The most successful players the Nationals have on their current 25-man roster have either been first round draft picks or acquired from another team like Jayson Werth and Gio Gonzalez. Since moving to Washington, the Nationals have not done well at developing players who were not sure cut stars when they were drafted like Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper were however there may be a future star waiting in the minors to get his shot in the majors. That future star is Michael A. Taylor.
Michael Taylor was drafted by the Nationals with the 172 overall pick in the sixth round of the 2009 draft which was the same year Stephen Strasburg was drafted with the first overall pick. Originally drafted as a shortstop out of Westminster Academy in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Taylor was quickly moved into centerfield to fully take advantage of his elite athleticism and speed.
Since being drafted the one thing that was automatic about Michael Taylor was his excellent defense as he used his above average arm and what some scouts called “effortless speed” to cover the vastness that is center field. Taylor’s defense has clearly been major league ready for a while now however the thing holding the young Taylor back from advancing throughout the Nationals minor league system is his bat.
Taylor never batted over .263 in any one of his previous four season that he spent in Single-A baseball but even with his struggles from the plate his elite defense allowed him to earn the honor of Carolina player of the week 4 times as well as being named to the Carolina Post-Season All Star roster in 2013. Earning these awards may have led to his newfound confidence and supreme skill he has at the plate in the 2014 season.
Prior to the beginning of the 2014 season Taylor received a promotion to Double-A Harrisburg Senators where he has taken full advantage of his opportunities and is putting up some MVP type of numbers so far in this short season.
In Taylor previous four season in Single-A the most homeruns he hit in a season was 13 which he did in 126 games for the Hagerstown Suns so when he hits 14 home runs in just his first 50 games you know something clicked. Taylor has clearly elevated his game since receiving the promotion to Double-A as he is not batting .317 with an outstanding on base percentage of .399 but the most impressive aspect of Taylor’s season is his slugging and OPS as his slugging is a monstrous .613 while his OPS is an unheard of 1.012. To put those numbers in perspective if he put those numbers up in the Major Leagues he would be sixth in the league in slugging as well as sixth in the league in OPS behind such superstars like Troy Tulowitzki, Yasiel Puig, and Giancarlo Stanton!
In the 50 games in Taylor’s Double-A season he has created an impact with the bat, defensively, as well as with his legs. Taylor currently has 14 stolen bases to go along with his average of .317, 14 homeruns, and 39 RBIs showing his complete ability to be a complete five tool player, which is so very rare in the MLB.
Michael Taylor is clearly hitting at a whole other level in Double- A this season and when you mix in his elite defensive ability the Nationals have a budding star in their organization that is doing everything in his power to advance in the Nationals organization. If Taylor can keep up these unreal numbers it will force the Nationals to give him a shot in the Major Leagues possibly as soon as this year, which could be easier than other prospects being called up as Taylor is currently on the 40 man active roster. In the famous words of F.P. Santangelo “He’s ready, call him up”!