Taylor has always shown the ability to be an elite defender, and people within the organization are beginning to notice. "If you were putting scouting numbers on him, he’s an 80 defender," according to manager Matt Williams. The scouting scale grades players on an 80-20 scale, with 80 being the highest possible grade you can put on a tool. It's quite rare for a player to receive an 80 grade in anything.
"He would be a guy that is potentially on the fast track," Williams said. That all depends on whether he hits. Taylor is working to keep his swing shorter. The hope is that he'll grow into his power and eventually hit 20 home runs.
The team is set in the outfield this season, but Taylor could push his way further up the organization with a strong season.
Taylor hit .365 with a .428 on-base percentage, .511 slugging percentage and .939 OPS in 36 games. He also had two triples, three home runs, seven doubles, 10 RBI, 20 runs and three stolen bases.
"It is just a different level of baseball," Taylor told MASNsports.com. "You see kind of different sequences at the plate. It is a little different strategy. But it was good. It is still baseball and I had a good time. I saw a lot more splitters. You don't see too much in High-A. I actually felt really good. I felt like my plate discipline was better and I was able to really lock in on my approach and just look for my pitch."
Taylor was added to the 40-man roster this offseason, but he's likely ticketed for Double-A to begin the year.
"It is great," Taylor said about the call to the 40-man. "I was very excited when I got the news and I am looking forward to the years to come. I am excited to play baseball. I am trying not to get to hung up on where I am going to be and wherever I end up I am going to go out there and play hard and have fun."
Taylor went 1 for 23 with the A's last season while also hitting .281/.360/.474 with 18 home runs and 85 RBI in 420 at-bats with Triple-A Sacramento. Solis went 2-1 with a 3.43 ERA, 1.34 WHIP and 40:19 K:BB ratio in 57 2/3 innings with high Class A Potomac. Barrett went 1-1 with a 2.15 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and 69:15 K:BB ratio in 50 1/3 innings over 51 appearances with Double-A Harrisburg.
Taylor has especially performed well since the Carolina League All-Star break. He's batting .322 with a .506 slugging percentage in 22 second-half games.
"(He) made an adjustment in his approach right around the break that is starting to pay off," Nationals director of player development Doug Harris told MASNsports.com. "He made a big adjustment with his lower half (of his body), which allows him to track the ball better and be more consistent with his path to the ball."
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