One of baseball’s brightest young prospects, OF Oscar Tavares, died on Sunday in a car accident while driving with his girlfriend, Edilia Arvelo, outside the city of Puerto Plata, the Dominican Republic. She was 18. Tavares was 22.
Sadly, the announcement of his death went out while the World Series was being played.
The Cardinals signed Taveras as an amateur free agent on Nov. 15, 2008, out of the Dominican Republic when he was 16.
By 2011, Taveras' solidified his reputation as a special talent: he hit .386 with a .444 on-base percentage and a .584 slugging percentage at Class A Quad Cities in the Midwest League. He moved up to Double-A Springfield in the Texas League and hit .321 with 23 home runs, 94 RBIs and a .572 slugging percentage.
He was the Texas League Player of the Year in 2012 and he was selected to play in the All-Star Futures Game in both 2012 and 2013. A high ankle sprain limited his time at Triple-A Memphis in 2013, but he still went into 2014 as MLB.com's No. 2 prospect.
He was hitting .325 with a .524 slugging percentage at Memphis when he was called up to the Major Leagues at the end of May. He made his Major League debut on May 31 and hit a home run in his second at-bat off of Giants pitcher Yusmeiro Petit in the Cardinals' 2-0 victory, yielding a curtain call.
He was sent back down on June 19, recalled on June 30 and ended up playing in 80 games for the Cardinals. He hit .239 with three home runs and 22 RBIs. He was on the Cardinals postseason roster and had a pinch-hit home run in Game 2 of the NLCS against the Giants.