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Dynasty / Keeper Deeper Dive: Michael Taylor


Dynasty League Target Michael Taylor

The 24 year old Michael Taylor has been getting a lot of attention lately after Denard Span went down with an injury. Given the fact that I didn't rank Taylor in my top 60 dynasty outfielders I clearly disagree with the hype to an extent.  Let's find out why.

Taylor struggled in his first year of the minors hitting only .199/.276/.298 with 1 HR, 13 RBI, and 1 SB. Something seemed to click the next year when he showed a nice blend of speed and power. His positive trend continued until last year when he hit .313/.396/.539 with 22 homers and 34 stolen bases in 441 at-bats in Double-A.

However, as soon as Taylor was called up to Triple-A he struggled to a .227/.333/.409 line. It seemed to only get worse when he got his cup of coffee in the majors last year. Major league pitching destroyed him to the tune of a .205/.279/.359 line. What happened to the guy who seemed to be well on his way to major league super stardom?

It might have something to do with the fact that Taylor has struck out over 20 % of the time at every level of baseball he has played. The more worrying trend is that instead of maturing as a hitter his strikeout rate has only climbed in recent years. The fact that he hasn't had success beyond Double-A is also worrying even if it is a limited sample size.


Michael Taylor Player Projection

There is some good news for Taylor supporters though. The Nationals have one of the best lineups in the National League, and should provide Taylor with a good security blanket. Additionally, National Parks was among the top six offensive ballparks last season according to park factor.

As mentioned before, Span is currently hurt and only under contract for another year. Jayson Werth has a bit of injury history the last few years and is opening the season on the disabled list. The path to playing time for Taylor is pretty clear for 2015 and beyond.

The question is are you willing to let Taylor kill your batting average on the hopes that he'll make enough contact to provide value in other offensive categories? He reminds me of another player that the fantasy community refuses to give up on. Desmond Jennings may not be the best comparison because Taylor has already shown more pop than Jennings, but it's pretty close.

In a vacuum, I rather own Jennings personally. However, due to the Rays projected offensive struggles I can understand why someone would go with Taylor. In my dynasty league Taylor went in the 23rd round, while Jennings went un-drafted.  It's easy to dream on prospects, just be prepared for a rude awakening if you own Taylor.



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