Saturday, April 15, 2006

Willy Taveras Beginning to Persude the Jury

While Willy Taveras enjoyed the attention of his Rookie of the Year candidacy last year, the Astros were secretly alarmed at his lack of power. Not only did Taveras lack warning track power but he even had difficulty reaching the edge of the grass just beyond the basepaths. Taveras' .291 '05 batting average was built on 70 infield hits, many coming on bunts. And the more the year wore on, the more Taveras struggled to hit with authority. Miraculously, three times Taveras happened to be swinging where a fastball was whizzing past and he connected for three homers. The Astros have no ambitions of turning Taveras into a flyball hitter, but after tinkering with his swing are finally satisfied that Taveras is beginning to put some wood on the ball. Taveras is playing an energetic center field and has touched the .300 plateau during the short season, though he has yet to steal a base after stealing 34 last year. The outlook is favorable but it will yet be some time before the jury determines whether Taveras can live up to his promise.