After Adam Eaton went down with a torn ACL in late April, it was up to Michael Taylor to take advantage of what could’ve been his last opportunity in the major leagues. He did just that and showed he could play a pivotal factor in this series.
Taylor had a slash line of .271/.320/.496 with 19 home runs, 53 RBI’s, and 17 stolen bases. If you look at this Nats team, you can make the case that the 25-year-old is the best defender on the team for the game changing plays he can make in the outfield. His nine defensive runs saved is the most by any Washington Nationals regular (according to Fangraphs).
On the Cubs side, they don’t have Dexter Fowler this year, but they do have good options in center with Jay and Almora. The veteran Jay gets most of his at-bats against right-handers while the 23-year-old Almora faces the southpaws.
Jay won’t hit for much power, but he does have a .374 on-base percentage and outside of a couple of bad months, he has stayed consistent at the plate.
Almora has gotten the bulk of the playing time in center (104 games to Jay’s 54).Since the All-Star break, he’s hit .326 with 31 RBI’s and he might be one of the more dangerous X-Factors in this series when it shifts to Wrigley Field (.364 average at home with 33 RBI’s).
Advantage: Both of the Cubs center fielders can make an impact in this series, but the edge goes to Taylor and the Nats. He can make an outstanding play in center to decide a game and his hitting at the bottom of the order rounds out the Nationals depth.