Oscar Taveras : Cardinals rising star dies in a car accident

Updated: October 27, 2014
Oscar Taveras : Cardinals rising star dies in a car accident

Oscar Taveras, a top outfield prospect with the St. Louis Cardinals, died Sunday in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic. He was 22.

Leading into each of the last two seasons, Taveras was ranked among the top three prospects in the sport by Baseball America. He made his major league debut this year, batting .239 with three home runs and 22 runs batted in in 80 games.

Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak told MLB.com, “Obviously, we have deep condolences to his family. We are still waiting for more details before issuing a full statement.”

“I think he can be a star, and I think he showed things all season long that showed that,” St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said of Taveras, per MLB.com, after the Cardinals lost to the San Francisco Giants in the National League Championship Series. “You see some things there offensively that absolutely excite you.”

“I think part of that process is that he’s never been pushed and never naturally had that passion for the defensive side of the game. He’s never had that passion for the baserunning and some of the minor details, which are things that he’s now seen guys in that clubhouse who have been around here for a long time, it’s all. It’s all or nothing. I think that’s part of his maturing.”

Taveras appeared as a pinch hitter in seven of the Cardinals’ postseason games this month, going 3-for-7. His best moment occurred in Game 2 of the NLCS, when his seventh-inning solo homer of San Francisco reliever Jean Machi tied the game at 3-3. The Cardinals went on to win 5-4 on second baseman Kolten Wong’s walk-off homer.

Taveras was expected to battle with Randal Grichuk and Stephen Piscotty to be the regular right fielder in 2015.

A left-handed hitter, Taveras signed with the Cardinals as an international free agent in 2008. He spent six seasons in the minor leagues, hitting a combined .320 with a .376 on-base percentage, a .516 slugging percentage, 53 homers and 324 RBIs in 436 games.

Baseball America and MLB.com both listed Taveras as the No. 3 prospect in the game before both the 2013 and 2014 seasons. Baseball Prospectus had him at No. 2 ahead of 2013 and No. 3 prior to 2014.