Washington Nationals: Grading the offensive players
By Blake Finney
Outfielder – Michael Taylor
Talk about a season of two halves for Michael Taylor. The Washington Nationals outfielder looked hopeless at the plate to begin the year. Lately, he’s finally turned a corner, but which Taylor will we see the rest of the way.
To open the year in 45 games, he hit a minuscule .181 striking out 55 times while walking just 14 times. We’ve seen Taylor have poor stretches, but he seemed to be even worse than that.
However, since those opening 45 games, all of sudden, something clicked into gear. After May 20th he’s hitting .340 with a .924 OPS and most impressively has 12 steals which sees him lead baseball with 23.
Now, this hot streak is fueled by a video game type .441 BABIP, so it’s far from sustainable. But if he can maintain the medium he’s at now, with his season average at .241, it’s acceptable.
That kind of hitting, combined with the speed is acceptable because of the breathtaking defense he plays. He was runner-up to Ender Inciarte in the National League Gold Glove award but may go one better this year.
He currently sits second behind Lorenzo Cain in Defensive Runs Saved among NL Centerfielders, with 10. And now Cain is due to miss several games with a groin injury, so Taylor has the chance to claim the top spot.
Overall, it’s been a solid season from Taylor as an overall player with the gold glove defense. But his bat has largely proven he probably won’t end up back at his 2017 levels. B-