Oscar Taveras and Kolten Wong look like piping hot pizza that just came out of the oven. Instead of searing the roofs of our mouths (risking regular season games on immature players), we need to let them cool off and improve their craft in Memphis. The Cardinals like their players seasoned, which is why Ty Wigginton doesn’t have to hit in March to play in April.
AAA teams like the Memphis exist because so they can groom Redbirds to become Cardinals, and to succeed throughout the treacherous transition to the show. The only natural Cardinal second baseman (besides the underwhelming Ryan Jackson), Kolten Wong, and the already shining Oscar Taveras both belong in Memphis in April, not in St. Louis.
Yes Oscar is on smash, and he is showing that he is all that Fredbird could dream for, and some birdseed. However, Oscar is only 20 and he made 5 errors in Springfield last season. That is 5 more errors than John Jay. Shane Robinson is showing that he is the backup outfielder that can fill in like a hot friend at a reunion. This will leave room on the roster for Matt Adams who proved himself in AAA. Allen Craig can always give Beltran a rest in the outfield to squeeze Adams in the lineup. If St. Louis plans on parting with Adams, like they did with Brett Wallace when The Machine occupied first base, then Adams needs to get a lot of at bats in 2013 to build his value.
Matt Carpenter and Daniel Descalso have shown that they can hit the high heat, but Wong hasn’t. Sure Wong’s offensive numbers look good in February, but he hasn’t been clutch like Descalso and Carpenter in AAAA during October. Plus Wong’s production fell consistently over the course of 2012 in AA. It is exciting that there is a real second basemen in the Cardinals organization, it has certainly been a while, but Kolten Wong is just 22.
It wouldn’t be shocking if an injury forced the Cards to call up Taveras, or maybe Wong, during the second half of the season, but in true St. Louis fashion, easy does it. Wong can use a year in AAA to reduce his defensive shortcomings (17 errors 2011), and Oscar will benefit from having his first legal beer and time to prepare for a long career in Missouri.
The short-term risk of having young guys overwhelmed in the majors and struggling, versus the long-term stability of using talent that is already proven is not a match. M and M (Matheny and Mozeliak) should know better than to rush something as delicate as star power, and they also should know that Memphis is only a phone call away.