Although my esteemed colleague Ian Casselberry already touched on this earlier today, I couldn't resist the urge to write about it myself.
The tail end of spring training is great a time to see the MLB regulars rounding into their season-ready form. However, it is also an opportunity to view some of baseball’s finest prospects getting their feet wet for the first time.
And as the spring winds down and more players make their appearances, the numbers on the back of the jerseys get higher and higher.
Unless you’re sitting in front of your computer staring at an up-to-date spring training roster as I am, you’re knowledge of the players on the field is dependent upon the competence of the television production crew.
With the game tied 6-6 with two outs in the top of the ninth inning and the go-ahead run on third base, the camera crew sought to identify the lone Carindals baserunner—a pinch runner. As you can see in the above photo, the production crew was caught sleeping, because Oscar Taveras is definitely a prospect worth knowing.
The St. Louis Cardinals’ No. 3 prospect and Prospect Pipeline’s No. 37 overall prospect, Taveras won the Midwest League batting title in 2011 with a .386 batting average in 347 plate appearance.
As I noted in my Top 50 MLB Prospects rankings earlier today,
The left-handed hitter takes forceful hacks but retains the ability to generate hard contact, thanks to his ridiculous hand-eye coordination and knowledge of the strike zone. His swing is balanced and smooth; a thing of beauty. His current gap power suggests that it may ultimately be above average.
His above-average speed has allowed him to play all three outfield positions so far, but his highest ceiling comes as a corner outfielder. Given his strong arm, though, he’s more likely to end up in right field. Although it’s his bat that makes him an elite prospect, he will need to show more defensive value in 2012.
h/t to The Last Angry Fan for capturing the shot