Nationals Opinions: Five Players To Watch This Spring

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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

Michael Taylor

With Jayson Werth’s status for Opening Day somewhat in doubt, who would be the starting left fielder for Washington if Werth can’t go? While the team does have veteran Nate McClouth on their bench with starter experience, this is a good opportunity for Taylor to show he is ready to get more playing time at the Major League level.

Taylor got the chance to shine towards the end of last season by hitting one home run and driving in 5 RBI’s over a 17-game stretch. The problem for Taylor in the minor leagues was the amount of strikeouts that he had. Last season, at double-A Harrisburg, Taylor had 130 strikeouts in 98 games.

Ideally, I would like to see Taylor get the bulk of the playing time in triple-A Syracuse this season to continue to develop his game, play everyday, and get himself ready to potentially be a starting outfielder for the Washington Nationals in 2016. However, injuries can change things in an instant.

Last spring, Taylor hit .188 with no home runs and three RBI’s in 13 games. The 13 games are the most he has played in any Spring Training in the last three seasons. If he puts up those numbers again, he won’t be winning that left field job.

All in all, Taylor is a player that can add speed at the bottom of the order in the number eight spot and be a nice bridge for the leadoff man, Denard Span, if the pitcher can sacrifice him over into scoring position. However, this is a Spring Training where Taylor needs to get good swings at the plate, cut down the strikeouts, and show the organization that he is ready to be one of the outfielders of the future.