You can start getting excited about this. - Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports
Oscar Taveras, the best hitting prospect in baseball, is hitting like the best hitting prospect in baseball as the St. Louis Cardinals get into the meat of Spring Training.
The Grapefruit League has been going long enough that St. Louis Cardinals fans of a certain mindset should feel welcome—if not encouraged—to pull small-sample-size Spring Training statistics out of its meaningless box scores. That's what they're there for, after all: Not to tell us anything, or to be taken seriously, but to become one more spring ritual that gets us excited about baseball and the summer. On Wednesday Oscar Taveras hit one of five Cardinals home runs in the course of a 7-2 win over their Roger Dean Stadium roommates, which should be just enough to get you in the Spring Training stats mood.
That home run juiced Taveras's spring numbers to .333/.357/.630 through eight games, with two doubles, two homers, and—and Oscar Taveras is the kind of hitter for which this is comforting news—three walks. If you want to be excited, remember that this looks like an Oscar Taveras season: In his last two minor league seasons he's hit .347 and slugged .577. If you want to not be excited, remember that Shane Robinson is hitting .526/.591/1.000, and Matt Adams .471/.526/.824, and Pete Kozma .400/.444/.600.
Spring Training stats do one of two things: They either reiterate an existing narrative—Oscar Taveras is good at hitting—or serve as skimpy evidence on which to build a new narrative—Oscar Taveras is maybe not good at hitting??? If nothing else, be thankful we're getting the first one.