Like the spice of Arrakis, the memes about Chris Taylor continued to flow in 2023.
Taylor was primarily in a platoon role for the Dodgers in 2023. It is still somewhat odd to think about, but 2023 was Taylor’s eighth season in Los Angeles. But memes aside, Taylor in 2023 sought a rebound from a moderately disappointing 2022, where he was plagued with injuries and ineffectiveness.
For the most part, his 2023 was not a complete success, but certainly better than last year:
- 2022: .221/.304/.373, 93 wRC+, 10 HR, 43 RBI, 10 SB (out of 11 tries)
- 2023: .237/.326/.420, 104 wRC+, 15 HR, 56 RBI, 16 SB (out of 19 tries)
While Taylor did miss about three weeks of the season due to knee soreness, the human Swiss Army Knife otherwise known as CT3 mostly bounced back. While predominantly playing left field, Taylor filled in admirably in center field (five games), second base (three games), third base (28 games), and shortstop (31 games) as well.
This turnaround for Taylor was not guaranteed as for most of the year, his batting average hovered around .200 until the All-Star Break. I originally predicted that Taylor would have a 20-20 season, a prediction that looked fanciful until his turnaround in the second half.
Ultimately, he had a 15-15 season. Taylor went out for capicola twice in 2023 (tied for second on the team with Freddie Freeman and James Outman), because he hit a grand salami against both the White Sox (in Los Angeles on June 15) and the Orioles in Baltimore, just over a month later on July 17.
The latter grand slam I was fortunate enough to be present for and had the opportunity to buy for $1,000. I declined because I balked at the expected taxes, which it turns out there were none. Such is life.
While Taylor’s bat was stereotypically streaky, his glove, as always, was exceptional, making spectacular plays on a fairly regular basis. From Tampa Bay to Baltimore to Milwaukee, although there is something about Chris Taylor and American Family Field, Taylor’s glove did travel.
There's something about Chris in Milwaukee. pic.twitter.com/7oN8LRmFUe— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) May 10, 2023
Taylor was the Dodgers’ nominee for the 2023 Roberto Clemente Humanitarian Award for his charity work in his hometown of Virginia Beach, VA, and Los Angeles, CA. Ultimately, the award was given to Aaron Judge of the Yankees.
The area where Taylor had the largest impact on the Dodgers was arguably his popularity on social media. The meme “Chris Taylor has done nothing wrong in his whole life” seemed to spread like wildfire in 2023, with every good thing that Taylor did on the field.
The meme reached its zenith during the final “Nice Tweets” segment of the season with a clearly bemused yet amused CT3 reading Tweets written about him by the fanbase, while promoting his candidacy for the Roberto Clemente Award.
Ever humble, Taylor admitted that, yes, he has done things wrong in his life. I would disagree, with photographic and videographic evidence...and there was that ball that bounced over his head in Tampa, but it is good to write a happy review about a player with no controversy whatsoever.
Has Chris Taylor ever done anything wrong in his life? Find out in the final episode of Nice Tweets with Chris Taylor!— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) September 29, 2023
Afterwards, be sure to vote for him for the Roberto Clemente Award: https://t.co/i02OKXsBsc pic.twitter.com/SAisxpKqSP
Taylor had a single in six at-bats with an RBI and a walk in the NLDS, which practically made him an offensive juggernaut in the Dodgers lineup. Kidding aside, Taylor’s performance was a huge improvement over the 2022 NLDS (0-for-7, 5 strikeouts).
Next year, if given the opportunity, if Taylor can replicate what he did in 2021 (13-for-37, 4 2B, 4 HR, 12 RBI), then the Dodgers might have more of a playoff season than a weekend.
Stats: .237/.326/.420, 104 wRC+, 384 PA, 15 HR, 51 R, 56 RBI, 16 SB, 1.9 fWAR, 1.3 bWAR
Salary: $15 million
Game of the year
Taylor had some excellent games in 2023, including a 3-for-5 day with 5 RBI in Miami on September 7 and the aforementioned grand slam games against the White Sox and Orioles, but the winner is the madcap game on May 28 against Tampa, an 11-10 loss where he went 3-for-3, with three runs, 2 home runs (both of which tied the game), and 2 walks.
Taylor is under contract through 2025, plus a club option for 2026. He’ll make $13 million in 2024.