Three highly-ranked prospects were given new assignments this past week, including an outfielder with the potential to quickly make an impact at the major league level.
The St. Louis Cardinals called up outfielder Oscar Taveras with the expectation that he will play every day in the absence of the injured Matt Adams.
Taveras, a 21-year-old Dominican, homered in the fifth inning of Saturday’s 2-0 victory over the San Francisco Giants in his second big league at-bat.
At Triple-A Memphis this season, he hit .325 with 15 doubles and seven home runs in 49 games. He owns a career .321 batting average and .373 on-base percentage in six minor league seasons.
The left-handed-hitting center fielder is known as perhaps the purest hitter in the minors. He has a feel for making consistently solid contact, which helps his power play to its potential. He also has an eye at the plate that allows for good walk totals while limiting strikeouts.
Taveras is capable of being a career .300 hitter in the major leagues while totaling 20 home runs each year. Whether he remains in center field is in question, but his bat is capable of carrying him at any position on the field. He has a strong arm and average athleticism.
It’s unknown how long Taveras will stay on the Cardinals roster considering their many options, but enjoy his hitting ability while he’s with the big league team. He’s an All-Star in the making.
• The Pittsburgh Pirates assigned outfielder Austin Meadows to Single-A West Virginia, of the South Atlantic League, on Friday.
Meadows, drafted ninth overall in 2013 out of Grayson High School in Loganville, Ga., had been rehabbing a hamstring injury suffered during spring training. The athletic center fielder is finally getting his first assignment this season.
Meadows signed for $3.025 million and immediately became one of the top prospects in a strong Pirates system, as well as a top 100 prospect. He finished 2013 by knocking around the rookie leagues with ease as an 18-year-old.
Meadows is a big, strong teenager with good power potential. His high school swing was geared for line drives, but he reportedly added lift after signing and hit seven home runs in 48 minor league games last year. He runs well for his size and is known as a pure hitter with a knack for squaring the ball consistently.
• The New York Mets assigned shortstop prospect Amed Rosario to Single-A Savannah on Tuesday.
Rosario wowed the Mets into giving him the largest international signing bonus in franchise history at $1.75 million in 2012. He boasts an exciting package of power, speed and defensive ability at only 18 years old.
Despite the tools, Rosario has a lot of development in front of him. He needs to shorten his swing and improve his plate discipline, evident by a .241 average and only 11 walks in 58 games for rookie-level Kingsport last season. He was given a rude welcome to the South Atlantic League on Thursday by going 0 for 5 with five strikeouts in his first game.
PLAYING PEPPER: A minor league first baseman’s first home run of the season was caught by more than just a fan recently.
Astros prospect Conrad Gregor hit his first homer of 2014 on May 24 for Single-A Quad Cities. The ball was caught by his father, Marty.
The Quad City Times reported Gregor’s parents drove five hours to watch their son play a weekend series. In the third game of the series against Cedar Rapids, Gregor launched a long fly ball to right-center field that found his father’s hands.
Gregor has since been promoted to Advanced-A Lancaster.