Why I’m a Bit of an Oscar Taveras Skeptic

The Cardinals are reportedly kicking the tires on David Price and Jon Lester, and presumably, they’ve probably at least inquired about Cole Hamels. It’s no secret that they’re looking for pitching, and they both the means and the motive to make a big move. And not surprisingly, trade rumors with the Cardinals inevitably invoke Oscar Taveras‘ name.

According to all the prospect guys, Taveras is the Cardinals best prospect, and one of the best prospects in the game. But while I’m not a prospect expert by any means, I will say that I hold some reservations about Taveras’ long-term value, as I think he fits the mold of the hitter that prospect analysts miss on the most often.

Taveras’ calling card is his bat. Yeah, he’s played some center field, but he’s probably a corner outfielder, and he’s not a Carl Crawford or Brett Gardner type who can have center fielder type value in a corner position. He’ll be good if he hits, and if he doesn’t, he won’t. What one thinks about Taveras essentially comes down to how good of a hitter you think he can be.

And while he was a monster in Double-A a couple of years ago, Taveras’ Triple-A line over the last year or so isn’t really all that exciting. Here’s what he’s done in Memphis between 2013 and 2014.

448 PA, 6.2% BB%, 11.8% K%, .172 ISO, .313/.358/.485, 117 wRC+

That’s not a bad performance for a guy who spent a good chunk of that time as a 21 year old, but he hasn’t exactly crushed Triple-A pitching either. The contact skills are there, but the power hasn’t shown up yet, and this skillset basically needs power to work. There are plenty of scouting reasons to think he’ll hit for power, and he’s done it before, so my skepticism isn’t that he definitely won’t hit for power; I’m just not sure that he will, and his Triple-A performance reminds me a lot of some other prospects who were supposed to hit for power and either didn’t or haven’t yet.

For instance, here’s Jesus Montero‘s career Triple-A line.

1,410 PA, 8.8% BB%, 19.9% K%, .209 ISO, .290/.353/.499, 126 wRC+.

Taveras isn’t the cover-your-eyes defender that Montero is, so his floor is higher, but Montero is probably the most similar recent offensive prospect to be rated extremely highly despite some just okay Triple-A numbers that were explained away by his age. And this isn’t just cherry picking now that Montero has flopped and lost most of his value; I was a skeptic about his potential back when he was getting hyped to the moon as well.

And, really, if you’re interested, you can look back through the minor league leaderboards and look for guys who put up similar performances — based on low walks, high contact, moderate power, above average overall wRC+ — to what Taveras has done in Triple-A at young-ish ages.

In 2010, we find Montero, but also Mike Moustakas and Jose Tabata. Hank Conger was in that mix too, though he was drawing more walks.

In 2011, there’s Montero again — though his K% was going the wrong way — along with Dayan Viciedo, Lonnie Chisenhall, and another meh year from Moustakas.

In 2012, we find Josh Vitters and L.J. Hoes. Yeah.

In 2013, we get Wilmer Flores, Chris Owings, Nick Castellanos, and J.R. Murphy. You could try and squeeze Xander Bogaerts in there if you wanted, though he’s always been a lot more disciplined than Taveras.

This is hardly an exhaustive study, of course, but most of these guys came with some degree of prospect hype, and by and large, they’ve mostly not hit in the big leagues. That L.J. Hoes failed to develop doesn’t mean that Taveras is worthless, but that Taveras has hit kind of like L.J. Hoes at the highest level of the minors should perhaps make us pause when discussing him as a truly elite prospect.

Taveras is a very nice prospect, but I think there’s a case to be made that he’s the kind of minor leaguer that teams should be willing to trade, because the consensus about his potential has been outstripping his performance for a while now. Perhaps Taveras will get back to the hitter he’s been projected to be, and he’ll turn into a legitimate star. But if he doesn’t, he’s probably not a very good big leaguer, and projecting future offensive performance is the hardest thing for scouts to do. While he’s still very young and has plenty of time to improve, there’s a decent chance that Taveras will never have more value to the Cardinals than he does as a trade chip right now.



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Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.


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Craig Edwards
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Member
1 year 10 months ago

Does wRC+ for minors numbers adjust for park? Comparing numbers from Las Vegas and Memphis doesn’t seem like a great comparison.

rebel.lion
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rebel.lion
1 year 10 months ago

Also, ankle injuries were kind of a thing while Taveras was at Memphis…

FeslenR
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FeslenR
1 year 10 months ago

Not just ankle injuries, Tavares’ entire minor league career has been dotted with injuries of all kinds.

Jdrury12
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Jdrury12
1 year 10 months ago

Like what? The ankle was the major one pushing him back, and he hasn’t had any setback at the ML level.

AK7007
Member
AK7007
1 year 10 months ago

Also, explaining away poor performance to injury is just another “best shape of his life” variant. Not the best indicator of future performance improvement. It would be really nice to have hit f/x numbers on him to get an idea of how his contact is shaking out and say something more definitive, but all we have to rely on right now is scout projection.

Garth Vader
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Garth Vader
1 year 10 months ago

Stat Corner has minor leage park/league adjustments in what they call wOBA+:

Taveras: 112 wOBA+

Montero:

Scranton ’10 – 111 wOBA+
Scranton ’11 – 112 wOBA+
Tacoma ’13: – 94 wOBA+
Tacoma ’14 – 116 wOBA+

lil_scooter93
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lil_scooter93
1 year 10 months ago

I was wondering this, too. According the the park factors I looked up, Las Vegas has the fifth highest park factor while Memphis is thirteenth.

Emcee Peepants
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Emcee Peepants
1 year 10 months ago

The “+” in wRC+ indicates it is park and league adjusted. Standard wRC is not park and league adjusted.

Craig Edwards
Member
Member
1 year 10 months ago

That’s what it means in the majors. I’m just curious if it is the same for the minors or if it is just league adjusted.

Garth Vader
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Garth Vader
1 year 10 months ago

Minors is just league adjusted per Dave Appelman

John
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John
1 year 10 months ago

A lot of this makes sense, but what about the fact the Oscar had the ankle injury? At least part of his AAA line was during a time where he was both getting comfortable swinging in live games again while also regaining his timing.

Richie
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Richie
1 year 10 months ago

Good stuff. From the ‘you agree with me’ subcategory, mind you. :-)

Sam
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Sam
1 year 10 months ago

I’ve been a bit skeptical of Tavares too. However, there is one thing missing from you analysis: he was hurt last year and he started this year in a slump. Once the Cardinals skipped him for promotion in favor of Grichuk and Butler he kicked things into high gear and was tremendous at AAA.

That leads to a question about his motivation, however…

Jason B
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Jason B
1 year 10 months ago

…which isn’t to say those things were causative; i.e., “started raking after being passed over for a promotion” may just be noticing item A and item B and thinking one caused the other because they happened to occur around the same time. As sports fans, we do like our tidy narratives.

Scooby
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Scooby
1 year 10 months ago

Reminds me a little of 2010-2011 Dom Brown. Looks for all the world like a hitter but the major league results just aren’t there (of course, he’s young, etc., etc.).

STLCardinalBaseball
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1 year 10 months ago

Excellent work on this!

Rockshu
Member
1 year 10 months ago

Scouting the stat line is definitely reliable.

Nick
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Nick
1 year 10 months ago

Sorry for asking but is this comment sarcasm? I feel like it is but this is the internet so I have to ask.

Pudge, Jeurys and Mexecutioner
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Pudge, Jeurys and Mexecutioner
1 year 10 months ago

Thanks for this, it’s seemed for some time that scouts have been saying ‘he’s a top prospect, take our word for it’ while the numbers haven’t been there. I am having trouble understanding why he is valued so much higher than Maikel Franco…similar stats except the latter actually has slightly more of a track record hitting for power.

David
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David
1 year 10 months ago

What is this “the numbers haven’t been there” junk?

2012 – AA 950 OPS 23 Hrs in 124 games
2013 – Injuries
2014 – AAA 870 OPS 8 Hrs in 62 games

Yes, he’s struggled in his first 97 MLB PAs. It’s known to happen.

Cameron just went through the minors, found some comparable busts, and made an argument. I’d be very curious how many of those comparable busts combined a low K rate, a solid BB rate, and a very high BABIP. My guess is, not too many.

deflated
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deflated
1 year 10 months ago

As the article states the comparables were found by “…look for guys who put up similar performances — based on low walks, high contact, moderate power, above average overall wRC+…” you may wish to update your guess.

Pudge, Juerys and Mexecutioner
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Pudge, Juerys and Mexecutioner
1 year 10 months ago

I should’ve specified. The numbers haven’t been there relative to a corner outfielder who’s not a particularly good defender, but is rated as high as #3 on prospect lists.

Look at the other guys around him on those lists – you tend to get (this is an oversimplification but generally true)
– Guys putting up extreme offensive numbers
– Excellent defenders at premium defensive positions
– A combination of both

Taveras hasn’t done anything that jumps off the page offensively for two years now, and he’s neither known as an above average defender nor does he play a premium position. He has been an above average hitter this year and I’m not saying the guy isn’t a good prospect, I’m saying that, relative to the expectations set by his prospect ranking, he is overvalued.

Joe
Guest
Joe
1 year 10 months ago

At this stage in the game, give me Arismendy Alcantara of the Cubs over Taveras. High contact, high ISO, can put the ball over the fence, decent, OBP and he’s showing results in the MLB. Of course, I’m a Cubs fan so naturally I am partial. Us Cub fans are in “prospect hoarding” mode, though, and I would take Alcantara over Taveras. I agree that Taveras may be the highest of value to St. Louis as a trade chip, although scouts from other teams will certainly see some of the warning signs that this article notes. It is their career to do so.

OLIVER projection system
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OLIVER projection system
1 year 10 months ago

canno typ laffing

fourstick
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1 year 10 months ago

Funny that you eliminate 2008 and 2007 from your analysis:

2008: McCutchen

2007: Joey Votto, Brandon Moss

King Buzzo's Fro
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King Buzzo's Fro
1 year 10 months ago

you forgot 2009 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 and the BEFORE TIMES!

cubfever7
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cubfever7
1 year 10 months ago

@ fourstick–can you expound on what you mean about McCutchen, Votto and Moss? Were they named as possible busts by this same author?

Iron
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Iron
1 year 10 months ago

2007 Votto AAA wRC+=136 bb%=12% OBP=.381

So much better.

2007 Brandon Moss doesn’t make your point very well. He failed in the bigs in 2008-2009. Then spent 2010 2011 and half 2012 back in AAA before reemerging. That career path would justify Dave’s
contention Taveras may not be elite.

Adam
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Adam
1 year 10 months ago

Nice job of sticking it to Cameron by mentioning three guys that don’t fit the criteria at all. Low walk rate. Seriously it was the first thing mentioned.

Matt Marsden
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Matt Marsden
1 year 10 months ago

Not sure how McCutchen applies, either. He was always considered as a guy who can be at least league average defensively at a premium position and had above average speed. That is not a similar player to the bat only type of guy that Dave is describing.

Ruralman
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Ruralman
1 year 10 months ago

McCutchen’s defensive abilities are irrelevant to predicting Taveras’ bat. McCutchen, despite being slammed when he was a prospect by DC, hits very well. Taveras, with a similar profile to McCutchen, is also likely to hit very well. Taveras will still be valuable even if his defense is only average if he can hit anything like McCutchen.

The Ancient Mariner
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The Ancient Mariner
1 year 10 months ago

On the other hand, his ability in the field is highly relevant to projecting his overall value, which is the actual point. It matters a lot more whether Taveras hits, because his bat has to carry him to a much greater degree than McCutcheon.

Ruralman
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Ruralman
1 year 10 months ago

Yes, but my point is that his bat DOES have the necessary value to carry him regardless of his defense, because his offensive abilities resembles such good players as Andrew McCutchen. Applying a cutoff based on defensive abilities in order to get at Taveras’ offensive skill makes no sense. He’s a really good hitter, by any projection system and by scouts.

Noah Baron
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1 year 9 months ago

This is just wrong. Votto put up much bigger power numbers. McCutchen profiled as a plus defender at a premium position. Check the scouting reports/stats of these players before you make incorrect assumptions.

Nick
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Nick
1 year 10 months ago

“And while he was a monster in Double-A a couple of years ago,”

You can use those numbers in your analysis and let the AAA numbers update your idea of how good a prospect he is, Bayesian style. Then add MLB numbers

His future production does have large error bars given his past production variance, but how many of those AAA comps put up a 159 wRC+ in 531 AA plate appearances?

Iron
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Iron
1 year 10 months ago

The main comp used here, Jesus Montero, had a AA wRC+= 152. In les PA, sure. But it’s close enough. Moustakas had a AA wRC+ of 194 in ~300 PA.

AJ
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AJ
1 year 10 months ago

Montero makes no sense at all as a comp for Taveras, even if we limit the comparison to statistics alone. Taveras’s K rate is what, 60% of Montero’s? And that’s without accouting for the fact that Montero was viewed as a slow as molasses DH-only type.

Joe
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Joe
1 year 10 months ago

…and a 191 wRC+ one year earlier in the Midwest League at age 18/19.

And a 143 wRC+ the year before that in the Appy League.

Dave cited a great many players, none of whom stand up to even the most cursory scrutiny as Taveras comparables. They were all either older by a chunk, struck out much more, or showed considerably less power. I like your work in general, Cameron, but this was shoddily researched, sir.

Only injuries can stop Taveras in the long run. Otherwise it’s a .300+ average with at least 25 taters annually in his prime.

Joe
Guest
Joe
1 year 10 months ago

Previous response was to Nick. (I cited Taveras’ numbers below AA, not Montero’s. Sorry for any confusion.)

Bip
Member
Member
Bip
1 year 10 months ago

“Only injuries can stop Taveras in the long run. Otherwise it’s a .300+ average with at least 25 taters annually in his prime.”

I would love to take this bet.

Iron
Guest
Iron
1 year 10 months ago

Bad bet. If he did fail it would then ultimately be blamed on injuries, real or imagined.

Bip
Member
Member
Bip
1 year 10 months ago

I would bet against “only injuries can stop him in the long run”. So if he gets injured, the bet is void, because we don’t know either way.

Mark
Guest
Mark
1 year 10 months ago

You completely overlooked his playing with and between injury at AAA and his 11 percent(!!) strikeout rate, while not giving enough weight to his age at the level. That amount of power in such a high contact guy with decent speed equals 5-tool potential. The comp is well known – we could be looking at Vlad Guerrero 2.0 in 3-5 years. Straight up for Lester or Price? No way, but as the centerpiece of a deal with two borderline top 100s? Absolutely.

joser
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joser
1 year 10 months ago

The aging curves tell us that power peaks in the mid- to late-20s.

So when guys are this young — in their teens, when scouted and drafted — the scouts are “projecting” power mostly based on body type (and presumed work ethic for lots of BP and eating right and hitting the gym to put on muscle, etc). If that doesn’t develop, and the player’s expected value is keyed on that, then the projections go out the window. Given that, it’s not surprising that there might be a lot of variability in outcomes.

Are scouts bad at projecting power compared to other characteristics? I have no idea; I do wonder if there’s a hangover from the PED era when scouts might have taken that kind of development for granted, when it really wasn’t so reliable without a little “help.”

Roger
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Roger
1 year 10 months ago

I was on the Taveras bandwagon in August 2011 and asked BA what they were hearing from scouts at the time. They thought he was going to lack power and be a 4th OF, that his power at the time came from overswinging. They didn’t buy into his power until he made adjustments in the AFL that fall.

Rockshu
Member
1 year 10 months ago

What happens if you changed the criteria to instead look at prospects who had similar numbers to 2012, when he was a 19 year old in Double-A after completing skipping the High-A level? You know, the 7.9% walk rate, 10.5% strikeout rate, .252 ISO, and 159 wRC+?

Did I mention that came the year after he hit .386/.444/.584 in full season ball as an 18 year old. That’s a 191 wRC+.

Tavares isn’t topping prospect lists because of what he’s done in Triple-A while dealing with a nagging ankle injury. He tops prospect lists because he has an unbelievable track record, and most aren’t so quick to ignore the first three years of his professional career because of 108 merely above average games over two years in Memphis.

Iron
Guest
Iron
1 year 10 months ago

What if you don’t ignore any of the data and conclude that the earlier extremely high projections may need to be revised downward until shown otherwise.

Your excuses for his last two years are valid excuses, I don’t disagree. But data from higher levels and more recent years generally take precedence when estimating a player’s talent level. He’s 21. Writing him off would be retarded. But skepticism is reasonable.

Rockshu
Member
1 year 10 months ago

The scouting reports created by professionals who have actually watched the kid play for years have not changed. While they’re not meaningless, my point is that minor league statistics don’t carry a ton of weight, particularly when you’re arbitrarily choosing specific variable and end points in an attempt to make a point.

Nathan
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Nathan
1 year 10 months ago

someone a little butthurt?

Rockshu
Member
1 year 10 months ago

I’m a Blue Jays fan, I have no attachment to Tavares. If Dave wants to shit on him that’s all fine and dandy, I’d just prefer to see a stronger argument than “well, he hit like Jesus Montero in Triple-A and Montero has sucked in the Show sooo”

Stan Gable
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Stan Gable
1 year 10 months ago

Well said, all of this.

I’m not intending to necessarily equate Oscar Taveras to Mike FREAKING Trout but #27 had an adjustment period as well & the latter was at least affording something more approximate to regular run.

There’s a ton of overreaction to Taveras’ (relative) lack of performance right now imo.

Andrew
Guest
Andrew
1 year 10 months ago

ankle injury
97 sporadic plate appearances

Jack
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Jack
1 year 10 months ago

Completely ignoring the ankle injury seems pretty negligent for this analysis. Do you really want to lump in zero power,sub .100 ISO, slap hitting, guys like Hoes, Owings, and Tabata into the conversation? Their ISOs were like half of what Oscar was putting up at every level when healthy. Beyond that, was there anyone on that list you mentioned you showed actual good contact rates by consistently hitting for average, and mainting low/elite K rates, in general, let alone show actual improvement in each of those areas as they advanced levels?

jdbolick
Member
Member
1 year 10 months ago

Skepticism about any prospect is fine, but I couldn’t disagree any more strongly with Cameron’s contention that Taveras “fits the mold of the hitter that prospect analysts miss on the most often.” The hitters prospect analysts miss on the most often are toolsy players who have yet to develop commensurate skills. Oscar’s skill is off the charts, which is precisely why he’s so exciting.

The rarest and safest type of hitting prospect is the one that demonstrates power with contact. It’s fair to say that Taveras’ power may never reach the heights envisioned for him, but anything less than 15-20 home runs per season over the next few years would be a major surprise. Meanwhile few minor league hitters could match Oscar’s contact, especially if you combine his K% with his IFFB% to look at his “easy out” percentage. It’s fair to note that in his small major league sample Taveras’ IFFB% has been an awful 17.4%, but in the minor leagues he totaled a much better than average 5.6%. His BABIP has also been consistently high because he’s making good contact, not just any contact. The Cardinals would be foolish to sell low based on his first 100 plate appearances.

Iron
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Iron
1 year 10 months ago

I think Dave’s contention is that given the almost universal high regard analysts have for Taveras, selling now may well constitute selling high.

Wobatus
Guest
Wobatus
1 year 10 months ago

Probably selling spring of 2013 would have been selling high.

lesmash
Member
Member
lesmash
1 year 10 months ago

I always come back to the Branch Rickey quote: It’s better to trade a player a year too early than a year too late.

Yes, I’m cherry picking here, but Chase Headley is the best recent example of just how true this maxim is.

Stan Gable
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Stan Gable
1 year 10 months ago

‘The hitters prospect analysts miss on the most often are toolsy players who have yet to develop commensurate skills.’

Yes, agreed. This would be tough to dispute.

Joe
Guest
Joe
1 year 10 months ago

Since the OLIVER projection system and Clay Davenport’s website each take into account all the previous similar hitters when predicting Taveras’ future performance, I’ll trust their numbers. And they like Taveras plenty.

As others have mentioned, the low K rate is the clincher — Montero for instance struck out 70% more often in AAA, for Pete’s sake. (And no, Taveras’ wRC+ at Memphis is NOT adjusted for the fact that his half of the PCL plays at sea level in pitcher’s parks, compared to, say, Vegas and Alby-Q. So his AAA numbers are at least a bit better than his wRC+ implies.)

Like many of the Cardinals this year, Taveras is hacking at almost everything, even when ahead in the count. Once the hitting coach tweaks his approach (or is reassigned and replaced by someone who understands the virtue of selectivity at the plate), Taveras should take off. He won’t lack for power; just give him a year or two.

Schlom
Guest
Schlom
1 year 10 months ago

How certain are teams on players birth dates? Are they 100% accurate now? Or are there still questions?

says
Guest
says
1 year 10 months ago

I seem to recall a certain author having written an article entitled “You Should Trust the Projections”. As others have noted, the projections remain bullish on Taveras because of his excellent minor league hitting profile, despite Dave’s dismissal of such. Is it Cameron’s contention that you should trust projections, except for rookies?

Puig's Translator
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Puig's Translator
1 year 10 months ago

Did you read the article? As a refresher, here is the title: Why I’m A BIT OF an Oscar Taveras skeptic. Dave simply pointed out a few red flags. Everyone needs to chill out. The fact that he won’t be an elite defender puts more pressure on him to perform offensively, especially hitting for power. He has not dominated every level, and hasn’t shown much power in AAA and the Bigs. He will probably still be great, but it may take a few years. Dave is simply saying he is not as much of a “can’t miss prospect” as everyone has been saying.
thanks for the article Dave

David Brent
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David Brent
1 year 10 months ago

Whatever. Chill out..

Iron
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Iron
1 year 10 months ago

Are projections based largely on AA production less accurate than those based on multiple years of MLB production? Probably.

munchtime
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munchtime
1 year 10 months ago

The article on projections was MLB specific. Projecting how a player will develop thru multiple levels of competition is significantly different than at a single level of competition.

says
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says
1 year 10 months ago

“The article on projections was MLB specific.”
That’s not true. Or perhaps Dave’s take on MGL’s article was major league specific, but MGL himself (in the analysis which Dave summarized) included rookies and players who had recent minor league statistics, as far as I can tell.

grant
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grant
1 year 10 months ago

Wonder the same about Piscotty. I don’t get the hype over a corner OF without power, who at age 23 has been a little but not much above average hitter in AAA.

Miles
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Miles
1 year 10 months ago

He plays for St. Louis, so he’ll hit .315 and win at least one postseason series MVP before being traded for top prospects and hitting .250 for the rest of his career.

Emcee Peepants
Guest
Emcee Peepants
1 year 10 months ago

Since wRC+ is league and park adjusted, how would it not take into account league and park just b/c he is in the PCL?

Looking at the Oliver projections, his closest current MLB comp is Hunter Pence (.354/133 wOBA/wRC+ vs. .361/134 for Taveras at his projected peak with similar counting stats and plate discipline). I think that’s a pretty realistic expectation but pretty far from being a superstar. I disagree with Dave that Taveras is a likely bust, but I agree that he may never be more valuable as a trade chip than he is right now.

Joe
Guest
Joe
1 year 10 months ago

No way minor league wRC+ is adjusted. Just look at the AAA Vegas team: judging by their wRC+, the entire lineup belongs in the majors — if not in the Midsummer Classic. Seriously, they have like twelve guys between 130 and 190.

Roger
Guest
Roger
1 year 10 months ago

Is it just me, or do the adjustments tend to break down at the extremes? I don’t think we adjust enough when looking at the very extremes like Las Vegas and Savannah.

Emcee Peepants
Guest
Emcee Peepants
1 year 10 months ago

Not if you look at only qualified players.

Look at the PCL leaderboard, the top hitter is Joc Pederson, with a 172 wRC+. The top MLB hitter this year is Mike Trout, with a 175 wRC+. The #30 hitter in the PCL is Nick Franklin, with a 124 wRC+. The #30 hitter in the MLB is Matt Adams, with a 134 wRC+. Looks pretty well adjusted to me.

johnq
Guest
johnq
1 year 10 months ago

I’m glad Pederson came up, even if only tangentially, because I was thinking of him as a comp.

I think looking at the two supports the proposition that Taveras is a really good prospect and might become a great player, but there are plenty of reasons to be suspicious of him being in top 5 lists and not at the back end of top 20 lists.

Craig Edwards
Member
Member
1 year 10 months ago
Bip
Member
Member
Bip
1 year 10 months ago

I never understand Oliver projections. Sometimes I see totally wacky stuff there, so I don’t know if I would trust them. I would lean towards ZiPS probably.

Joe
Guest
Joe
1 year 10 months ago

Agreed about Piscotty. A corner outfielder whose hitting upside seems to be Matt Carpenter with less patience doesn’t intrigue me much. I will say, though, that the guy looked tremendous in right field in Spring Training — jumps, routes, throwing arm, really revelatory. So maybe best case he’s sort of Alex Gordon Lite, i.e. .290/.340/440 with above average RF defense. That could be worth 3 wins I guess.

cub power
Guest
cub power
1 year 10 months ago

Now you did it. How dare you question one of the Cardinal Faberge eggs?
If you watch him closely, Taveras has had a really hard time catching up with a major league fastball. Big long loopy swing. He’s a typical showcase Dominican player. Lots of batting practice in the cage, not a lot of game experience. Thus the instincts are poor. Classic overhype.

jcxy
Guest
jcxy
1 year 10 months ago

Minus the racism, there might be something to the point about the long, loopy swing.

http://www.fangraphs.com/not/gif-oscar-taveras-not-uncertain-about-first-home-run/

Jordan
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Jordan
1 year 10 months ago

Where’s Remington when you need him?

CircleChange11
Guest
1 year 9 months ago

A long follow through does not equate to being long to the ball. If you want to see a StL corner OF that struggles with high velocity, look to the LF corner.

Stan Gable
Guest
Stan Gable
1 year 10 months ago

Ell oh ell

AK7007
Member
AK7007
1 year 10 months ago

If I had to average out all the Cardinals fans comments into one, it would be “OMG, Tavaras is a can’t miss, anybody that has less than 100% faith in stardom for him is an idiot!”

The article is just noting that the huge scout projections for Tavaras are likely outstripping his true value, (as in, he might be good, but not as elite as scouts think he will be) so it would be in the Cardinals best interest to trade now when they would get back more than what he’s worth. As in, making a non-insane suggestion on how to make the Cardinals better today. I don’t know why there is such backlash.

Joe
Guest
Joe
1 year 10 months ago

That’s funny; I don’t recall a single comment referring to Taveras as a “can’t miss,” or any name-calling for that matter.

What surprised and disappointed me was the lengthy list of false comparables. Dave Cameron is ordinarily one of the more vigorous, rigorous, logical analysts out there. But names like Owings, Moustakas (career milb BABIP in the 280’s), Hoes, Tabata, Conger, Viciedo, etc., etc., have no business in any article evaluating Oscar Taveras’ potential. It would be unbearably tedious to go through Dave’s list name by name, detailing how none of the cited hitters match Taveras’ track record — so let’s just say a rewrite is desperately in order.

AK7007
Member
AK7007
1 year 10 months ago

It’s called hyperbole. My first sentence was an exaggeration, which was intended to emphasize that almost every pro-Tavaras comment amounts to a variation of “he was hurt!” or “those comps aren’t any good, he’ll be better than them!” One even went as far as to say verbatim “Only injuries can stop Taveras in the long run. Otherwise it’s a .300+ average with at least 25 taters annually in his prime.” Not a single would attempt to see past their own fandom and ask “is there a difference in perception and reality for this prospect” – you yourself got all caught up in complaining that he’s better than comparable players without backing it up, just “it’s too tedious to say why they don’t compare.” That’s the great thing about averages – you don’t need to compare one by one. It tells us that Tavaras might be closer to prospects a tier down rather than elite ones. You can disagree and say why Tavaras is going to be elite. But the premise is not absurd at all.

Hyperbole is not a crime, especially when it is followed by a paragraph that is not exaggerating, arguing within the premise of the discussion. (Tavaras’ value in comparison to scout projection)

Joe
Guest
Joe
1 year 10 months ago

Awww, I didn’t accuse you of any crime, sir. My response was quite bland, and yet you continue to express yourself with all the eloquence of a howler monkey. Respond if you like, but my work here is done. Adios.

redsox1
Member
redsox1
1 year 10 months ago

I enjoy reading contrarian views like this. Definitely a value add. Although I appreciate the read, I don’t agree with it. The YTD power numbers don’t concern me. With Taveras, seeing is believing. He has one of the prettiest swings in the game – a balanced, smooth, violent swing with an upward trajectory that’s going to put up lots of tape measure shots for many years to come.

jdbolick
Member
Member
1 year 10 months ago

I enjoy contrarian views when they’re actually based on something, not a hunch.

cable fixer
Guest
cable fixer
1 year 10 months ago

So what does an average age 25-27 year look like to you? Nate Schierholtz + better average?

Average RF/LF Defense
Slighty Below-Average Baserunning
.280/.330/.450 triple stat?
2-3 WAR?

Shankbone
Guest
1 year 10 months ago

Ignoring the exact statistical profile for a second, how about the amount of hype? Montero was a #3 overall prospect. Another former Card farm hand was as well: Colby Rasmus. Delmon Young occupied the very top of the BA 100 for 4 years. I’d say being a bit of a skeptic is justified at this point in time. Oh, and apparently there was some sort of ankle injury.

Not Ed Wade
Guest
Not Ed Wade
1 year 10 months ago

You’re joking, right? Tons of hyped prospects hit and miss, for all sorts of reasons. Citing some high-profile misses by BA is no better than the people who pull out one of Dave’s early foray’s into scouting…re: Cano: “In his prime, I think he could hit .280/.320/.400 while playing awful defense. Yipee”. Dude signed for a quarter of a billion dollars.

Neither Dave nor traditional scouts are clairvoyant. If you don’t have a healthy skepticism in either (or frankly anyone who is often wrong, but never in doubt), you’re doing it all wrong.

dirck
Guest
dirck
1 year 10 months ago

If you look back at spring training,when the Cardinals had pitching falling out of every orifice and weren’t sure what they were going to do with all of them ,it seems funny to see them considering trading their best hitting prospect to get more pitching just 4 months later .Cliches like “you can never have too much pitching” becomes clichés because they’re true .

jdbolick
Member
Member
1 year 10 months ago

The same holds true for columns about the Dodgers needing to trade outfielders. In sports, you can never have too much of anything that has positive value.

Matt Kemp
Guest
Matt Kemp
1 year 10 months ago

Especially payroll.

VaCardsFan
Guest
VaCardsFan
1 year 10 months ago

My “meh” response to Taveras is based not on numbers, though his worth can certainly be argued based on those (take, for example, his 62% ground ball rate), but on a nonspecific impression after watching every one of his games. He seems like one of those guys who has all the skills, and who historically has been good enough to do well without having to work very hard at it. But in the majors, if you don’t work hard, you don’t last. I watch him in RF and he has a habit at times of not quite running down balls. He made a good throw the other night to get the guy out at second, but he should have caught that ball in the first place. It was just a sort of lazy play and the ball dinked off the end of his glove as a result. And I see that a lot from him. Doesn’t seem to have a Pujols or Holliday work ethic. I know it’s early, but …

Craig Edwards
Member
Member
1 year 10 months ago

He worked out with Holliday who said he was a very hard worker.

Del
Guest
Del
1 year 10 months ago

What else is he going to say?

VaCardsFan
Guest
VaCardsFan
1 year 10 months ago

Exactly. What else is he going to say? You don’t diss a teammate. If he’s such a hard worker, why has it taken him 5 years to get here? Oh, yeah. The injuries. So either he’s really unlucky or he’s injury-prone. Another reason not to think of him too highly.

Mike Trout
Guest
Mike Trout
1 year 10 months ago

The kid who just turned 22 that’s had injury issues? Yeah, what’s his problem…

Who hangs up first
Guest
Who hangs up first
1 year 10 months ago

Profar for Taveras? GO!

tz
Guest
tz
1 year 10 months ago

Shin-Soo Choo and Jhonny Peralta say thanks for your patience.

tz
Guest
tz
1 year 10 months ago

In some way, I think being down on Taveras right now is similar to being down on Bryce Harper, relative to their expectations a few years ago.

For each, injuries have obviously hurt their performance. More importantly, for younger players it can delay development time and keep them further back on the aging curve.

So I’d say wait and see on both these guys. If they regain momentum on their development and stay healthy, Harper could be a HOFer and Taveras a big-time star. But if injuries take away development time while speeding up their physical decline, they could have disappointing careers. Too early to tell.

everdiso
Member
everdiso
1 year 10 months ago

I would say selling on any top-5 prospect is “selling high” probably about 80% of the time.

CircleChange11
Guest
1 year 9 months ago

Agreed. One is right to be sketical of any prospect.

I recall reading about how gifted, smart, and hard working Jay Bruce is/was. “He even makes adjustments in a single at bat.”

Hes still developing.

Oliver
Guest
Oliver
1 year 10 months ago

Pondering Taveras first, note that his zone distance is quite solid for the year as a whole: 1.13 feet. That’s superlative, in the company of sluggers like Giancarlo Stanton and this year’s version of Justin Morneau. He couples that to a solid plate discipline profile, including a swing distance of .9 feet and a swinging strike rate of 12 percent. I suspect that Taveras is already a fine hitter, even if his performance is lagging. Cardinals’ skipper Mike Matheny has had trouble finding playing time for the young phenom, but perhaps he ought to reconsider that choice.

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=24287

This article couldn’t disagree more.

VaCardsFan
Guest
VaCardsFan
1 year 10 months ago

“… Taveras is already a fine hitter even if his performance is lagging.” Dude, that’s like saying “I suspect the sky is red even though it looks blue.” PERFORMANCE IS ALL THAT MATTERS.

Ruralman
Guest
Ruralman
1 year 10 months ago

No–cause performance is partially random. Sometimes good hitters can be bad (for 100PAs at a time) and bad hitters can be good (for 100PAs at a time). Taveras is more likely to be a good hitter who’s had some bad bounces, is what that article says.

paperlions
Guest
paperlions
1 year 10 months ago

Was this copied and pasted from a Bryce Harper article?

“the kind of minor leaguer that teams should be willing to trade, because the consensus about his potential has been outstripping his performance for a while now.”

Ipso Farto
Guest
Ipso Farto
1 year 10 months ago

Did you know that Bryce Harper, OF is an anagram for Brace For Hype. Okay, it’s really Brace For Hyper. But that works too!

Joel
Guest
Joel
1 year 10 months ago

I recently caught a Cards game in St Louis where they were playing the Pirates. I play in a dynasty Strat-o-matic league and try to catch as many recent call ups/ prospects as possible.

The “eye” test between Polanco and Tavares was surprising and I came away from the game with one word for Tavares stuck in my head. Lazy.

Tavares was playing in right and a foul ball was popped up near the right field stands. It ended up about 2 rows into the stands and would not have been playable, but there was no way Tavares could have known that as the ball left the bat. He never moved. Same batter hits a drive in the gap, he was standing flat footed before the pitch and the ball hits off his mitt for a double (a play he would have made had he been paying more attention). He looked bored on defense which for a recent call up is inexcusable.

Polanco was the opposite. He looked excited to be getting a chance in the bigs.

I find it shocking that any player when getting their first chance to play in the major leagues would look as bored as Tavares did. I expect to see them jumping at the bit like Polanco.

Definitely not Fangraphs worthy analysis here, but something I hope others will watch when they catch a Cards game.

Ruralman
Guest
Ruralman
1 year 10 months ago

if you really want to have some fun with Dave Cameron’s prospecting talent, go check out the organizational rankings from a few years ago. They are comically wrong. I’ll start believing his “cherry-picked comparables approach” as soon as it starts working.
http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/organizational-rankings-1/

My favorite bit is his complete skepticism for Andrew McCutchen.
“Can McCutchen hit for enough power to put some fear into opposing pitchers?”
Yes.

Emcee Peepants
Guest
Emcee Peepants
1 year 10 months ago

McCutchen is 5’10”, 190 soaking wet and in 2009 was coming off a season where he hit 9 HR in 590 PAs at AAA with a .115 ISO. His power development was no sure thing at that time and was primarily used as a leadoff hitter his first 2 seasons in the bigs. I’m sure like any prospect evaluation, there are some laughers in there, but questioning McCutchen’s power with the available facts in 2009 was not one of them.

Ruralman
Guest
Ruralman
1 year 10 months ago

He was also (depending on your prospect rankings) a top 10-20 prospect at that time. DC disagreed with the prospect rankings because he’s such a fine scout, except that he’s not, as has been proven over, and over, and over. As I said, I might be more inclined to trust DC’s prospect takes if they had ever been shown to be more accurate than actual rankings (not to mention projection systems, which also disagree with him re: Taveras).

lesmash
Member
Member
lesmash
1 year 10 months ago

So what are some fair comps for Taveras? Are we talking Michael Cuddyer as a floor and Moises Alou as a ceiling?

Emcee Peepants
Guest
Emcee Peepants
1 year 10 months ago

I said Hunter Pence above – Taveras’s Oliver Projections and Pence’s current production match up pretty well.

OLIVER projection system
Guest
OLIVER projection system
1 year 10 months ago

Pence is a comp, yes — but that’s the excellent Pence of 2013/2014, and NOT the very good career-level Pence.

Recent Pence is the comp, with his ~133 wRC+, not career Pence with his 121. With a 133, Taveras would be a 4-5 WAR guy depending on defense/baserunning. I’m sure that St. Louis would take that in a heartbeat.

me
Guest
me
1 year 10 months ago

His numbers look a lot like oswaldo arcia if you ask me.

OLIVER projection system
Guest
OLIVER projection system
1 year 10 months ago

Nope. Arcia’s milb strikeout rates dwarf Taveras’. Not a valid comp, even before the age-to-league advantage for Taveras is accounted for.

It really is difficult to find a proper, accurate comp for Taveras — which is why people keep coming back again & again to Vlad the Impaler (unfair though it is to hang such expectations on anyone).

Flokie
Guest
Flokie
1 year 10 months ago

This is just speculation anyway. We will not know until he gets a few years of full-time at bats at the big league level. Since he has been up, he plays once every three games. As with any sport, you have to play consistently to see what kind of player you will be. He hasn’t had that chance yet at the major league level.
I don’t understand the situation really. Either trade Craig, or play Taveras in center. Otherwise, what in the hack is he doing sitting the pine for? Or, trade Taveras. Going back to AAA doesn’t make much sense, and him sitting 2 of 3 doesn’t either.

Wobatus
Guest
Wobatus
1 year 10 months ago

Arcia has had higher ISOs generally but struck out over 20% of the time in AAA while Oscar’s K rate was less than 12%.

dave
Guest
dave
1 year 10 months ago

the worst thing you could do is bad mouth him; these prospects freaks are crazy and just a mere hint of their guy may or may not be a stud sends them into a frenzy. If all goes well, .280 20.

OLIVER projection system
Guest
OLIVER projection system
1 year 10 months ago

Yes, just look at all the craziness in this thread. Violent language, nudity, decapitations. Yeah, you sure don’t want to rile up those insane prospect freaks, huh? Frenzied as a shark with a bucket of chum.

DSC
Guest
1 year 9 months ago

I’m not big on any stat that references anything like ‘park factors’ After all, The Angels’ stadium was classed as a hitter’s park in the 2000’s, yet now is firmly classed a pitcher’s park. Yet nobody goes back and adjusts WAR et al for guys in the 00’s.

Why not adjust for wind too? Some years the wind at Wrigley blows in an awful lot, others years there are so many games it’s blowing out. San Fran too. What about adjusting for day/night games? What about adjusting for surface (some grass is long, others short, turf makes balls roll faster and bounce differently). And then there’s pitchers. Everyone knows that at times some divisions, heck some leagues have been pitching weak, and others the entire division was loaded with pitching, yet no adjustments for that. And yes, some teams see Felix Hernandez and guys an order of magnitude lower 30-50 times a year and other teams never face those guys once all year, what about adjusting for that? A manager takes Player A out when the other team has a great junk ball pitcher or flamethrower, where’s the adjustment for that? Where’s the adjustment for never facing left-hand pitchers, or left-hand hitters? WE all know those would be impossible to adjust for fairly.

So instead we go beyond the best stats, OBP, runs, ExBH, the basics, and cobble together looks that are biased on their face and often entirely useless. Add to that the fact that they’re not predictive. Yet so many use them like they mean something and are fair. Sad.

Rick
Guest
Rick
1 year 9 months ago

He’d be a lot better if he wasn’t such a lazy base runner.

TROLL
Guest
TROLL
1 year 7 months ago

He’d be a lot better if he wasn’t dead.

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