Thar might be gold in that Taylor
The team with the largest payroll in the history of baseball shouldn’t be allowed to uncover massive gold nuggets while panning in the rivers of utility players, but they keep doing it.
The story of Justin Turner is already will documented, and now the question is, have they done it again?
Chris Taylor was a simple utility player who rode the train between AAA and the Mariners for several years. Even with 230 plate appearances, Chris Taylor had never hit a major league home run. When the Dodgers traded for him last summer he was playing in AAA and the price was simply Zach Lee. Or to be more succinct the price was nothing.
Taylor came over and hit a triple in his first game as a Dodger but didn’t do much for the first few weeks. He barely played getting seventeen plate appearances and getting three hits.
That all changed on July 15th when he got the start at second base. It all started quietly enough with Taylor striking out in his first at-bat. It got good after that. In his 2nd at-bat he hit a triple driving in two runs. In his 3rd at-bat he hit a double. His fourth at-bat he hit his first major league home run, which also was his first grand slam. It was a game of firsts for Taylor and the Dodgers:
1st LAD to hit a grand slam as his first home run
1st LAD second baseman to drive in six runs
1st LAD to hit a grand slam, a double, and triple in the same game
1st Dodger second baseman since Jackie Robinson to drive in six runs
Taylor would collect six hits in three games and while that was his offensive peak in 2016, it appears that was just a peak into what he was going to do in 2017.
I’ll let fangraphs take it from here: If you got this far, I’d really recommend clicking on the provided link, it is a fun read.
It’s also allowing him to walk a lot more. Taylor’s taken a free pass in an impressive 16.8% of his plate appearances, which happens to be the exact same rate at which Joey Votto‘s walking this season. So, to recap: Taylor is hitting for high average, hitting for power, walking at a high rate, and fielding well. He’s doing all that in some snappy stirrups, too. The Dodgers may have a hell of a find on their hands, even when the regression dragons decide to work their magic.