Michael A. Taylor set to miss Significant Time due to Injury
The Washington Nationals’ outfield will take a huge hit as center fielder Michael A. Taylor injured himself in Thursday’s 10-4 win against the Minnesota Twins. In the second inning, it was reported that Taylor made a diving catch, then one batter later trudged to the dugout in discomfort. Results of the MRI taken on Friday was worse than what manager Dave Martinez hoped for and he told the media that Taylor would, “miss a significant amount of time.” Taylor has a sprained left knee and hip, with no timetable for his return.
Taylor was batting .360 in spring training and jockeying for the starting center field position. The work he put in during the offseason to improve his swing was paying off and it was going to be quite the race to Opening Day, but now it seems that 21-year-old Victor Robles will get his shot.
Next Man Up
He was one of the Nationals top prospects but his shine took a hit when the then teen hitting machine Juan Soto took his place in a call-up and never looked back. In 24 at bats with the Nats in 2017 he posted a .250 AVG, and nearly doubled in 2018 with 59 at bats and a .288 AVG. While he is not the defensive standout that Taylor is, you don’t lose much on offense and on the base pads. Some might argue that in a limited amount of showings, Robles is the better hitter. Though he will need serious grooming and big league experience before considered a threat, this is a huge opportunity for him to etch his name in the lineup for good.
The outfield for Opening Day reads: Juan Soto LF, Victor Robles CF, Adam Eaton RF. In all honesty, any outfield lineup devoid of Bryce Harper is significantly weaker, but Robles now carries the title of “best arm.” When Taylor returns it will be interesting to see how Martinez involves him as the only healthy backup at this time is Matt Adams (Howie Kendrick out with hamstring injury). Taylor puts the Nats in a tough situation but one they are all too familiar with. While this temporarily closes the door on him, look for more young guys that play the outfield like Andrew Stevenson to stick around and fill the void when necessary.
With 12 days until all games count, do not look for much to change with who will take the field for game one of 162.