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Willy Taveras (Willy Taveras) was born on December 25, 1981 in Tenares, Salcedo (Dominican Republic). He made his Major League debut on September 6, 2004 for the Houston Astros. In 2005, his rookie year, he hit .291 with 3 home runs and 29 RBI. He currently plays for the Colorado Rockies.
Taveras is a slap hitter in the mold of Juan Pierre. He has little extra base power and even less home run power, but that's not his game. Taveras is one of, if not the fastest player in baseball and knows how to utilize that speed. In his rookie season he led the majors with 71 infield hits, surprising infielders with his blazing speed. He also led rookies in hits (172), runs (82), stolen bases (34) and batting average (.291). The main knock on Taveras at the plate is his lack of discipline. He struck out 103 times and walked just 25 times his rookie season, resulting in a paltry .325 on-base percentage.
Baserunning and Defense
Taveras hasn't had the success stealing bases that one would expect from someone with his speed. Astros coaches tried to get him to take bigger leads off first base, but he still struggles to read pitchers moves and can't get the necessary jumps to be consistently successful. Other than that, Taveras is a very good baserunner and almost always takes the extra base when he can.
His defense can best be described as inconsistent. His outstanding speed allows him to get to balls most other center fielders won't even try for, but his routes often leave a lot to be desired. He struggles going straight back for fly balls and will take odd routes on balls hit into the gaps. Despite his small stature, Taveras has a very strong and accurate arm and could conceivably play right field if the need ever arose.
Right now, Taveras looks like Alex Sanchez but his ceiling is probably somewhere around Juan Pierre. Taveras showed better plate discipline in the minors than he has so far in the majors, but considering he skipped AAA altogether in 2005 his slow transition is to be expected. When he learns to read pitchers better and take larger leads off first base, he could turn into one of the game's premier base stealers.
- Signed as a non-drafted free agent by Cleveland Indians (May 27, 1999).
- Selected by Houston Astros from Cleveland Indians in the Rule 5 major league draft (December 15, 2003).
- Traded by Houston Astros with Taylor Buchholz and Jason Hirsh to Colorado Rockies in exchange for Jason Jennings (December 12, 2006).
- Taveras holds the Astros' franchise record for the most hits in consecutive games (30); the record was previously held by Jeff Kent.