Taylor looking to get on a roll after positive week of at-bats

Nationals center fielder Michael A. Taylor is looking to build off of a couple of solid games at the plate and on the field in the last week. He has six hits in his last six games.

Taylor smacked a two-run homer and added a double in Friday's 9-5 win over the Marlins. On Saturday Taylor demonstrated poise with two walks. Then on Sunday he lined a triple off the right center field wall in his first at-bat.

Taylor-HR-Trot-Gray-Sidebar.jpgMartinez said he is seeing some positive steps forward for Taylor after starting off the season slow at the plate.

"Yeah, he's swinging the bat really well right now so hopefully we keep him going," Martinez said in Miami. "Over the last couple of days getting him to swing at balls in the strike zone has really helped him a lot."

Taylor has made an adjustment in his stance. He also said that he has been working on not trying to do too much during each at-bat. Taylor has looked to also calm his breathing in the box.

"He's worked with (Nationals hitting coach Kevin) Long on trying to get the barrel through the strike zone consistently," Martinez noted. "That's the biggest thing for him, just getting him ready, getting his foot down in time. He's worked with K. Long and he's coming along. Definition of insanity. Right? For him, the change could help him. He's been working on it and he's been doing good."

Martinez broke down the basics of Taylor's swing. Obviously, Taylor wants to cut down on the strikeouts. Here is one way he is looking to do that: "His swing is so unique that if his foot doesn't get down, all he does is rush and has to get out there," Martinez said. "We're trying to get him to get down early and be ready to hit. Get in a good hitting position and be ready to hit fastballs. He's done over part of last week. Hopefully we keep him going."

One of Taylor's leadership qualities that impressed the Nats when he made his way up the chain was his ability to run the defensive assignments in the outfield from his center field position. He told me about that responsibility while with High Single-A Potomac back in 2013, and Martinez said Taylor still assumes that role at the major league level.

"You watch Michael out there he is the captain out there," Martinez said. "When he moves everybody else seems to move with him. And it's good. He knows, I preach all the time, you catch everything. Nothing hits the ground with you out there and for me he's a gold glover. He's really good out there."

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