Washington Nationals speedy veteran Michael A. Taylor should start in centerfield on Opening Day, despite the hype around phenom Victor Robles.
Robles is the number four prospect in all of Major League Baseball according to MLB.com.
After battling a wrist injury for much of the 2018 season, Robles got called up to the big leagues towards the end of the year and showed signs of his rare combination of power and speed.
All signs pointed to Robles being the Nationals centerfielder for the next decade, and after the departure of Bryce Harper it seemed like a given that it was his time.
Despite all of this, Nationals manager Davey Martinez has made it clear this spring there is a position battle at the centerfield spot, and young Robles is going to have to take out the highly talented, but extremely inconsistent Michael A. Taylor for the job.
Coming off of a disappointing 2018 campaign, Taylor spent this offseason revamping his swing, and it seems to have paid off already in a big way. He has started his spring by going eight for his first 15 with one home run and three runs batted in.
Since coming to D.C. Martinez has made his admiration for Taylor clear, citing many times how much he likes what he brings to the table as a player. With Taylor’s hot start to the spring, he has the early leg up on winning the centerfield job.
Although he is inconsistent, there is no denying the talent that the five-year man Taylor possesses. In 2017 he was able to get the most at-bats of his career and put up a .271 batting average with 19 home runs and 53 runs batted in.
Taylor is a streaky hitter and needs to play consistently to have substantial production, and that’s why Washington will have him as their Opening Day starter in centerfield.
Even though Robles played well down the stretch of last season, it would not hurt at all to have him spend another month or two in Triple-A and groom him even more.
When Taylor is giving the starting job, he will be on a short leash, and if he struggles through the first month and a half of the season, Martinez might call up Robles and take it from there.
It makes sense to give Taylor a shot, and his great start this spring shows he may have turned things around. Davey Martinez believes in him, and at the end of the day, he is the guy who calls the shots.
As much as people might not want to hear it, when the Nationals take on the New York Mets on March 28, Taylor should be the guy jogging out to center field in the top of the first.