- Willy Taveras was born in Tenares in the Dominican Republic on Christmas Day, 1981. In 1999 he was signed by the Cleveland Indians as an undrafted free agent, at age 17. He played in the Dominican Summer League that year.
- He spent 4 years in the Indians system, posting pretty mediocre numbers in each one. In 2001, he was rated the Indians #4 prospect by Baseball America. By 2003, he worked his way up to A+ ball, and showed some promise as a leadoff hitter, posting OBP figures in the .380s.
- He was selected by the Astros in the 2004 Rule V draft, but a roster spot wasn't available right away. The Astros purchased his contract, along with Some Dude's, in exchange for Jeriome Robertson, and assigned him to AA Round Rock.
- As soon as he got traded, he started hitting the cover off the ball. In his only season at AA, he posted a .335/.402/.386 in 409 ABs, with 55 SBs.
- He got the honor of representing the World team in the 2004 Futures Game during all-star weekend.
- That was enough to earn him a callup to the big league squad in September, bypassing AAA. He barely played, but was established as a pretty big deal in Houston, with his 230 career minor league steals to that point.
- Going into the 2005 season, he was named the Astros' #3 prospect by Baseball America. He earned the leadoff spot in center field out of spring training that year. In his rookie season, he had 592 ABs, putting up a line of .291/.325/.341. Not great for a leadoff hitter, but the 3 HRs he had that year are still a career high.
- His 34 SBs that year were good for 4th in the NL, and led all rookies.
- In 2006, his production stayed pretty much the same. He represented the Dominican Republic in the first World Baseball Classic that year.
- After that season, he was traded from the Astros to the Rockies, along with Taylor Buchholz and Jason Hirsh, for Jason Jennings and Miguel Asencio.
- The 2007 season saw Willy catch the injury bug a little bit, but he put up halfway decent numbers. He batted .320/.367/.382 out of the leadoff spot in the lineup, and his .749 OPS is the best he's put up in MLB.
- In 2008, he signed a 1-year deal with the Rockies. He batted .251/.308/.296, but he stole 68 bases, making Dusty fall in love.
- After the season, he was non-tendered by the Rockies.
- As soon as this happened, commenters on this website knew what was going to happen. chesirecat was first, and Scrabbles stated he would "lose it big time" if Taveras was our starting CF in 2009. bengalred, Brendanukkah, beasleymachine, Pops, BK, Turtle, and Man Mountain all predicted the signing before it happened.
- In the offseason, Taveras claimed that he was going to steal 100 bases in 2009. Color me skeptical. But, in honor of this magnificent acheivement, Red Reporter is going to honor this feat by tacking batting gloves to the sidebar, earning him the nickname Willy Mays Taveras. Of course, this nickname was already coined by Slyde all the way back in 2006.
MLB service time (As of Opening Day 2009): 4.028
Signed by scout: Winston Llenas
GM when acquired by Reds: Walt Jocketty
Current contract status: 2 year, $6.25M deal (2009-2010), makes $2.25M this season
(via the Baseball Cube)
RR Projected Wins Above Replacement: 0.7
Click any link below to view the graph above
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