Washington Nationals News: Michael A. Taylor continues to grow

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Good afternoon DoD readers, and welcome to today’s District Daily! Get caught up on the latest Nats news with some great Washington Nationals articles from around the web below.

In today’s Daily, the Washington Post’s Chelsea Janes discusses rookie outfielder Michael A. Taylor and how he continues to grow with the Nationals in 2015.

As Janes notes, Taylor entered the season as one of the Nationals’ most promising young talents, but as one who had several offensive problems to work out. Taylor’s biggest issue was his plate discipline, as his tendency to swing at breaking balls out of the strike zone made him strike out a lot.

But as Janes writes in her article, Taylor has improved substantially in recent weeks and he’s been a key part of the Nationals’ injury-riddled offense. Taylor has not only cut down on his strikeouts, but he’s also hitting the ball extremely hard and appears to have his timing down at the plate.

It hasn’t been an easy rookie season for Taylor. The 24-year-old outfielder was supposed to be the Nationals’ center fielder of the future starting next season, but injuries to Denard Span and Jayson Werth forced him into the fire a year earlier than expected.

Despite his rather abrupt entrance to the big leagues, Taylor has put together an impressive season. He’s had to learn and adjust to big league pitching on the fly, and he’s done it admirably.

Taylor still has a ways to go this season, but from what we’ve seen so far, he certainly looks ready to take over in center field once Span hits free agency next winter. But the focus now is on this year, and with all the injuries the Nationals have suffered and will undoubtedly continue to suffer this season, Taylor will be a key piece of the puzzle down the stretch for the Nationals.

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Also in today’s Daily, the Post’s Thomas Boswell discusses how Bryce Harper‘s insane statistics through the first three months of the season project him to join some elite company.

As Boswell notes, Harper’s production in several offensive categories right now would put him in line with the likes of Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron and Willie Mays, just to name a few. Of course, for that to happen, Harper would have to keep his production up throughout the second half of the season. While that’s much easier said than done, Harper has already surprised the baseball world with his historic production in 2015. And fortunately for the Nationals, he doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon.

Be sure to check out the articles below, they’re definitely worth a read. And as always, stay tuned to DoD for all your Washington Nationals needs.

Nationals’ Michael A. Taylor continues to grow

(Chelsea Janes, Washington Post)

PHILADELPHIA — Because baseball happens every day, evidence of maturation rarely glares, sometimes escaping notice. Often, progress is steady and slow. Nationals rookie outfielder Michael A. Taylor came into this season needing to improve his plate discipline, as he had the unfortunate tendency to chase too many breaking balls. Slowly but assuredly, he is improving it, whether or not his progress is obvious from one day to the next.

Taylor struck out in 39.6 percent of his 53 April plate appearances. He struck out in 35 percent of 60 plate appearances in May. Taylor has had 87 plate appearances in June. He has struck out in 20.7 percent of them, a lower June strikeout percentage than Mike Trout (29.7 percent), Giancarlo Stanton (27.3 percent), and Ryan Braun (24.7 percent). Read full article here.

Boswell: Bryce Harper’s numbers project him to join some pretty elite company

(Thomas Boswell, Washington Post)

One of the hardest and most controversial questions in baseball from the day he signed with the Washington Nationals in 2010 is: How good is Bryce Harper?

After his rookie of the year season at age 19 (22 homers, 98 runs in 2012) helped the Nats win 98 games, he was, logically, compared to other teenage supernovas like Alex Rodriguez and Mel Ott — Hall of Fame stuff.

After two years marred by major injuries at 20 and 21, he was still celebrated by fans but also voted the most overrated player both years in a poll of big leaguers. His .273 average and 32 RBI in 100 games last year were noted to me by more than one Nat, not as a rip, just as “Can we stay sane about this guy?” Read full article here.

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