Cardinals prospect Oscar Taveras is crushing Double-A pitching at age 19

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Oscar Taveras isn’t quite in the same class of prospect as Bryce Harper or Mike Trout, but now that those two are both in the majors the Cardinals outfielder is making his case as one of the minors’ elite young hitters.

Taveras won’t be 20 years old for another six weeks, but he’s currently destroying Double-A pitching after making the jump from low Single-A (where he hit .386 last season).

Taveras smacked his seventh homer last night, which is already just one short of a career-high, and is now hitting .347 with a .694 slugging percentage and 1.078 OPS in 24 games at Double-A. HardballTalk’s resident Cardinals fan, Drew Silva, has taken to calling him Oscar “Ted Williams” Taveras and the teenager figures to be near the top of most midseason prospect rankings after placing 74th on Baseball America‘s preseason list.

Shohei Ohtani no longer facing Masahiro Tanaka on Sunday at Yankee Stadium

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Shohei Ohtani has essentially become the Angels’ designated Sunday starting pitcher, but Angels manager Mike Scioscia announced Thursday morning that the 23-year-old two-way Japanese star will be skipped in the rotation this weekend at Yankee Stadium for “workload management” purposes.

Ohtani is fine to continue hitting, so there’s no sense of any physical ailment.

This decision will rob us — and the Japanese media — of a showdown between Ohtani and countrymate Masahiro Tanaka. And for that we are rather devastated, but you can understand the Angels’ concerns about overuse.

Ohtani has registered a 3.35 ERA, 1.066 WHIP, and 52/14 K/BB ratio through his first 40 1/3 innings (seven starts) as a major league pitcher and he’s slashing .308/.364/.582 with six home runs and 19 RBI in 26 games as a part-time DH.