It was a very good season for Michael Taylor. He worked daily with then-Single-A Potomac hitting coach Mark Harris to tweak his approach at the plate. He already commanded the outfield for the P-Nats and by the end of the season, his at-bats turned into clutch moments that kept Potomac in the running for the Mills Cup title to the final few days.
Recently, Taylor earned a spot on the Nationals’ 40-man roster. At 22, he is the second youngest outfielder on the roster. Some guy named Bryce Harper just turned 21. Taylor is also the second-tallest outfielder on the Nationals at 6-foot-4, with only Jayson Werth taller, at 6-foot-5.
Taylor has not disappointed in the Puerto Rican Winter League for Mayaguez Indians. Taylor raced out to a .412 batting average in the first few weeks of winter ball. He settled in to a .365 average, with seven doubles, two triples, three homers, three stolen bases and 10 RBIs in 36 games.
Baseball America was also impressed, and has Taylor as the No. 6 Nats prospect.
No. 6 Nats Prospect: Michael Taylor
“Taylor, I think, is exciting,” Baseball America national writer Aaron Fitt said. “A really wiry, quick twitch, athletic body, a guy that has great instincts. He is an exceptional defender, as we all know and he can throw. He can run, he steals bases. I liked how he developed this year. I think he is starting to hit for some more power. He hits a lot of doubles now, he is stealing a lot of bases at a pretty good success rate. A lot of things he has needed to work on he has made progress.
But Fitt said the offense is still a work in progress. Still, the numbers in Puerto Rico are a very positive sign.
“There is still a question about the bat,” he said. “Scouts are still skeptical. It is not the prettiest swing and it is not the best approach. He swings and misses a lot. He still struck out 131 times this year. You got to hit at least a little bit to be a big leaguer and an everyday player.”
So what former major leaguer player could Taylor be like if he can make it?
“He has got that kind of Mike Cameron (projection),” Fitt said. “To me, that is still the best comp because Cameron is a guy that didn’t really hit for a high average but did have some power and played an outstanding defensive center field.”
The bottom line is Taylor has a good shot to be the next top prospect for the Nationals at the center field position. If he gains consistency at the next level, which I project will be at Double-A Harrisburg this season, his goal of making it to the majors could soon be realized.