Cardinals’ prospect Oscar Taveras died on Sunday. The 22-year-old had a promising future before a terrible tragedy cut his life short.
While baseball fans were focused on game five of the World Series, the news of Taveras’ death started circulating. Prior to the 2014 season, he was rated the third-best prospect in baseball by BaseballProspectus.com and Baseball America.
Taveras and his girlfriend, Edilia Arvelo, were driving in his native Dominican Republic when they got into a car crash in a red Chevrolet Camaro. Both Taveras and his 18-year-old girlfriend died in the crash when their car slid because of heavy rain.
Taveras has been in the Cardinals’ system since 2009 and had success at every minor league level. In his minor league career, he batted .320 while showing some signs of power by hitting 23 home runs in 2012.
The outfielder was called up mid-season and played 80 games for St. Louis. In his second career at-bat, he homered, one of only three in his short career. He struggled in the big leagues and reached base at a clip of only .272.
The rookie managed to make this year’s postseason roster despite having a negative value in the regular season. His career-defining moment came in game two of the NLCS. Taveras pinch hit in the seventh inning and blasted a home run off of Giants’ reliever Jean Machi. The blast tied the game, but the Cardinals lost the game and the series. He pinch hit in games four and five, singling in game four.
Although he was primarily a centerfielder in the minors, Taveras mostly played right field for the Cardinals.
The lefty played in two All-Star Futures Games and was elected a Minor League All-Star three times, winning the All-Star game MVP in 2012.
Bill DeWitt Jr., the Cardinals owner, expressed his sympathy. “Oscar was an amazing talent with a bright future who was taken from us well before his time.”
“All of us throughout Major League Baseball are in mourning this evening, shocked by the heartbreaking news of the accident involving Cardinals outfielder Oscar Taveras,” MLB commissioner Bud Selig said. “Oscar, a young member of the baseball family, was full of promise and at the dawn of a wonderful career in our game, evident in his game-tying home run against the Giants exactly two weeks ago.”
Obviously, the death is a shock, and our thoughts are with both families involved. The entire baseball world was shaken at a time when the sport was supposed to showcase the best it had to offer. We are all less fortunate for not having Oscar Taveras longer.