It was just a week ago that fans on social media were calling for Chris Taylor to be sent to the minors. Or, even worst, designated for assignment.
Regardless of who it is, or what part of the season we’re in, a lot of Dodgers fans hold players to exceedingly high expectations, and for good reason. They expect players to perform.
Through the first month of the season, the Dodger who had been struggling the most was Taylor. On April 30, Taylor had a slash line of .167/.263/.242/.506. He had 21 strikeouts in 66 at-bats, so essentially 1⁄3 of the time he was striking out. With a plethora of depth, he just couldn’t consistently find at bats on a consistent basis.
Last season through the end of April, Taylor had 27 starts. This season, only 19. With his struggling bat, Taylor had trouble finding himself in the starting lineup for consecutive starts, which obviously had an effect on him.
This past week, A.J. Pollock was placed on the injured list. With no timetable for his return, this could have been the best thing to happen to Taylor. With a spot essentially opened up, Taylor will be finding himself in the lineup more often, racking up at bats more frequently.
Though it has been a small sample size, it looks as if all he needed was that consistency.
Over the weekend, Taylor had arguably his best stretch of the season, as well as possibly his best three-game stretch as a Dodger. During the three games in San Diego, Taylor went 7-for-13 with two home runs, including a go-ahead homer that nearly gave the Dodgers the win on Sunday.
With Taylor getting five consecutive starts, there’s no question that his bat heating up isn’t a coincidence. We’ve seen it with so many players, who often struggle when their plate appearances are streaky. When you’re getting one at bat a game, like Taylor was, it’s tough to find a groove. For Taylor, it looks as if he’s finally found that groove.
Yes, his bat heating up is great for the lineup, but his versatility is ultimately how the Dodgers will succeed. With Taylor essentially being an every-day player again, this gives manager Dave Roberts so many options now with his lineup.
Taylor is one of the more versatile players in baseball, so now Roberts has the bonus of sticking him wherever he needs to.
Outfield? No problem.
With Corey Seager struggling, Roberts can insert Taylor at shortstop, opening up an outfield spot for someone. If Enrique Hernandez needs to play center field, Taylor can slide in at second base. Or, as Roberts said, you can keep Taylor in left field as well.
Obviously, one weekend is just one weekend. Anyone can get really hot for three games. But as we’ve seen in the past, when Taylor plays well, the Dodgers feed off of it.