Chris Taylor is off to a… not very good start this spring. Through 10 games, Taylor is slashing just .115/.281/.115 with three hits, zero extra base hits, one RBI, five walks and 10 strikeouts. Usually, a slow spring training start is far from the end of the world, but in Taylor’s case, considering he’s coming off a down year in 2022 that saw him hit just .221 with an OPS+ of 86, there’s definitely some cause for concern.
While I may be showing some concern, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts is not. He spoke to the media earlier this week, and said that Taylor is just working his way back, and thinks last season (and I guess early Cactus League play) was an outlier (per Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register).
“I think I’ll make the excuses for him, in the sense of, last year, I just feel last year was an outlier of a season, I really do,” Roberts said. “I think the body of work over the last four out of five years has been consistent and I just think that last year, he was not himself. Right now, I’m gonna let the process with Chris and the hitting coaches play out. But I have no problem betting on the player, the person.”
I definitely agree with Roberts saying he needs to let the process play out, but we have seen this story before of him “betting on the player, the person” with regards to Taylor. CT3 has seemed to have one of the longer leashes for the Dodgers, and despite last year’s struggles, remained in the lineup in every key moment.
While I don’t think the Dodgers need to make any drastic changes regarding CT yet, I am a little concerned that last year was not the outlier, and in fact, the new norm. But Roberts believes that Taylor will get back on track.
“With CT, we all know how hard he works, how much he’s going to grind and compete. Right now he just seems out of whack,” Roberts said. “That’s what spring training is for. There’s nothing that says you’ve got to be locked in right now. We’ve got plenty of time. But right now he just seems a little out of whack.”
Opening Day is about two weeks away, so we’ll give Taylor another few weeks to figure things out. But if these struggles continue into May and even June, we may have to start having a different conversation.
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