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Brian Walton's news and commentary on the St. Louis Cardinals (TM) and their minor league system

Why are Taveras and Wong in the Futures Game?

The St. Louis Cardinals 2013 All-Star Futures Game representatives of outfielder Oscar Taveras (World squad) and second baseman Kolten Wong (USA) should seem familiar. That is because both Memphis Redbirds also played in the 2012 Futures Game, then as Springfield Cardinals.

I have no issue with the selections – after all, the two are the highest-ranked position player prospects in the Cardinals system. Yet one has to wonder why with so many other prospects in the organization, especially pitchers, why one or two of them were not chosen instead.

I have no idea why not, but here is a theory. The two top pitching prospects in the system coming into the season, Shelby Miller and Trevor Rosenthal, are now well-established major leaguers. As current members of the 25-man roster, they would be ineligible to play.

The next tier down is current Memphis rotation-mates Michael Wacha and Carlos Martinez, also nationally-ranked prospects.

Martinez has already pitched in the Futures Game, back in 2011. Further, he is coming off his best start of the year for Memphis and perhaps the organization does not want to disrupt the routine of the possible unofficial sixth starter for St. Louis.

Wacha already has a very high profile, both from spring training camp and his MLB debut. The Cardinals are managing his first full season as a professional carefully and there seems little benefit in sending Wacha to New York (again). The right-hander made his most recent St. Louis start in the Big Apple against the Mets on June 11.

In addition to their obvious talents, there are motivational reasons to choose Wong and Taveras again.

Wong has played well with Memphis, but has also seen Matt Carpenter take advantage of a half-season head start to seize the second base job in St. Louis. That happens to be the only position Wong plays. Giving Wong some repeated exposure in the Futures Game is a nice perk – short of the call to St. Louis that could still be months away.

Taveras has been slowed for weeks with a high ankle sprain – long before Futures rosters were set. Though he made it back onto Memphis’ active roster for about two weeks, he returned to the DL by the time the Futures announcement was made. Perhaps there is hope that the outfielder will be 100 percent healed by the July 14 game.

In fact, maybe the worldwide spotlight is being used as a carrot. Could those who may be concerned about the slowness of Taveras’ recovery use the Futures invitation as an additional incentive for the just-turned 21-year-old to get back onto the field?

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Brian Walton

Brian Walton runs The Cardinal Nation and The Cardinal Nation Blog, covering the St. Louis Cardinals and minor league system.
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9 Responses to “Why are Taveras and Wong in the Futures Game?”

  1. blingboy says:

    “Could those who may be concerned about the slowness of Taveras’ recovery use the Futures invitation as an additional incentive for the just-turned 21-year-old to get back onto the field?”

    I hope the slowness of Taveras’s recovery is due entirely to factors which could not be speeded up with incentive. I’m sure the Cards org hopes the same thing.

    Are you suggesting that they may be trying to find out?

  2. CariocaCardinal says:

    I’m becoming doubtful that Wong will see STL this year short of an injury or total collapse be one of our MI. he doesn’t have to be put on the 40 man in the off season and it space there could be at a premium this Winter.

    • blingboy says:

      I agree. Not to mention the only reason we would need a 2nd baseman of the future on the 40 man is if Matt Carpenter is the something else of the future, and I doubt the Cards want to go there before this winter.

      • WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

        How much do power hitting 2nd baseman make? …. If you have one……cheap…… use him…..let Wong play AAA for a few years…………If you want to bounce Freese…….get a caveman that cranks over there. Put Craig back at third and Adams at first.

  3. WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

    Read this. Will the Yankee blow it? Dollar on a dime say the commissioner is working with a umber of folks in these trying times.

    • blingboy says:

      Insurance companies pay lots of money to actuaries who figure out liklihood of loss. By now, they recognize the significance of being post-roid era. A bit late. They are probably ready to fall on their sword over Albert’s contract.

  4. Bw52 says:

    Seems that Shelby Miller has hit a bump in the road.This makes 3 bad starts out of his 4.It happens.Cards need to wake up the bats.The Pirates in 1st place?

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