Michael Taylor’s Emergence (Finally)
By Andrew Brown
The departures of Chris Young (Free Agency) and Seth Smith (trade with Padres) have left an opening for an extra outfielder on the A’s 25-man roster. The discussion on who will fill that spot will be well documented amongst the A’s writers. One of the players who will be fighting for that spot has been with the A’s for four seasons with the fifth season being 2014. He was supposed to fill the gap that was left for a couple of seasons with the trade of Nick Swisher. That hasn’t been the case as is obvious by the amount of at bats he has had with the A’s. That player is once top prospect Michael Taylor.
Apr 20, 2013; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Oakland Athletics left fielder Michael Taylor (23) works out prior to the game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Taylor came over to the A’s from the Toronto Blue Jays. The trade was an unusual one in that it occurred between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Blue Jays. The Blue Jays traded Ace pitcher Roy Halladay to the Phillies for Taylor, Kyle Drabek, and Travis d’Arnaud. Then within the time frame of that deal being completed Taylor was then traded by the Blue Jays to the A’s for top prospect Brett Wallace, who at the time was not panning out. Taylor was the product of the trade by the A’s that included Matt Holliday and the St. Louis Cardinals. He was the next big time A’s slugger.
It is now 2013 going on 2014 in a couple of days and Taylor has never reached his full potential or hype. With only 74 at bats and a home run to his name Taylor has left a lot to be desired. The talent and skills are there, but the translation of that talent and those skills has never occurred at the big league level. His defense has been below average in his few appearances, which also has been a downfall of his skills.
With Spring Training only a couple months away Taylor has his first legitimate shot to make the 25 man roster out of Spring Training and be with the team the whole season seeing consistent at bats. He’ll have his first real shot at playing at the big league level. There is a growing concern amongst the team and fan base that Taylor may just need a change of scenery. However, sometimes a player just needs a real shot with no thoughts of being replaced if they experience some failure. I think this is the year we really get to see Michael Taylor at his best. His skills and talent will finally show through this season and all the effort to acquire him and develop him will pay huge dividends. 2014 Michael Taylor will be the 2012 Josh Reddick, but better offensively. Mark my words.