The Los Angeles Dodgers are playing well. They lead the National League West and are currently preparing for a big three-game series against the San Diego Padres. Chris Taylor, on the other hand, isn’t exactly setting the league on fire. That said, the Dodgers still believe in Taylor and there is reason for fans to remain optimistic as well.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts recently provided a hopeful message in regards to Taylor, per Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times.
“I guess what’s great is that when he does move the ball forward, it goes over the fence, and some of them have been homers,” Roberts said of Taylor. “I think the average will go up, the on-base percentage will go up, and hopefully the slug will remain. But right now, it’s sort of an outlier for me, I can’t understand it.”
Chris Taylor is in the midst of a peculiar season. We will discuss the offensive numbers in-depth in just a second, but even his time on defense has been fairly odd. Taylor is an outfielder who’s also spent time at shortstop. He isn’t the Dodgers’ everyday shortstop, but his playing time increased when Miguel Rojas dealt with injury.
Offensively, Taylor is slugging .484 with seven home runs. He’s also hitting just .198 and has posted an OBP of .267, both are rather underwhelming numbers. His power output has been respectable though. So will balance return? Can Chris Taylor rebound and start performing like he did during his All-Star 2021 season?
Dodgers’ Chris Taylor is hitting the ball harder than his All-Star season
In 2021, Taylor’s All-Star campaign, he posted a 38.1 hard-hit percentage. In 2023, Taylor is hitting the ball hard 41.8 percent of the time, per Baseball Reference. The reason he has a low batting average is that he’s only hitting the ball in the air rather than line drives. Taylor has just a 20.0 percent line drive rate compared to an eye-opening 50.9 (career-high) fly ball percentage. He is also hitting the ball on the ground just 23.6 percent of the time.
In other words, Taylor is hitting the ball hard and in the air on a consistent basis. The problem is that he’s hitting fly balls far too often, which has led to his boom-or-bust approach. He’s either knocking the ball out of the park or flying out. Almost half of Taylor’s hits in 2023 have been home runs, with seven of his 18 hits leaving the yard.
One would imagine that Taylor’s fly ball rate will drop at some point. If he continues hitting the ball hard, Taylor should begin recording more base hits for the Dodgers.
Don’t give up on Chris Taylor just yet.