Taylor, the Nationals' No. 2 prospect, is hitting .324 this spring and is line to start Opening Day with center fielder Denard Span sidelined. Taylor is still refining his hitting approach, but feels as if he has made strides that will pay off once the season begins.
"I think I feel a little better than I did a couple of games ago," Taylor said. "I had a few ups and downs, a couple of bad games. I'm really trying to stay on the fastball, stay with my approach, put together good at-bats."
Span underwent surgery on his right core muscle Monday, opening a chance for Taylor to impress during Grapefruit League play. He hit .205/.279/.359 in 39 at-bats in his debut with the Nationals last season.
Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said they took Taylor aside a few days ago knowing Span would miss time and said, "You're the guy."
"[Taylor] has been to the big leagues and I think it has helped him in his preparation," Rizzo said, per MLB.com. "He knew how to prepare in the offseason to get ready for this. He thought he had a good chance to make the team in spring training this year. That was his goal. That was his motivation. He has really come prepared. He is more relaxed. He is a major leaguer now. He is a guy that has the skills to be a really good big league player. I think this injury to Denard gives him an opportunity. One man's injury is one man's opportunity. I'm sure Michael is going to take this opportunity and run with it."
Taylor also hit .304/.390/.526 with 23 home runs, 64 RBI and 37 stolen bases in 428 at-bats between Double-A Harrisburg and Triple-A Syracuse.
A major issue is playing time since the Nationals have a starting outfield of Jayson Werth, Bryce Harper and Denard Span. Taylor would be a solid fourth outfielder, but having him coming off the bench is not ideal for his development.
“It’s the same age-old decision that must be made regarding guys that are just on the cusp of being big-league ready and everyday players,” manager Matt Williams said, per NatsInsider.com. “And a question of depth on your team, too. … It’s a question of depth on your team, it’s a question of how much playing time they’re really going to get, and are they better served staying in the minor leagues and getting those at-bats until their opportunity arises. But Mike’s close. He’s really close.”
Taylor has been recovering from a neck twinge and was also able to take part in Sunday's workouts. Taylor should see significant time in right field while Jayson Werth (shoulder) recovers.
“Anytime that happens, especially early in the spring, we make sure that we take it easy on him. He is full go. He is ready to play,” Williams said.
Taylor is expected to see plenty of playing time this spring with right fielder Jayson Werth sidelined due to a shoulder injury. Taylor is considered the Nationals' third-best prospect by MLB.com.
|CBSSports.com Player Ranking|
|10/7/2014 vs San Francisco|
|vs San Francisco||1||0||0||.000||.000||.000|
|vs Alvarez (Career)||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Last 7 Games|
|Complete Game Log|
| 5 || 6 |
| 7 || 8 |
| 9 |
| 10 |
| 12 |
| 13 |
| 14 |
| 15 |
| 16 |
| 17 |
|More Batting Stats|
|Minor League Batting Stats|
Men's Nike Navy Blue Washington Nationals Authentic Collection Legend Team Issue Dri-FIT T-Shirt Shop Now!