Any time hundreds of writers descend on a national event, such as Sunday’s MLB All-Star Futures Game in Kansas City, finding a unique angle on any story is just about impossible.
Not so for Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun, who was clearly up to the challenge. The veteran writer unearthed a gem about the man previously best known around the game as “Minor League Guy.” That label stuck after FOX Sports Midwest was unable to identify the St. Louis Cardinals top position player prospect by name during a spring training broadcast, instead flashing the generic graphic.
Of course, I am referring to Springfield outfielder Oscar Taveras.
Last month, the just-turned-20-year-old earned the Texas League All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award and collected his second Cardinals organization Player of the Month award in three chances this season. On Sunday, Taveras was one of just three World players to remain in for the entire game, going 1-for-3 with a sacrifice fly.
But the most interesting Taveras news coming out of Kauffman Stadium this past weekend is the story behind his passport, or at least one of them.
Elliott reports that Oscar spent his ages 12 until 16 living in Montreal, where he played midget ball. Had he not returned home to the Dominican Republic, Taveras would have been eligible for the MLB draft following high school. Instead, he signed with St. Louis four months after his 16th birthday. Less than four years later, the native of Puerto Plata, DR has become one of the top hitting prospects in the game.
The outfielder also shared that he has a baseball lineage. His father had once been an outfielder in the Milwaukee minor league system before suffering an elbow injury.
Taveras answered affirmatively to the question of whether or not he would be interested in playing for Team Canada in the 2013 World Baseball Classic.
“Play for Canada? Why not? I have a Canadian passport,” Taveras told the paper. “I’ve never played for Canada before. It would be good for me. I work very hard at my game.”
After all, if Taveras made the Dominican WBC team, he would likely take a back seat to established MLB stars. On the other hand, it he suits up for the Great White Northerners, he would be the biggest Cardinal to hit Team Canada since Stubby Clapp!