Bryce Harper, Jayson Werth Top List of Players to Watch in 2015

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Sep 23, 2014; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals right fielder Michael Taylor (18) hits a RBI double during the fifth inning against the New York Mets at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Crush of the Year: Michael Taylor

I know what you’re thinking: how can I call Michael Taylor my “breakout player” to watch today when just a few days prior I questioned his ability to consistently produce in the offense if Jayson Werth should miss time? The simple answer is, I’m really, really hoping that Taylor proves me wrong.

It’s almost impossible to root against a guy like Taylor. From the day that he first set foot on a Major League field in a Nationals uniform, an August 12 game in New York against the Mets where Taylor hit his first career homer, the spunky outfielder seemed the sort that could easily become a fan favorite. The Post’s next-day coverage of the game only served to make Taylor more likeable.

Taylor struggled after that initial game, however. In the 17 games he played in 2014, Taylor hit .205/.279/.359 with just the one home run, though he did finish September on something of a hot streak. What remains to be seen is just how much that bit of big league action served to season the 23-year-old.

It also remains to be seen just what sort of role Taylor will play come Opening Day. A lot of that will come down to Werth’s status, and if the Bearded One isn’t ready to go, Taylor could see a lot of action in April. That’s when we’ll really find out what Taylor is made of. While I can’t see him becoming a monster power, I’m still looking forward to seeing what he can do. And if he makes me eat my words, I’ll happily do so. After all, how can you not cheer for a guy like him?

Next: Heartbreakers: Drew Storen