If you’re a baseball fan and haven’t been to Metro Bank Park yet this season, I highly recommend you get yourself to City Island as soon as possible. Sure, the Senators are floundering at 28-42 and there are many games that are all but over shortly after the final words of the National Anthem are sung. But if you need only one reason to go to a game, it’s Michael Taylor.
Simply put, the centerfielder is putting together one of the best seasons ever by a Harrisburg Senator.
As we coast into the halfway point of the 2014 season, let’s look at the offensive numbers Taylor is posting:
.339/.419/.602, 12 2B, 2 3B, 17 HR, 55 R, 52 RBI, 17 SB
• Taylor has the fourth-best OPS in all minor league baseball and only Troy Tulowitzki has a better one in at the Major League level
• As far as seasons by a Senator go, only Vladimir Guerrero (.360/.438/.612) in 1996 and Cliff Floyd (.329/.417/.600) in 1993 are in the rarified air that Taylor is currently breathing
• In the last month, no hitter in minor league baseball has accrued more hits than Taylor (47)
• Despite otherworldly numbers, Taylor shockingly hasn’t been intentionally walked once all season
• Although the Senators were swept by the Rock Cats in their three-game set, it was also the first series all season that Taylor didn’t strike out even once. In doing so, Taylor is also no longer the Eastern League leader in that category as New Britain’s Brandon Waring whiffed his way to the top.
• Taylor and hitting coach Mark Harris have been working tremendously hard to cut down on his strikeouts. Needless to say it’s working. If you look at the total number this season (85) you may not believe it. But look at this month by month breakdown to see the strides Taylor is making in putting the ball into play more.
• A little less than a month ago I wrote about Taylor’s .505 batting average on at-bats where he doesn’t strike out, “That is off the charts amazing…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.”
Since I published that post, Taylor has actually increased both sets of numbers: .509 on ABs he doesn’t strike out and .454 on balls in play.
At what point do we accept that quite possibly this is the new norm?