Washington Nationals: Is It Time To Demote Michael Taylor?
With Michael Taylor off to a rough start, is it time for the Washington Nationals to demote him to triple-A Syracuse?
While the Washington Nationals lineup has shown some improvements as of late, there is one gaping hole that they have not been able to fix. That spot would be the leadoff spot in the order. This season, Nats’ leadoff hitters are hitting .224 with a .283 on-base percentage (worst in all of baseball).
This season, there have been two main leadoff hitters who haven’t found consistent success. Ben Revere is hitting .167 in the 27 games he’s played while Michael Taylor hitting .197. Since the Nats aren’t going to demote/release Revere, it would make sense for the organization to give Taylor everyday playing time in the minor leagues to continue his development.
Even though Taylor has a good power bat, he doesn’t make enough consistent contact and the high strikeout numbers are still there. His 46 strikeouts are third on the team behind Jayson Werth (47) and Danny Espinosa (50). When he was the main leadoff hitter in April with Revere on the DL, Taylor hit only .183 with 28 strikeouts.
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The strikeouts have been a constant problem for Taylor. His 31.3% strikeout rate this season is right up there with the 31.7% he had last year (according to Fangraphs). As for his walk rate and ability to work the count against opposing pitchers, it has gone down from 6.8% to 4.8%.
Even though the Washington Nationals might not want to add another left-handed hitter to the bench, the best solution for the immediate and long-term future might be to call up Matt den Dekker. While den Dekker has a low batting average in the minors (.233), he has experience being that fourth versatile outfielder off the bench for the Major League club.
So far this season, Dusty Baker has been able to find success with making lineup changes. He switched the spots in the order for Daniel Murphy, Ryan Zimmerman, Werth, and Anthony Rendon and those lineup changes have benefitted the team. But, right now, there aren’t many solutions to fix the leadoff spot with both Revere and Taylor struggling.
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Now, would a demotion for Taylor mean the organization is giving up on the 25-year-old?Absolutely not. Instead, this move would allow Taylor to play everyday and work on his strikeout issues that have plagued his career so far. Meanwhile, the team could call up another player that can help boost the bench and add to a bench that has been one of the better ones in the leagues.