Chris Taylor strikes out a lot. In 2017 he struck out 142 times in 140 games. In the 2018 season, he struck out a whopping 178 times in 155 games played. Yeah, the numbers aren’t great in that category. Taylor led the National League with most strikeouts. He sits at 5th on the 2018 MLB strikeout leaderboard behind Chris Davis, Joey Gallo, Giancarlo Stanton, and Yoan Moncada.

Despite the strikeout issues, Chris Taylor has been a constant threat at the plate. Chris Taylor has been a massive help on the offensive side of things for the Dodgers the last two seasons.

Addressing The Problem

In 2018, Chris Taylor swung at pitches outside of the zone 25.8%, compared to last season’s 25.2%. His swing percentage inside the zone has gone up from last season’s 68.9% to this season’s 72.3%. Now it’s great that he’s swinging at pitches inside the zone, but it all comes down to whether he makes contact or not.

Taylor’s first three seasons was a small sample size for us, appearing in just 47 games in 2014, 37 games in 2015, and 36 games in 2016. The following season, in 2017, he appeared in 140 games. That’s quite the leap from 36 games to 140 games in less than a year.

Season Team O-Swing% Z-Swing% Swing% O-Contact% Z-Contact% Contact% Zone% F-Strike% SwStr%
2014 Mariners 23.7 % 69.2 % 45.6 % 47.1 % 83.1 % 73.4 % 48.1 % 61.6 % 12.1 %
2015 Mariners 22.8 % 67.0 % 45.3 % 47.6 % 78.1 % 70.6 % 50.9 % 69.6 % 13.3 %
2016 2 Teams 26.0 % 76.4 % 50.8 % 45.5 % 84.0 % 74.0 % 49.2 % 64.6 % 13.0 %
2017 Dodgers 25.2 % 68.9 % 45.6 % 53.1 % 86.0 % 76.3 % 46.6 % 64.3 % 10.8 %
2018 Dodgers 25.8 % 72.3 % 47.4 % 53.4 % 78.5 % 71.2 % 46.3 % 62.6 % 13.7 %
In 2018, Taylor struck out looking 54 times and struck out swinging 124 times. His strike out looking percentage is all the way up to 30.3%, which is nearly seven points higher than the league average.
Year PA L/SO S/SO L/SO%
2018 605 54 124 30.3%
5 Yr 1493 119 286 29.4%
MLB 23.5%

Breaking Down Chris Taylor’s Swing

When Chris Taylor is heating up and feeling good, he could arguably display one of the prettiest swings on this Dodgers team. As I explained earlier, Taylor is a swing and miss type of hitter. Fortunately for him, Taylor’s savior (and new hitting coach), Robert Van Scoyoc has been added to the Dodgers coaching staff as the new hitting coach.

Van Scoyoc fixed Taylor’s swing a few years back, which led to his best season as a professional in the 2017 season. Taylor is hoping to cut that strikeout number way down this season, and Van Scoyoc might be the right guy to help him with that.

These two comparisons from the 2014 and 2017 season of Chris Taylor’s swing are completely different from each other. Here is a simple explanation of SwingScore.

Chris Taylor’s 2014 SwingScore from Tewskbary Hitting:

Chris Taylor’s 2017 SwingScore:

One huge difference I noticed right away is Chris Taylor’s timing. In his 2014 swing, the timing is a bit off. His front foot is delayed and is planted much later than he would like. Fast forward to the new and improved 2017 Chris Taylor. The front plant foot is down and in the dirt by the time his bat makes its way around.

For all I know, 2017 could have been “peak Chris Taylor”. The Dodgers could not have asked for my as far as hitting goes. We all know the power is there. Just like the video showed, if Taylor get’s that front foot down and ready, his back leg strength will take care of the rest. His .850 OPS and 255 total bases in 2017 were both a career high.

Final Thoughts

At the age of 28, Chris Taylor may already be well into his prime baseball years. He’s already proven his worth as an everyday player for the Dodgers, whether it be anywhere in the outfield, shortstop, or second base. The Dodgers have turned to more of a platoon style of lineup recently. The front office and Dave Roberts are relying on analytics and matchups to assist them throughout the year.

Now that close friends of Taylor’s, Robert Van Scoyoc, has stepped in as the hitting coach, Chris Taylor has can feed off of their relationship and continue to focus on knocking down that strikeout number. Both Justin Turner and Chris Taylor have played pivotal roles on the offense the last few seasons. These two bats along with the consistent pitching can be huge factors in another Dodgers World Series run.

 

Random Dodger of the Day: Brian Holton