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Michael Taylor’s Time Just Got Tougher

January 10, 2012

 

Michael Taylor seems destined for a significant role on the 2012 A’s. I have frequently commented that this is a make or break year for Taylor who needs to prove whether or not he is someone who should be put into the A’s long-term plans. It occurred to me today that despite continually saying this, ultimately we have just seen 35 plate appearances at the MLB level from him. Yet as a 26-year-old when can he finally show what he is worth other than at the top level this year? Does he gain anything from a fourth straight year in Triple-A? Probably not.

So far in his 250 game, 1,051 plate appearance Triple-A career, Taylor has swung to a .273/.354/.428 clip. Nothing outstanding but also nothing that’d cause particular alarm or would make one say that he needed more time at the level. With a 10.5% BB% and 18.2% K% nothing stands out as a red flag either. Despite that it took until this year, for him to get the call to the pros, with a 2011 campaign with the River Cats that closely mirrored his AAA career numbers with a .272/.360/.456 slash line that reflected an uptick in his power numbers as in 2011 he slugged 16 home runs in 400 at bats compared to a mere six in 523 at bats a year prior.

In his short time with the A’s in 2011 he didn’t show much. In 35 plate appearances, he had a 14.3% BB% to a 31.4% K%. His .200/.314/.300 slash line did not turn heads. Taylor perhaps is the biggest loser care of the re-signing of Coco Crisp. Taylor had projected to find a home in the outfield as a starter or perhaps as a fourth-outfielder who would be able to get a lot of playing time giving the left-handed Josh Reddick days off and filling in in left field when Collin Cowgill or should Brandon Allen be squeezed out of first base or designated hitter, either of them need a day off. A slow start in spring could spell disaster for Taylor’s future. While he still has options left, another year at Sacramento may cement him as a bust. The Stanford alum, needs to put together a strong spring to force himself into the lineup anda potential starting left field gig, because for the A’s going forward if Taylor is to be a part of the rebuild he has no choice but to produce and produce now. Even with just a 35 plate appearance audition in 2011, fair or not, there won’t be too many more opportunities left for him.

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