October 23, 2017

It could hardly be more fitting that Taylor shared LCS MVP honors with Turner after batting .316/.458/.789 in 24 PA during the series, for the versatile 27-year-old—who has led off every postseason game—represents another triumph of the team's bargain-hunting approach. Acquired from the Mariners in June 2016 for 2010 first-round pick Zach Lee, who was shellacked in his lone big league appearance with the Dodgers, Taylor had hit just .234/.289/.309 with one homer in 318 PA from 2014–16. Thanks to the evangelism of Turner, Taylor remade his approach, adding a leg kick to help with timing as well as an uppercut.

Sent to Triple A to start the season, he caught a break with Forsythe's injury and quickly became an indispensable piece of the offense. After subsequent injuries to Turner, centerfielder Joc Pederson, Gonzalez, and Seager, he became an everyday superutilityman, starting 47 times in centerfield, 46 in left, 19 at second base, 10 at shortstop and three at third base. In all, he gave the Dodgers Seager-like production (.288/.354/.496, 21 HR).

Taylor's 17 steals led the Dodgers, while his 4.8 WAR ranked third among their position players, his 122 OPS+ fourth, his 21 homers tied with Turner for fifth. Three of those homers were grand slams; only the Reds' Scooter Gennett had more. Seventeen of his 21 homers came against righties but his platoon OPS splits were just 18 points apart (.855 to .837). As he showed several times thus far in the postseason, he's capable of lengthy, relentless at-bats—his nine-pitch battle against Jose Quintana to start NLCS Game 5 suggested the champagne would flow that night—though his 25.0% strikeout rate ranked third on the team. 

All of America got to see just how good Springer is defensively during the ALCS thanks to his series-saving catch in Game 6 and his leap over teammate Marwin Gonzalez in Game 7. Springer is more than just a terrific glove, though. The Astros’ regular leadoff hitter went deep 34 times in the regular season as part of a .283/.367/.522 campaign in which he greatly improved his selectivity at the plate. The postseason hasn’t been as fun, with Springer hitting only .115 (3-for-26) with no extra-base hits in the ALCS, but given his power and better plate discipline, don’t expect that slump to last much longer.

Edge: Push

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