Everyone in the St. Louis Cardinals organization has said it time and time again: Oscar Taveras is the best hitting prospect in the organization since one Albert Pujols. Both players have something in common: they were born in the Dominican Republic, which has been a base for Major League-caliber talent since well before the 1950s.
Mar 19, 2013; Jupiter, FL, USA; St. Louis Cardinals center fielder Oscar Taveras (87) rounds third base and scores a run in the fourth inning during a spring training game against the Miami Marlins at Roger Dean Stadium. Image Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Latin America is one of the biggest exporters of Major League-caliber baseball players. Look at the Cardinals roster from the 2013 season: Yadier Molina, Jaime Garcia, and Carlos Martinez were all born in Latin American countries. Jhonny Peralta, signed this offseason as a free agent, is also a product of the Dominican. Could Taveras be the fifth player of Latin descent that makes the roster before Opening Day? It’s the biggest question of all.
If anyone in upper management knows, they sure as heck are not talking.
If anything, though, this influx of Latin American players–which dates back to the 1950s–should not be ignored. They take their baseball very seriously in the Caribbean. It’s no surprise that the club has decided to step up their scouting in Latin America.