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2014 VEB Community Projections: Oscar Taveras

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Denny Medley-US PRESSWIRE

Oscar Taveras is another player hard to project. It's hardly a guarantee that he sees time in the Majors at all this year, and he's coming off an injury-marred stint in AAA where he only took 186 plate appearances. Add that to the fact that it's always difficult to project minor leaguers, and we have one very tough projection (right after another one in Peter Bourjos).

While translating minor league performance to Major League performance is always a dicey proposition, I suppose it's better to hit well in the minors than not, and Taveras has done nothing but hit well. At age 18 in rookie ball, he hit .327/.367/.531. At age 19 in Quad Cities, he hit .386/.444/.584(!!!!). At age 20 in AA, he hit. .321/.380/.572. Last year, despite playing with an ankle injury for most of the season, he still managed to hit .306/.341/.462. All of this he's done with relatively low strikeout rates, averaging around 15% in the low minors, and around 11% in AA and AAA.

So we generally feel good about his hit and power tools; his concerns are generally related to defense and walk rate. In his 5 years in the minors so far, he has played 211 games in CF while only 70 at RF in the minors, but there are concerns about his ability to stick. While his bat certainly profiles fine in right, he would be quite a bit more valuable if he can play a passable center. His walk rates in his 4 seasons where he's had more than 100 PA: 5.2%, 9.2%, 7.9%, 4.8%. If I were a 19 year old hitting .386, I'd probably swing away as well, but it certainly would be a good sign to see his plate discipline take a step forward.

What are your thoughts? Does he get called up? When? How does he do?

Stats via Fangraphs

Season

Team

Age

G

PA

HR

R

RBI

SB

CS

BABIP

AVG

OBP

SLG

wOBA

wRC+

2010

Cardinals (R)

18

7

31

0

1

2

1

0

0.2

0.167

0.194

0.2

0.195

9

2010

Cardinals (R)

18

53

229

8

39

43

8

5

0.37

0.327

0.367

0.531

0.418

143

2011

Javelinas (R)

19

19

77

1

7

5

0

0

0.349

0.307

0.312

0.413

0.318

73

2011

Cardinals (A)

19

78

347

8

52

62

1

4

0.44

0.386

0.444

0.584

0.46

191

2012

Cardinals (AA)

20

124

531

23

83

94

10

1

0.323

0.321

0.38

0.572

0.411

159

2013

Cardinals (R)

21

1

2

0

0

0

0

0

1

1.000

1.000

2.000

1.062

569

2013

Cardinals (AAA)

21

46

186

5

25

32

5

1

0.324

0.306

0.341

0.462

0.353

109