Cards' Taveras gets opportunity to show his stuff

Cards' Taveras gets opportunity to show his stuff

Credit: BJ Rains, BaseballStL

Oscar Taveras at Cardinals Spring Training in Jupiter, Florida

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by Brian Feldman, BaseballStL

KMOV.com

Posted on February 18, 2013 at 10:25 AM

Updated Monday, Feb 18 at 4:52 PM

(BaseballStL) -- One of the faces that Trevor Rosenthal will see in the batter's box today is top prospect Oscar Taveras. Many in the organization are anxious to see how he's going to handle himself in game situations starting this weekend.

Taveras has as much raw talent as anyone in the league. Anyone.

He is a hitting machine, nearly hit .400 a couple years ago in A-Quad Cities, and finally showed power in AA-Springfield last year with more than 20 home runs. GM John Mozeliak has called him the most prolific hitter this organization has seen coming up the system since Albert Pujols. And Mozeliak certainly is not someone to throw around that type of praise very often.

Taveras' problem, as many have noted previously, is the fact he doesn't pay as much attention to the other facets of the game aside from hitting. His defense has lacked focus at times. His base running has too. Just his overall commitment to the rest of the game - apart from offense - needs to improve. But there is no denying how incredible of a hitter Taveras is.

He'll face Trevor Rosenthal today - a matchup many will be anxious to see - and start to get a chance to impress coaches at the big league level.

It would make sense for Taveras to begin the season in AAA-Memphis given the presence of Matt Holliday, Jon Jay and Carlos Beltran. Also, Mozeliak says Taveras needs to play every day, not come off the bench. But as the year goes on and injuries start to pile up - they always do - it would be a major surprise if we didn't see him up at some point this year.

It could be early, it could be late. But the next great hitter in the Redbirds organization is knocking on the door of the big leagues.

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