Taveras flashes potent bat in Cards' win

Teenage outfield prospect takes advantage of leap to Double-A

By Jonathan Raymond / Special to MLB.com | April 8, 2012 7:41 PM ET

Last season, Oscar Taveras drew a lot of attention for hitting .386 in the Class A Midwest League. If Sunday was any indication, a jump up to the Double-A Texas League already has gotten him back in form.

Taveras smacked his first homer, doubled and drove in three runs in Springfield's 13-5 win over Midland. The 19-year-old outfielder finished 3-for-5, breaking out after a 2-for-12 start in his first three games.

St. Louis decided to be aggressive with MLB.com's No. 100 prospect after his big year last season, skipping him over Class A Advanced. The Dominican Republic native hit .386 with eight home runs, 27 doubles, 62 RBIs and a 1.028 OPS in 308 at-bats over 78 games for Quad Cities.

He hit consistently in the prospect-laden Arizona Fall League as well, averaging .307 in 75 at-bats for the Peoria Javelinas. The Cardinals gave Taveras a brief taste of Major League camp, where he went 2-for-8 in seven games.

St. Louis farm director John Vuch told MLB.com this offseason that part of the reason the Cardinals felt confident in bringing their top position prospect along this quickly was because of the impression he made this spring.

"We brought him in the first day of early camp and sat him down and explained that your bat is every bit of Double-A level, but the rest of your game is not," Vuch said. "We told him that he has the next four or five weeks to show us where he belongs. He really took the conversation to heart, really applied himself during batting practice and went at it with good energy."

In 2010, his first exposure to American pro ball, he spent a brief spell in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League before hitting .322 with a .526 slugging percentage in 53 games for short-season Johnson City in the Appalachian League.

After Sunday, Taveras is 5-for-17 with three doubles on the young season.

Jonathan Raymond is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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