By COREY NOLES
With one tweet from longtime St. Louis Cardinals writer Rob Rains of StLSportsPage.com, all of St. Louis was turned on its edge Saturday night.
Rains tweeted that he had learned from "a source in Memphis," that Oscar Taveras had cleaned out his locker at Auto Zone Park in Memphis and was being promoted to the major league club.
After much speculation, ESPNDesportes and Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch confirmed his report--noting that the Cardinals were remaining very quiet on the subject.
While all of the discussion tonight seems to be on everything Taveras is expected to be, I thought it would be a good time to concentrate on a few things he is not--just to keep it all in perspective.
Oscar Taveras is not...the one to blame if the spark plug doesn't work.
Obviously, the hope is that Taveras will give the Cardinals offense the much needed jump start that the sluggish offense has been lacking. It's entirely possible Taveras could be just the spark they need.
In 49 games with the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds, Taveras is batting .325/.373/.524--a solid line that's definitely earned a ride up I-55 to the 'Lou.
Taveras has only 25 strikeouts in 209 at bats and 14 walks, seven home runs and 40 RBI.
I have little doubt he'll carry some of that success over to St. Louis, but the transition to the big leagues isn't typically an easy one. If the Cardinals don't instantly come to life, he's not the one to blame.
The team has a handful of other issues that have contributed to the slow-ish start. Outfield depth has had little to do with it. If he's not putting up huge numbers on day one, be patient.
Oscar Taveras is not...Jim Edmonds. Defensively.
Defense has had plenty to do with why Taveras had not yet made the jump to the majors. While he's been characterized as average with a glove, it's important to understand that his time in centerfield has been extremely limited.
Of course, that could be a moot point since in all likelihood his promotion is partly due to Matt Adams injury. If Adams indeed makes a trip to the disabled list, Allen Craig would shift to first base, sending Taveras into right field--a position more suited to his defensive skills.
I'm not saying he won't improve; I just want to be clear and up front that the Cardinals have never been big on his glove, so don't be shocked when he's not Jim Edmonds.
Oscar Taveras is not...an instant 40 home run hitter.
Taveras can hit the long ball, but he's not Barry Bonds, and that's a misconception that some seem to have about him.
He's capable of 25-30 home runs in a season, just don't be looking for it this season. It's a big jump that he's making and may require some adjustments.
Taveras is a legitimate overall hitter capable of hitting for average and for power. What makes him the most attractive, however, is his knack for situational hitting.
So far this season, he's batting .479 with runners in scoring position, .379 with base runners and .358 when he gets ahead in the count.
Taveras also has consistent numbers against both left and right-handed pitching. He's hitting .344/.379/.525 against LHP and .315/.371/.523 against RHP.
He may not break the home run record, but his bat is plenty to be excited about--regardless of what he's hitting.
Oscar Taveras is not...going to solve the Cardinals bullpen issues.
In recent games, the bullpen has created as much of an issue for the Cardinals as their offense if not more.
Taveras can help the offense, but the bullpen issues are their own problem. In all likelihood they'll work themselves out.
I only mention this because it needs to be understood that the promotion of Taveras doesn't instantly mean the Cardinals become a 100-win team (as my pre-season picks suggested.) It could happen, but if it doesn't, remember there are other issues.
Oscar Taveras is not...the garden-variety top prospect.
Oscar Taveras is more than just the organization's top prospect--he's one of the top prospects in baseball.
It's important to distinguish between those two different concepts.
An organization's top prospect can be exciting. One of the top prospects in baseball is a huge deal.
National writers from all over the game will descend on Busch Stadium-possibly Saturday. Scouts will do the same.
They'll want to see how he fares against big league caliber pitching. They'll be looking for his one weakness (ie, the Matt Adams defensive shift.)
Most of all, it will be exciting for Cardinals fans. Sit back. Relax. And enjoy the ride.
Oscar Taveras is...the real deal.
Corey Noles is a Cardinals Writer and Columnist for The Daily Statesman. He is also a regular contributor to Bleacher Report and KSDK.com. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @coreynoles.