To steal a phrase originally coined for former Phillies’ centerfielder Garry Maddox, two-thirds of the earth is covered by water, the other one-third is covered by Michael Taylor. The Fort Lauderdale product gets the best jump on flyballs and line drives I’ve seen from anyone that’s come through City Island. It’s pretty amazing that he’s only been playing the outfield for four years after being initially drafted as a shortstop.
This season Taylor has also displayed an easy power off his bat that has turned his doubles into home runs. He’s only two home runs away from setting a career best and we’re only a third of the way through the season. Conceivably, Taylor could already have close to 20 dingers with some of the balls he’s hit early in the season at a few of the more expansive ballparks of the Eastern League.
Senators’ broadcaster Terry Byrom pointed out this great stat the other day: Taylor is batting .505 on at-bats where he doesn’t strike out. That is off the charts amazing. Despite pushing his batting average over .300 for the first time all season, he still is a full 204 points higher when he doesn’t whiff. You may think that this should be in the section above, but this kind of production can’t last. His batting average on balls in play (remove strikeouts and home runs) is .435 which portends that Taylor has had a great deal of luck this season. He is so far off from his career numbers (BAbip .323) that it’s likely a given that he will regress back to his norm.
There’s no dancing around it. Taylor has the fifth most strikeouts in all of minor league baseball with 66 strikeouts. He is on pace to fan 200 times this season and that is totally unacceptable from a leadoff hitter. His previous high in a season was 131 and he is already half way there through only a third of the season.