He looks like he’s ready to be a Matt Holliday-sized bat in the middle of the Cardinals order. He looked that way last year too. Oscar Taveras had numerous setbacks this year due to a high-ankle sprain that occurred on May 12th. In 46 games in Triple-A, he hit 5 homers and stole 5 bags while hitting .306. It was a lost year like your sophomore year in college. He’s still plenty young enough that it shouldn’t matter. He’ll turn 22 years old in June. Here’s what I said last year, “From what I’ve heard (read), Taveras’s biggest strike against him is he doesn’t see any strikes — turn of a phrase point! He’s being compared to Vladimir Guerrero without having knees like Mama from Mama’s Family. Taveras swings and hits everything. Also, like Vlad, his swing is long, unwieldy and it looks like he could swing at pitches above his head and in the dirt on two consecutive pitches. (Google video of Oscar Taveras if you don’t believe me; what, you don’t believe me? My feelings are hurt.) What wasn’t mentioned above, his stats also look like a young Vlad. I will call you, Vladimir Guerrerito. He can hit for power and steal bases. At twenty years old, he hit 23 homers in 477 ABs with 11 steals in Double-A in 2012, his last full year of minor league ball.” And that’s me quoting me! Nothing’s changed on any of that but the calendar date, assuming you flip the months and don’t wait for them to magically flip themselves. So what can we expect of Oscar Taveras for 2014 fantasy baseball?
So, there could be a chance for Taveras out of camp, but my guess is we don’t see him until May, at the earliest. He needs a month in the minors after having season-ending surgery on his ankle in August. I should say, I don’t think he needs a month in the minors, but I think the Cardinals will think it. Plus, the Cardinals make lemonade out of guys that would be 5th outfielders. Put Jon Jay on any other team and he’s a glorified bat boy that looks at the star player in creepy ways. Put Jon Jay on the Cardinals and he gets 548 at-bats in 157 games played. Beltran could be gone after this year, but it wouldn’t surprise me if they put Craig in the outfield and Adams at first base. Shoot, they could put Sugar Shane Robinson in the outfield and get a mediocre 500 ABs from him and win the division. I’m spending so much time on the playing time situation for Taveras, because that will really be the key to his fantasy worthiness, which isn’t related to James Worthy, but really should be. If O.T. gets 500 ABs, he’s 10-team viable. If he gets 300 ABs, he’s 10-team viable, but not until June. Unfortch, I think 300 ABs is what he’s gonna see. For 2014, I’ll give him the line of 42/10/32/.288/8. Definitely a great guy for deep leagues and keepers, and has a chance to make a Wil Myers-type impact next year. In most redraft leagues, I’ll be looking to take a flyer in case he does break camp with the team, but I wouldn’t hold my breath unless I were wearing Scuba apparatus.