2020 Dodgers Player Projections: Chris Taylor
COVID-19 and a land in lock-down notwithstanding, after an appropriate break in between such pieces, I'd like to continue with our 2020 Dodgers projection series now. If it's all right with you.
You'll excuse my sunny prediction-making this brilliant spring day, won't you, because I believe we'll see baseball in early June. It might be the tail end of what some are calling a "second Spring Training" or it might just be actual meaningful regular-season games.
We're not going to see 162 in 2020. But 100? Yes. Forget the month-long ST reboot some have suggested. With a coronavirus break from mid-March to mid-May, and either a 15-game (which translates to three outings per rotation starter) or a 20-day preseason (four outings per starter), the first or second week of June makes good sense. Perhaps with empty stadiums, which doesn't sound nearly as bad as it did at first glance. To avoid injuries -- and it's not like guys are sitting around in rocking chairs while they're on hiatus; they're preparing to play -- the league will allow for two or three extra pitchers on the roster at the beginning of regulation play. Say for another 15 or 20 days. All of the above is doable.
Now to Chris Taylor, who a buddy of mine refers to as the Dodgers' "Swiss Army knife." And I concur. The first thing that I think of when the topic turns to CT3 is this; his jaw-dropping pennant-saving catch in Game 7 of the 2018 National League Championship Series at Milwaukee. Christian Yelich, Christian Schmelich!
The second thing I think of is the fact that Taylor had been a life-long infielder a mere months prior to that play, and that after being thrown into the breech not just in the outfield, but in center, he grew quickly into an excellent defender.
Third, I think about the trade for poor Zach Lee, Taylor's out-of-nowhere 2017 season, and his .288/.354/.496 line, with 34 doubles, five triples, 21 home runs and 72 RBIs. Next I think about his NLCS MVP that October. He hit .316/.458/789, with a double, a triple and two homers in that one. And finally, I think about how Taylor is the best defensive shortstop on the L.A. roster.
124 games, 414 PA, 52 R, 96 H, 29 2B, 4 3B, 12 HR, 52 RBIs, .262/.333/.462, 169 TB, 1.7 bWAR.
539 G, 1707 AB, 255 R, 448 H, 111 2B, 20 3B, 5 1 HR, 204 RBIs, .262/.331/.441, 10.4 bWAR.
Baseball Reference has removed its projections from the site, so unless and until they return, we're substituting ZIPS, which prior to the shutdown projected Taylor's 2020 season this way:
514 PA, 15 HR, 67 R, 63 RBI, .259/.329/.441.
Steamer, which is updating its numbers during the shutdown, projects the following:
298 PA, 8 HR, 35 R, 32 RBI, .244/.318/.436.
My projections for a 100-game season shake out like this:
319 AB, 48 R, 86 H, 24 2B, 12 HR, 42 RBIs, .270/.340/.472.
Comment: Yes, one can point to Taylor's 2017 campaign and scream "career year!" They all have them. But this is a six-position player who contributes plenty with the bat, the glove and on the bases we're talking about here. And one of my favorites.
Even with the long break and no way to predict which players will be affected negatively or positively, I'll take the mid-March ST line of .333/.421/.733, two homers and four RBIs as an indication of something. Not a ton, but something. And like I said, I'm feeling rather sunny today.
And remember, glove conquers all.
Howard Cole has been writing about baseball on the internet since Y2K. Follow him on Twitter.