Now that we are 100% clear that the game does not start until 7 PM CST, let's have some big league roster construction discussion, including an update on everyone's favorite Triple-A outfield prospect.
Earlier today, Chris Hrabe (one of the best in the business, in my opinion) spoke with Cardinals General Manager John Mozeliak on KMOX's Sports on A Sunday (truly a must-listen episode). I have officially moved back to Indianapolis for pharmacy rotations, but thanks to the TuneIn radio app for my iPhone, I was able to catch Mo's interview live. Topics of discussion included the Cardinals regression with runners in scoring position, the loss of Carlos Beltran, Matt Adams' home run drought, the possibility that Yadier Molina may somehow be undervalued nationally, and finally the starting rotation. These were all quality topics, but Hrabe ended his baseball discussion with Mozeliak by asking him about Oscar Taveras, and that's really what I was looking for all along.
Well, if you don't have time to listen to the Mozeliak segment (it's roughly ten minutes long), I have included the key quotes from the conversation below. I really hope this can lead to some quality pregame discussion, so feel free to voice your opinion in the comments section.
Key Quotes from Mo:
- During a conference call with Memphis coaches/evaluators, he "heard nothing but glowing reports about Oscar."
- "From a defensive standpoint, they still feel he needs a little work."
- "He's probably going to be average at best in center field, but the fact that he's getting those reps in, adjusting to that routine is helpful."
- "From an offensive standpoint, you just feel like he is really centering the ball on a consistent level."
- "Should we need help [in the outfield], he could be someone we could go to."
It's a good thing the Cardinals are now playing Taveras in center on a regular basis. I was worried about this back on May 7th, but he has started four out of the last five games in center, so I am pleased with that. One of the main reasons he's still in Triple-A is because the organization fears he won't get consistent playing time at the big league level. The others being the attempt to wait past the Super Two "deadline" and/or the front office believing Oscar's truly not ready for the big leagues.
Well, despite Bourjos' out-of-this-world defense and small-sample-sized success at the plate, center field is likely Taveras' best option in terms of regular playing time this season. Defensively, Taveras will never be Bourjos, but one could argue that his bat has the potential to more than make up for his glove. Mozeliak calls his glove "average at best," which I obviously trust, but I asked some of my followers who were at his games the past few days, and they echoed Mo's statements. I was told that Taveras didn't necessarily look uncomfortable but that Shane Robinson was covering more than his fair share of ground out there.
Of note, Taveras is hitting .233 (10 hits in 43 ABs) over the last ten games, and his average has dipped to .293 overall. Also of note, his line drive percentage appears to be creeping back up to his MiLB career average of 15.8%.