The Chris Taylor team

We like to think that what Chris Taylor is doing this year is kind of unique but is it? Seems like every team in baseball has a player who is doing things he’s never done before.  I decided to run through the league to see if I could build a team of Chris Taylors.

This team won’t include rookies or young players who have shown an upward trend over the past few years like Jonathan Schoop. This list should consist of veterans who have had a taste of the major leagues who simply were unproductive during their previous stints in the major leagues,  who no one would have expected this kind of production from based on their historical norms.

I was told recently how hard it is for players to change their swing at the major league level? But is it? Many of the players on this list are players who have attributed their new found success to making adjustments to the plane and deliberatively trying for more fly balls.

I thought it might be hard to find a starting lineup but it turns out I not only was able to find a starting lineup but a bench as well.

Catcher was easy with Alex Avila being a full-time catcher for the Tigers before being traded to the Cubs. This was a hitter who had a career OPS+ of barely 100 in over 2,000 plate appearances before exploding this year.  His reward was to get traded to the Cubs and become a backup catcher.

First base was easy, the hard part was deciding which first baseman would make the starting team. I went with Smoak who had struggled more throughout his career than Alonso and was also out producing Alonso. They are both having breakout years long after they had accumulated over 2,000 plate appearances.

I had to fudge just a tad to fit Chris Taylor in at second. I had a plethora of left fielders, and while Whit Merrifield is having a break out year his OPS+ is a shade under 120 while Chris Taylor is a top ten hitter in baseball.

Marwin Gonzalez made SS easy by switching over there from 1st base and the outfield when Carlos Correa went down.  Marwin is the MVP of the Chris Taylor team. If a blogger is doing this in Houston, he is calling this the Marwin Gonzalez team.

3rd base belongs to Travis Shaw with no competition I could find.

Lonnie Chisenhall owns right field

Did y’all know that baseball reference considers Jake Marisnick the starting CF for Houston? Neither did I. How about that jump in production? Tommy Pham and Aaron Hicks both played some CF but not enough to unseat Jake.

Jose Pirela has quietly been smoking down in San Diego. The infielder became an outfielder this year and has been the most outspoken about how he changed his hitting approach this summer. Padre fans who went into the summer hoping to see the future in Margot and Renfroe were surprised to find the future in Jose.

The chart below will show the team they got their primary playing time with. So even though Alex Avila is now a Cub he did his damage with the Tigers. Same with Yonder.  The Career OPS+ column is their career through 2016 with the cumulative plate appearances through 2016.

Starting Lineup:

Pos Player Team Career OPS+/PA 2017 OPS+/PA
C Alex Avila DET 101/2373 130/274
1st Justin Smoak TOR 95/2887 146/449
2nd Chris Taylor LAD 70/318 139/381
SS Marwin Gonzlaez HOU 89/1639 164/345
3rd Travis Shaw MIL 96/778 134/342
RF Lonnie Chisenhall CLE 97/1995 144/216
CF Jake Marisnick HOU 69/1038 132/209
LF Jose Pirela SD 55/144 130/225



Pos Player Team Career OPS+/PA 2017 OPS+/PA
1st Yonder Alonso OAK 103/2343 138/381
2nd Whit Merrifield KC 90/332 112/415
C Austin Barnes LAD 55/74 140/170
CF/LF Tommy Pham STL 111/358 133/354
CF/OF Aaron Hicks NYY 76/1289 142/247
LF Ezequiel Carrera TOR 84/980 117/245

1 Comment

  1. 68elcamino427

    It is amazing what some simple adjustments in technique can do to radically improve results.

    First requirement is skill and talent. The technique by itself does nothing.

    Saw this first hand with my eldest son when he was sixteen.
    As I have recounted in the past, we went to work with Mike Edwards.
    Everything that is being said today regarding swing plane, getting the ball in the air, launch angle, etc. I heard Mike say then, nineteen years ago.

    Gary Jr. did not possess MLB talent. Mike described his swing and results as “damn near”.
    At the time the young man was playing on a fall leauge scout team
    always hitting oppo and batting 9th.
    After working with Edwards for two weeks … like seeing him two times,
    my son was now hitting for power to all fields and batting fourth.
    It was difficult to believe the transformation.

    This is the type of swing Bonds used.
    At the time Vin would derisively call it a “spin swing”.

    Information can be powerful.


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