2018 Dodgers Player Reviews: Chris Taylor
The 2017 Dodgers biggest breakout player was without a doubt, Chris Armand Taylor. The Dodgers acquired CT3 on June 19, 2016 for a handshake and two packs of big league chew. Wait I’m sorry, the Dodgers acquired him from Seattle for RHP Zach Lee.
Chris Taylor finished 2017 with a 4.8 WAR, a 126 WRC+, 21 HR, and an .850 OPS. That’s pretty ridiculous. CT3 also played stellar defense at 3 different positions. A Dodger Twitter fan favorite, CT3 was one of the players I was most excited for coming into 2018. Dodger fans couldn’t possible expect him to repeat his 2017 again, in 2018, could he?
Well the short answer is no. The longer and better answer, which is always more nuanced, is that he certainly had a good 2018 season.
- WAR: 3.1 (Fangraphs)
- WRC+: 113
- 17 HR’s, 775 OPS
- 178 K’s (lead NL)
Chris Taylor still put up respectable numbers. The numbers were just a little down from the year before, and the strikeout total was impossible to miss, and often came at infuriating moments. His K’s probably also stuck out to Dodger fans because many were either looking, on 3 straight pitches, pitches way out of the zone, or pitches he should have made contact with. Now one could look at those outcomes of strikeouts and think “that’s most strikeouts” but they were definitely over the top for CT3 this year.
All this to say, his strikeout rate only went from 25% in 2017 to 29.5% in 2018. In that 4.5% tends to lie the difference between a good year and a better year, okay results form better results.
This was a HUGE walk-off homer versus The Rockies. As everyone knows, we had to play an extra game just to take our division title–so this game to keep pace was huge.
Chris Taylor hit .282 with a home run in October. Considering averages go down in the playoffs, this is a good showing. His highlights were more specific in October. CT3 had some monster plays, mostly in the NLCS. Let’s take a look.
Here he pulls kind of a “Rickey Rally” by hitting an infield single and advancing on an error. After this he showed off his wheels and stole 3rd. Austin Barnes drove him in after that. We don’t often see that type of run manufacturing, particularly from the Dodgers, so I included it.
Here is probably one of (if not absolutely) the best plays of the Dodgers postseason in 2018. CT3 takes somewhat of a bad angle on this scorcher by Christian Yelich, but somehow adjusted and made the most incredible catch. Cody Bellinger’s reaction just adds more richness.
All in all, CT3 had a very good postseason. It may not be remembered as well as his Co-MVP performance in the 2017 NLCS, but it was worthy of remembrance.
What Lies Ahead?
The 2019 season is a slight mystery for CT3. His versatility means he definitely will have playing time. Whether he platoons the same as last year depends on management, injuries, and obviously his own performance. If he can give the same 2018 performance with a few less timely K’s, Dodger fans should be very grateful for CT3 and what he brings to the team.
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It’s not the 4+% increase in SO that matters. It’s the 25% to 29% that does. Way too many SOs, that’s almost nine KOs to ever HR. Remember how many times he struck out with a runner on 3rd and less than 2 outs. A lot better options out there Verdugo being one. Not a Kiki fan but would go with him over Taylor as he improved where Taylor got worse.
Verdugo may or may not be one option, as he is another LHB and we don’t need an over abundance of LHB on a team that struggles against LHP. As per how Dodgers manage players and lineups Verdugo would only join that ever growing long list of Dodger [platoon players. If Taylor can make more contact more often, no telling the kind of year he could have in 2019, but like most others he will remain in a platoon going forward or so it appears.
Great, trade him to the Giants. We’ll take him.