Oscar Taveras can still be St. Louis Cardinals Outfielder of the Future
When it comes to Oscar Taveras, he can still be considered as the outfielder of the future for the St. Louis Cardinals.
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It’s been a trying year for Taveras as he realized how he could not be able to tear through Major League pitching as he did in the minor leagues. While Taveras impressed with his first career home run coming in his Major League debut, his season has not gone as he or Cardinals fans would have preferred.
Taveras had to compete for playing time in right field with Jon Jay and Allen Craig. Craig got traded and then Jon Jay started heating up. Jay’s not going to take a seat anytime soon. If Peter Bourjos gets a start in center field, the smart money would say that Taveras would be a bench player so Jay could start in right field. With the September call-ups, Randal Grichuk is added to the competition for playing time. Don’t even start on Matt Holliday because he’s not going anywhere anytime soon.
Entering Sunday’s contest against the Milwaukee Brewers, Taveras has hit .230/.273/.311 this season. August was the best month of his Major League career with a batting line of .244/.292/.289 with four doubles and eight RBIs. Since Allen Craig was traded to the Boston Red Sox, Taveras has a batting line of .240/.298/.313, not exactly a great adjustment to seeing an increase in playing time.
How Taveras does in September will depend on how much manager Mike Matheny trusts him to play an integral role in helping the Cardinals secure first place in the National League Central.
“I think he’s done a nice job of trying to make some improvements and realizing that it’s not just going to come and that he’s going to have to work his way through it, and respecting the fact that this league is going to try to be one step ahead of him, always,” Matheny said in an MLB.com article. “But when he’s right and he’s got his swing right, he’s the kind of guy who can hit a lot of different pitches, he can plug a lot of holes. He’s making good adjustments.”
Earlier this week, St. Louis Post-Dispatch sports columnist Bernie Miklasz shared his thoughts on Matheny sitting Taveras in recent days. Miklasz writes that Matheny is “absolutely doing the right thing” by sitting the promising outfielder. He can’t be blamed. The Cardinals have to do everything in their power to secure first place.
Bernie says it himself right here:
"But when you’re managing a team and trying to bring it home to a first-place finish, you have to go with your best players. Your hottest hitters. And that doesn’t always mean you’ll go with your most promising hitter, or a hitter that could be winning a lot of games for you in 2015 and beyond. This is about the stretch run for 2014."
He may not speak for all Cardinals fans but the most promising hitter in the organization doesn’t necessarily mean that he will be helping to win games down the stretch. What we saw on Saturday night could mean that Taveras might see more playing time down the stretch.
I believe in the promise of Taveras but I am for using whatever lineup will give the Cardinals a win today.