Bounce Back Candidate: Chris Taylor
Each week I’ll be looking in to a bounce back candidate at each position. These are going to be more of a stat based, analytical deep dive on a specific player. The projections next to the player names are an average of THE BAT, ATC, Steamer, and ZIPS projection systems found on Fangraphs. NFBC ADP data is from the date range 2/01/2019-03/06/2019. Should you bank on Chris Taylor bouncing back?
Chris Taylor, LAD (ADP 218): 590 PA, 75 R, 16 HR, 63 RBI, 12 SB, .251/.324/.418/.742
Taylor was once a top prospect in the Mariners system and in 2017 he finally showed some of what the scouts had projected. In 145 games with the Dodgers, he slashed .288/.354/.496/.850 with 21 HR and 17 SB with solid defense all around the field leading to multi-eligibility. Heading in to 2018, his age 27 season, Taylor was viewed as fringe top 100 player that would hit for some power, steal some bases, get on base and score runs at the top of a powerful Dodgers lineup. That’s when things went south for Taylor owners that bought in at that price.
Though he played in a career high 155 games, he failed to match the numbers from his 2017 season. Essentially every meaningful stat regressed for Taylor and he looked more like the utility player the Mariners thought he was when they traded him. He finished with a .254/.331/.444/.775 slash line with 17 HR and 9 SB. Not a great return on investment for those who took him inside the top 100. The good news about his 2018 is that his hard hit rate actually improved year over year and he hit more fly balls. While those additional fly balls didn’t result in more home runs, I think he was a bit unlucky in that category. If he continues to hit the ball hard and in the air, he’s going to end up with more than 17 homers. I’m concerned about the 29.5% strikeout rate though. It’s really tough to bat .280+ when you strike out so much.
Taylor’s 2018 wasn’t the year that he or his owners hoped for. I do think there’s a decent chance he bounces back in 2019 though. My argument for Taylor isn’t necessarily him bouncing back to his 2017 levels, but somewhere in between. Add that to the multi-position eligibility and that’s a lot more valuable than pick number 218.