Tag Archives: oscar taveras

Whispers: Randall Grichuk And The Voices In The Shadows That Will Haunt Him

After the tragic loss of Oscar Taveras, I noticed that some bloggers turned their gaze upon Randal Grichuk, someone who was considered an elite prospect not that long ago, and immediately said (and yes, I’m paraphrasing a little) “He’s not Oscar, we’re in trouble!”

This made me wonder if the ghost of Oscar will haunt Grichuk throughout the season: If he doesn’t make a timely hit to drive in a run, someone might say emphatically “Oscar would’ve gotten that hit!” or if he misses a catch, we might hear “Oscar would’ve caught that!”

The pressure to perform at the big league level is intense, something Oscar himself felt alot of, being a home grown uber-talent.

Grichuk didn’t quite have that, as he was acquired in a trade as a throw-in, a secondary addition designed to sweeten the pot and make the trade work. The primary pressure burden of that trade lay on Peter Bourjos.

Grichuk did have a little presure, as does every high end prospect. Now, however, I fear that the ghost of Oscar will increase that pressure at least ten-fold, especially in the online community.

As I said, Grichuk was an elite prospect not that long ago, and was on the roster, battling Oscar for playing time as recently as the playoffs. Randal had earned that playing time. He did struggle some, but so had Oscar during much of the season, to the point that his manager had called him out in public, a rare tactic for Mike Matheny to use. Grichuk obviously wasn’t alone in his struggles.

Grichuk has his strengths, he’s a thumper. With development and patience, he could turn into a 25 to 30 home run hitter. He’s at least an average fielder, and can get better over time. The plate discipline and successful contact will some things to keep an eye on, but I think given time, and mentorship from the likes of Matt Carpenter and others, he’ll get better in those areas as well.

All in all, Grichuk is an above average prospect, a seperate entity from Oscar who just might succeed if we give him a chance.

As such, I have a simple request: When Randall makes an error, or strikes out or does any other negative thing, instead of saying “Oscar would’ve done that” simply say Grichuk should’ve done that.” Also, when Randal does something well, celebrate, instead of saying: “Big deal, Oscar would’ve done that too.” Small things, but I think we need to encourage the right fielder of our future, not dwell on what might have been.

As always, thanks for reading.

Fallen…

Don’t really know what I’m going for here, so let’s just start with a story…

I’m the eighth and last kid in my family. There was also the largest gap between me and my sister, the second last, at five years. The rest were closer bunched together. I was kind of the “last hurrah” if you will.

In my mind, all of this meant that, as I got older, me and my dad would do things together. Baseball trips, road trips in general, heck, I might even join him on his hunting trips down to our family property in a town called St. Genevieve.

He often took those trips by himself, whether just to get away, or that he just found it easier to hunt alone, I never knew.

On one of those solo trips, he was apparently either on his way in or on his way out, and he dropped his gun, which went off. I was thirteen at the time.

We don’t know why the safety wasn’t on, but that’s not really the point. The point is someobody was taken from us prematurely, at I time where I was expecting things from him, whether I knew it or not.

Now my dad was in his 50’s, he’d lived a full life, had eight kids, done a lot. Only thing he didn’t get was retirement and the chance to live the relaxed, laid back retirement life.

Also, by that time, everyone knew who my dad was, his persona had fully developed. Dad was a relatively quiet and humble guy who enjoyed the occasional cigar and liked to BBQ on the weekends.

By contrast, Oscar Taveras, who died in a car accident, hadn’t really begun to live. As fans, we were all looking forward to seeing Oscar in his prime, both as a player and as a person. Would he develop a humble personality? Would he have a little flair like Carlos Gomez, would he become a diehard fundraiser like Jason Motte? Would he? Would he? Would he? That’s what we should miss the most, the development and growth of Oscar as a person, and getting to see it before our eyes.

He also never really got the chance to live, at least not live the life a baseball salary would allow him to.

As a Christian, I truly believe Oscar is in heaven now, a better place, where, as someone said, he’s playing baseball and Jack Buck is calling the game.

So long Oscar, keep hitting homers in heaven.

Four Ourfielders Outfielders For Two Spots

Oscar Taveras, Randall Grichuk and Peter Bourjos all have cases for playing in the outfield right now. The problem is there’s only one spot open, as Jon Jay has been hitting well lately. Assuming Jay continues to hit, who gets the spot? We’re also going to say that consistency equals production, so rotating on a daily basis is out of the question (though defensive replacement in later innings is allowed)

For today, let’s forget the long term situation and decide who starts against Jake Peavy…

Taveras bats left while Grichuk and Bourjos bat right. Peavy allows a higher average to righties .265 vs .249 to lefties) but allowed over twice as many home runs (16 to 7) to lefties.

Given our power struggles during the regular season, I say we take the slight hit in average and slot Taveras in the lineup and have him play right with Jay playing center. Yes we’ve hit some home runs during the off season but who knows if it’s going to last, so my feeling is you take advantage of any power boost you can get.

As for long term…

Since Jon Jay is a lefty, you could technically keep all four and play the platoon split game, with Jay n Taveras pairing up one day and Grichuk and Bourjos the next, with any of the four giving Matt Holliday a rare day off. However, since I doubt management wants to pay five outfielders, the odd man out, to me, seems to be Bourjos. Both Grichuk and Taveras have high upsides management can dream on and Jay has become something of a fan favorite. That leaves Bourjos. While I like Bourjos, if Jay can keep his high OBP (.372 this year) I’m ok with moving Bourjos. Jay has had a .370+ OBP in the past, with a .373 OBP in 2012, so it’s possible. Plus, his career OBP is .359, so it’s not that far off the mark.

As always, thanks for reading.