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Cards honor two as tops of the farm system

6:31 PM, Nov 30, 2012   |    comments
St. Louis Cardinals top prospect Oscar Taveras is killing it in the Dominican Winter League. Peter G. Aiken-US PRESSWIRE
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(KSDK Sports) - The ultimate goal for every minor leaguer is to one day make the major leagues, but the road to St. Louis is paved with hardwork and guts.  Today, the team honored two players who are doing their part to someday make their mark in Cardinal history.

Today, the St. Louis Cardinals announced their 2012 Minor League Pitcher and Player of the Year, awarding outfielder Oscar Taveras with the Player of the Year and right-handed pitcher Seth Maness with the Pitcher of the Year.

It was the first annual award won by either of the players. The Springfield Cardinals were also honored by Baseball America as their Minor League Team of the Year.

Taveras, 20, played the entire 2012 season at Springfield and entered the season rated as the 3rd-best prospect in the Cardinals organization by Baseball America.

The left-handed hitting Taveras, a non-drafted free agent out of the Dominican Republic, earned Texas League Player of the Year honors leading the Springfield Cardinals to their first Texas League crown since rejoining the League in 2005.

Taveras batted .321 with 23 home runs and 94 RBI, leading the Texas league in batting, while ranking tied for fourth in home runs and second in RBI. Among Cardinals farmhands, Taveras led the organizational teams in hits (153), doubles (37), triples (7), home runs, runs batted in, slugging percentage (.572) and on base+slugging (.953).

"Oscar had a tremendous season as he continued to demonstrate the outstanding hitting potential that he's shown throughout his career while making big strides in the other equally important aspects of his game," said Cardinals Farm Director John Vuch.

Maness, 24, the Cardinals 11th-round selection out of East Carolina University, started the season at Palm Beach before quickly ascending to Springfield and was a key contributer to the Cardinals post-season championship run.

Despite his promotion on May 21, Maness still accumulated totals to rank 3rd in the Texas League in ERA (3.27), second in wins (11) and led the league with a 1.06 WHIP (walks+hits/innings pitched).

His full-season totals were a 14-4 with a 2.97 ERA over 169.2 innings pitched with a 1.04 WHIP. His workload of 169.2 innings pitched ranked sixth in all of Minor League Baseball.

"While there were numerous qualified candidates throughout the organization, Seth's phenomenal command, along with his consistent excellence throughout the season made him a deserving winner of this honor," said Vuch.

The Springfield Cardinals were awarded Minor League Team of the Year by Baseball America for the first time since returning to the Texas League. First year manager Mike Shildt led the Cardinals to a first place finish in the second half of the season and Springfield defeated Tulsa before knocking off Frisco three games to one in the Texas League Championship.

"The 2012 Springfield Cardinals were a special team," explained Vuch. "They demonstrated the tenacity necessary to overcome their early-season adversity. While the team had many examples of outstanding individual accomplishments, each player demonstrated their willingness to do whatever was necessary to help their teammates win. Our coaching staff, led by Shildt, struck an ideal balance between development and winning. Their focus on teaching and playing the game the right way led to winning games becoming a by-product of that process."

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