the David Freese trade last offseason.
The Cardinals dealt Freese and right-handed reliever Fernando Salas to the Los Angeles Angels in exchange for speedy center fielder Peter Bourjos and Grichuk, whom Mozeliak has always liked.
So, why did the Cardinals promote Grichuk over Taveras, Stephen Piscotty or Joey Butler?
A couple of reasons.
Grichuk, who hit .310 with three home runs and 17 RBI in Memphis before being called up, is versatile. He’s comfortable playing all three outfield positions and gives manager Mike Matheny more options with how he wants to position his outfield.
More importantly, Grichuk destroyed left-handed pitching in the minors, hitting .400 with five doubles, two home runs, six RBI and 10 runs scored. The Cardinals struggle against LHP, and Grichuk could provide relief in that department.