Michael A. Taylor
|Michael A. Taylor|
Taylor with the Nationals in 2018
|Kansas City Royals – No. 2|
|Born: March 26, 1991|
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
|August 12, 2014, for the Washington Nationals|
|MLB statistics |
(through 2020 season)
|Runs batted in||184|
|Career highlights and awards|
Michael Anthony Taylor (born March 26, 1991), often referred to as Michael A. Taylor, is an American professional baseball center fielder for the Kansas City Royals of Major League Baseball (MLB). Taylor was drafted in the sixth round (172nd overall) of the 2009 MLB draft by the Washington Nationals, and made his MLB debut with them in 2014.
Early life and education
Taylor was born to military parents; his father, Anthony Taylor, was a logistics officer for 22 years in the U.S. Army. Taylor has four older sisters. He was a high school teammate of Matt den Dekker, with whom he would play for the Washington Nationals in the 2015 and 2016 seasons, while attending Westminster Academy.
Taylor was signed out of Westminster Academy as a shortstop in the 2009 Major League Baseball draft, after the Washington Nationals selected him with their sixth-round pick. He forwent a commitment to the University of North Florida to go professional with the Nationals. Taylor did not make his minor league debut in the 2009 season but served as a versatile infielder for the Gulf Coast League Nationals in 2010, committing 21 errors across three positions: shortstop, second baseman, and third baseman. He appeared in 38 games and batted .195 with one home run.
At the beginning of fall instructional league play in 2010, Taylor was told he would be switching positions from shortstop to center fielder, after a hand injury had limited his development in the infield in his first year in the Nationals' minor league system. Beginning at the Class A Hagerstown Suns in 2011, Taylor exclusively appeared as an outfielder, a trend that continued with the Class A-Advanced Potomac Nationals in 2012 and 2013. His offensive output improved as well, as he batted .263 with 10 home runs in 133 games with the Potomac Nationals in 2013, earning him honors as the team's Player of the Year, before heading to Puerto Rican winter baseball to play for the Indios de Mayaguez.
Taylor was added to the Washington Nationals' 40-man roster on November 20, 2013, after the end of the 2013 season. At the time, he ranked as the Nationals' fourth-best prospect according to MLB Pipeline, and seventh-best according to Baseball America.
On August 10, Taylor was called up by the Nationals when Steven Souza was placed on the 15-day disabled list. On August 12, he made his Major League debut against the New York Mets in Citi Field, where he collected his first major league hit, a single off pitcher Rafael Montero (baseball). He also hit his first major league home run, a two-run homer against pitcher Carlos Torres, that night. Taylor was optioned back to the AAA Syracuse Chiefs on August 23, after the Nationals selected veteran Nate Schierholtz's contract. He was again recalled after rosters expanded in September and was in center field on September 28, in the final game of the 2014 regular season, when Jordan Zimmermann completed the first no-hitter in Nationals history.
Taylor opened the 2015 season as the Nationals' starting center fielder while Denard Span was on the disabled list. Despite starting the season well by sporting a .279 batting average, he was optioned to the Class-AAA Syracuse Chiefs on April 19 to make room on the active roster for Span. He was recalled on April 29 when Reed Johnson was placed on the disabled list. During an away game against the Arizona Diamondbacks on May 13, Taylor substituted for right fielder Bryce Harper after Harper was ejected in the seventh inning. In his first at-bat in the ninth inning, he came up with the bases loaded for the first time in his career and hit a go-ahead grand slam, effectively clinching the game for the Nationals.
On August 20, Taylor hit the second-longest home run of the 2015 MLB season, crushing a pitch from Colorado Rockies starter Yohan Flande 493 feet into the stands at Coors Field. Taylor suffered a right knee injury on August 27 after slamming into the wall while attempting to run down a line drive off the bat of Melvin Upton, Jr., but he was healthy enough to make a pinch-hitting appearance in the tenth inning against the Atlanta Braves on September 4. He hit a three-run home run for a walk-off victory over the visiting Braves.
On September 8, Taylor hit a "Little League grand slam" off of New York Mets pitcher Matt Harvey after a bases-loaded single got by center fielder Yoenis Céspedes and went to the wall. He was not credited with an inside-the-park home run, with an error being charged to Céspedes on the play. Taylor himself allowed an inside-the-park grand slam on a similar play just weeks later, as he dove and missed a ball hit by Philadelphia Phillies rookie Aaron Altherr in a September 25 game, unloading the bases and allowing Altherr to score on his own hit. The play was scored a home run for Altherr.
Taylor opened the 2016 season as the Washington Nationals' fourth outfielder, but an Opening Day injury to starting center fielder Ben Revere quickly thrust him into an everyday spot in the lineup.
On June 22, Taylor had what a writer for the New England Sports Network described as possibly "the worst game in baseball history." He had five swinging strikeouts against the Los Angeles Dodgers and a fielding error that cost the Nationals the game when he failed to get his glove to the ground in time while charging a routine groundball hit by Yasiel Puig in the bottom of the ninth inning. The Nationals were up by one run, 2–3, and the error resulted in Taylor's future Nationals teammate Howie Kendrick, who was on first base for the Dodgers at the time, and Puig both scoring for a walk-off Los Angeles victory.
Taylor was optioned to the Syracuse Chiefs to make room for the reactivation of closer Jonathan Papelbon on July 4, but he was recalled after appearing in just one game for the Chiefs after first baseman Ryan Zimmerman was placed on the disabled list on July 8. Taylor's return to the major leagues was short-lived, however, as he was optioned back to Syracuse after going 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in a loss against the San Diego Padres on July 24.
Taylor rejoined the major league team after a little more than a month with the Chiefs, where he posted a meager .205 batting average over 31 games, being recalled August 29. He found himself once again relegated to a bench role, with rookie Trea Turner taking over in center field for the ineffectual Revere. He finished out the season batting .231./278/.376 with a .654 on-base plus slugging percentage, seven home runs, and 16 stolen bases in 221 at bats in 76 major league games, and he was among the players named to the Nationals' playoff roster in the 2016 National League Division Series, where he received two at-bats and struck out in both appearances.
Coming off what he described as a "pretty disappointing" 2016 season, Taylor found himself in the familiar role of backup outfielder for the Nationals in the 2017 season, with Adam Eaton taking over in center field and Trea Turner shifting to the shortstop position. However, for the third straight season, Taylor found himself in the role of everyday center fielder after the presumptive starter was injured early in the year, with Eaton tearing ligaments in his knee while running the bases in late April. Given regular playing time, Taylor resurrected a batting average that had hovered below .200 in limited appearances prior to Eaton's season-ending injury, hitting .290 in May and June while demonstrating above-average power.
Taylor landed on the major league disabled list for the first time in his career on July 7 with an oblique strain. He spent more than a month on the disabled list, with rookie Brian Goodwin taking over as the Nationals' regular center fielder in Taylor's absence. Upon Taylor's return to the team on August 13, after rehab assignments with the minor league Potomac Nationals and Harrisburg Senators, Taylor reclaimed his spot in the starting lineup.
Two years to the day after his "Little League grand slam" against the New York Mets, on September 8, 2017, Taylor hit a bases-loaded line drive to center field off Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Jake Thompson that a leaping Odubel Herrera was unable to snare. Taylor circled the bases on the play, which was scored an inside-the-park grand slam — the first in Major League Baseball since Aaron Altherr's on September 25, 2015. In the same game, Taylor also singled twice and tripled, driving in a total of five runs, and recorded an outfield assist at home to preserve the Nationals' lead in the eventual 11–10 victory. Taylor finished the regular season batting .271/.320/.486 with 19 home runs, 53 RBIs, and 17 stolen bases in 399 at bats.
In Game 4 of the 2017 NLDS against the Chicago Cubs, Taylor hit a grand slam to put the Nationals ahead 5-0 and stave off elimination. It was the first grand slam in Nationals post-season history. Taylor hit a go-ahead three-run homer on the second inning of Game 5 (which the Nationals ultimately lost 9-8).
In 2018 Taylor struggled at the plate to start the season, batting .223 in April and .183 in May, but hit his stride in June, batting .444. He also led the major leagues in stolen bases as late as June 21. However, Taylor lost significant playing time due to the return of Adam Eaton and the strong performance of Juan Soto, relegating Taylor to fourth outfielder status. Taylor struggled again at the plate with limited playing time in the second half of the season, and finished 2018 batting .227/.287/.357, with six home runs, 28 RBIs, and 24 stolen bases in 363 at bats.
In the 2018-2019 offseason, Taylor worked with Nationals hitting coach Kevin Long to change his stance and swing to generate more contact, and practiced his new swing in the Dominican Winter League. Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo said in December 2018 that he believes Taylor could be a five-tool player if he can make more contact.
In 2019 he batted .250/.305/.364 with one home run and three RBIs. In Game 2 of the 2019 World Series, Taylor hit a solo home run in the top of the 9th, becoming the 39th player to homer in their first ever World Series at-bat. With the home run the Nationals became the first team in World Series history to have a home run in the 7th, 8th and 9th innings of a game.
After batting .196/.253/.424 with five home runs and 16 RBIs over 38 games in the shortened 2020 season, Taylor was placed on outright waivers by the Nationals. The team announced October 15, 2020, that he had cleared waivers and elected free agency rather than accept an assignment to the minor leagues.
Kansas City Royals
- Janes, Chelsea (October 11, 2017). "Through teeth of a Wrigley wind, Michael A. Taylor shows his power". The Washington Post. Chicago. Retrieved 13 October 2017.
- Nava, Caroline. "Congratulations To Michael Taylor '09". wa.edu. Retrieved June 24, 2017.
- Reddington, Patrick (February 24, 2014). "Matt Williams Talks Nationals' Outfield Prospect Michael Taylor: "He Is, I Think, Really Unique."". Federal Baseball. Retrieved September 12, 2017.
- Hopkins, Andrew (July 9, 2009). "UNF recruits selected in 2009 MLB draft". University of North Florida Ospreys. Retrieved September 12, 2017.
- "2010 Gulf Coast Nationals - (Rk)". The Baseball Cube. Retrieved September 12, 2017.
- Janes, Chelsea (March 15, 2015). "Michael A. Taylor arrives, poised to open season as Nationals starting center fielder". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 12, 2017.
- Kerr, Byron (January 27, 2014). "Michael Taylor on 40-man roster and next step with Nationals". MASN Sports. Retrieved September 12, 2017.
- Nats add three, including two arms, to 40-man roster
- "2013 Prospect Watch". MLB Pipeline. Retrieved September 12, 2017.
- "Michael Taylor, of, Nationals". Baseball America. Retrieved September 12, 2017.
- Michael A. Taylor call-up official, Steven Souza Jr. to the DL (UPDATED)
- Michael A. Taylor homers in MLB debut, Nationals cruise past Mets
- Nationals select contract of OF Nate Schierholtz, option Michael A. Taylor to Triple-A.
- Kilgore, Adam (September 28, 2014). "Jordan Zimmermann throws no-hitter in Nationals' regular season finale". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 12, 2017.
- "2014 Prospect Watch". MLB Pipeline. Retrieved September 12, 2017.
- Ladson, Bill (April 19, 2015). "Span motors home from first in DL return; Taylor optioned". mlb.com. Retrieved June 2, 2015.
- Wagner, James; Janes, Chelsea (April 29, 2015). "Nationals call up Michael A. Taylor, Sammy Solis, option A.J. Cole to Syracuse". Washington Post. Retrieved June 2, 2015.
- "Taylor slams Diamondbacks in ninth to lift Nationals to 9-6 win". The Washington Post. May 13, 2015. Retrieved May 14, 2015.
- "Harper ejected, his replacement hits game-winning slam in 9th". FOX Sports. May 13, 2015. Retrieved May 14, 2015.
- Statcast | MLB.com
- Richcreek, Katie (August 20, 2015). "Nationals' Michael Taylor Hits Longest Major League Home Run of 2015". Bleacher Report. Retrieved September 1, 2015.
- Southard, Dargan (August 20, 2015). "Taylor breaks Statcast record with 493-ft. HR". MLB.com. Retrieved September 1, 2015.
- Janes, Chelsea (August 28, 2015). "Michael A. Taylor says tests on bruised right knee all negative". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 4, 2015.
- "Nationals' Michael Taylor undergoes MRI, hopes to return soon". CBS Sports. September 4, 2015. Retrieved September 4, 2015.
- Valentine, Harvey (September 4, 2015). "Nationals tie it the 9th, beat Braves 5-2 in 10th on Michael Taylor's pinch-hit HR". U.S. News and World Report. Retrieved September 4, 2015.
- "Yoenis Cespedes Misplays Ball in Center Field, Leads to Little League Grand Slam". Bleacher Report. September 8, 2015. Retrieved September 12, 2017.
- Axisa, Mike (September 26, 2015). "LOOK: Phillies' Aaron Altherr hits inside-the-park grand slam". CBS Sports. Retrieved September 12, 2017.
- Reddington, Patrick (February 18, 2016). "Washington Nationals 2016 Spring Training: Michael Taylor vs Ben Revere - Who starts in CF?". Federal Baseball. Retrieved September 12, 2017.
- Brewer, Jerry (April 7, 2016). "Early injury to Ben Revere tests Mike Rizzo's resolve — and his plan". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 12, 2017.
- Cole, Mike (June 23, 2016). "Nationals' Michael Taylor Might Have Had The Worst Game In Baseball History". New England Sports Network. Retrieved July 24, 2016.
- Todd, Jeff (July 4, 2016). "Nationals Activate Jonathan Papelbon, Option Michael Taylor". MLB Trade Rumors. Retrieved July 24, 2016.
- Reddington, Patrick (July 8, 2016). "Nationals call up Trea Turner, Michael A. Taylor; Ryan Zimmerman to DL, Lucas Giolito to Triple-A". Federal Baseball. Retrieved July 24, 2016.
- Hughes, Chase (July 24, 2016). "NATS OPTION GIOLITO, TAYLOR TO MAKE ROOM FOR ZIMMERMAN AND SOLIS". CSN Mid-Atlantic. Retrieved July 24, 2016.
- Janes, Chelsea (August 29, 2016). "Michael A. Taylor recalled, Lucas Giolito optioned to Syracuse". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 12, 2017.
- Shafer, Jacob (August 5, 2016). "Electric Rookie Trea Turner Providing Crucial Spark for Nationals". Bleacher Report. Retrieved September 12, 2017.
- Castillo, Jorge (August 30, 2016). "Ben Revere isn't bitter about losing his starting spot". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 12, 2017.
- Castillo, Jorge (December 19, 2016). "Michael A. Taylor wants to learn from his 'pretty disappointing' 2016 season". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 12, 2017.
- Castillo, Jorge (May 1, 2017). "This might be Michael A. Taylor's last chance to prove he's an everyday center fielder". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 12, 2017.
- Janes, Chelsea (June 6, 2017). "Now comfortable in an everyday role, Michael A. Taylor is finally blossoming". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 12, 2017.
- Lebowitz, Paul (June 28, 2017). "Michael Taylor making most of opportunity after Adam Eaton injury". FanRag Sports Network. Archived from the original on September 12, 2017. Retrieved September 12, 2017.
- Janes, Chelsea (July 6, 2017). "Michael A. Taylor is headed to the 10-day disabled list with oblique strain". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 12, 2017.
- Weyrich, Matt (August 11, 2017). "Brian Goodwin and Michael Taylor would form a formidable center field platoon for the Washington Nationals". Federal Baseball. Retrieved September 12, 2017.
- Castillo, Jorge (September 8, 2017). "Michael A. Taylor takes the inside track to a grand slam in Nationals' victory". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 12, 2017.
- McIntosh, Whitney (2017-10-12). "Michael A. Taylor comes to Nationals' rescue again with 3-run homer one game after 8th-inning Grand Slam". SBNation.com. Retrieved 2019-10-02.
- Michael A. Taylor started hitting his stride just as he started losing playing time (Washington Post)
- Michael A. Taylor ended the season struggling. The Nationals are hopeful he can turn it around. (Washington Post)
- "Michael A. Taylor Stats". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 2019-10-02.
- "Washington Nationals win 2019 World Series". MLB. Retrieved October 31, 2019.
- Adams, Steve (October 15, 2020). "Michael A. Taylor Clears Waivers, Elects Free Agency". MLB Trade Rumors. Retrieved October 15, 2020.