It hasn’t been a great year for Chris Taylor.
After a breakout 2017 campaign, Taylor has been struggling to recapture last years magic. Last season, Taylor hit .288 with 21 home runs and 72 RBI. He was one of the better surprises in all of baseball.
Currently for the season, Taylor is hitting .248. He has 13 home runs and 52 RBI. Not a huge drop-off by any means. In fact, he was near the leader board in runs batted in for the month of July. While his production isn’t at the level it was last year, he’s still one of the bigger offensive weapons the Dodgers have had this year.
The problem, and it’s a concerning one, are his strikeout numbers.
With 144 on the season, Taylor is currently leading the NL in strikeouts. He already has two more than last season while appearing in 20 less games.
Which brings up the question, why is Chris Taylor striking out so much?
For the 27-year-old, striking out is nothing new. In his career, Taylor has struck out 371 times in 1,245 career at-bats, which is just under 30 percent.
Among players with at least 440 at-bats, Chris Taylor is second in all of baseball with a strikeout percentage of 29.1 percentage.
Since June 28, Taylor has 64 strikeouts, by far the most across the MLB during that span. In only 158 at-bats, his 37 percent strikeout rate is also the highest across all of baseball.
The problem with Taylor is the fact he’s getting behind early on in almost two-thirds of his at-bats. 63 percent of the time, Taylor begins his at-bat with a strike, near the top among qualified hitters. When he starts the count 0-1, he strikes out 41 percent of the time.
If it seems like Taylor is behind in the count a lot, it’s because he is. He’s rarely ahead in the count, only seeing ball three 22.7 percent of the time.
A problem for Taylor is his inability to make contact, as he swings and misses on 13 percent of his pitches, which puts him near the top.
The slider has been Taylor’s biggest problem this season, as it’s responsible for 35 percent of his punch-outs. There’s no question that he’s aggressive on the pitch, as he swings at almost half of sliders thrown to him.
Last year, Taylor made a living off of hitting the fastball. He hit .322 and had an OPS of .942. This year it’s quite the opposite, as he’s hitting .208 with a .692 OPS.
22 percent of his strikeouts came on the fastball, where as this year it’s up to 28 percent.
With Taylor’s strikeout numbers up, and his swing percentage at an all-time high, its’ tough to really see if there is something Taylor has changed with his swing. At this point, it may just be a confidence thing in his head that’s only getting worse.
This weekend he will make his first return to Seattle since the trade. It will be interesting to see what kind of reception he receives from the fans and if he’s able to feed off of it and turn things around.