It’s no secret that Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop, Corey Seager, was just rounding into his old form before he suffered a hamstring strain that sideline him earlier this month. Leading up to the injury he was not only riding a 9-game hitting streak, he was hitting .330/.397/.589 with 11 doubles, 6 home runs, and 28 RBIs in the previous 30 games before injury. Fans had to adjust last year when he went down for the season, fortunately they had Manny Machado to help ease the pain.
Although the injury is not as severe, this year Dodgers fans have had a red hot Chris Taylor.
2018 Sophomore-ish Slump
Chris Taylor has struggled since his breakout 2017 season when he slashed an impressive .288/.354/.496 with 21 HRs and 72 RBIs. Although it was not technically his “sophomore” season in 2018, he did have a post-breakout-season slump. His slash line regressed to .254/.331/.444 and his already high 142 strikeouts in 2017, rose to a league leading 178 Ks. This year, Taylor started off looking like he may regress even more.
What do y'all think this year holds for Chris Taylor? 2017 version? 2018 one? Somewhere in-between?
— Dodgers Nation (@DodgersNation) April 11, 2019
Through his first quarter of 2019 Taylor was slashing a very poor .214/.287/.369. He had hit just 3 homers and 16 RBIs in that span. Following that first quarter it was more of the same, as he continued to hit a very unimpressive .225/.276/.423 with just 2 more home runs and 7 RBIs in subsequent 24 games. Offensively, he was just plain bad. Cue Corey Seager’s injury.
2019 More of the Same?
On June 11, 2019 Corey Seager suffered a Grade 1/2 left hamstring strain. He was removed from the game and projected to miss at least 6 weeks. In his absence, Chris Taylor has taken most of the playing time at shortstop. Defensively he’s been ok, not spectacular as he has accrued 4 errors in the short amount of time he’s been there. Offensively however, he’s filled the hole very well.
Chris Taylor’s slash line on May 2: .162/.250/.242/.493 in 84 plate appearances.
Since then: .299/.356/.563/.919 in 162 PA
— Jorge Castillo (@jorgecastillo) June 28, 2019
Chris Taylor Carries the Baton
Since the Seager injury, the offensive baton has been passed to Chris Taylor and he is sprinting. In the 15 games since the injury, Chris Taylor has been slashing .429/.483/.755. During that span he also has 7 doubles, 3 home runs, 15 RBIs, and his OPS is a very impressive 1.238. Additionally, his wRC+ for the season before Seager’s injury was just 76, post injury its 216! Comparatively, Seager hit .411/.459/.732 with 9 doubles, 3 home runs, 14 RBIs and a 1.191 OPS in his 15 games leading up to his injury.
Chris Taylor w/ another double. That's his 9th XBH in his last 9 games. He's raised his BA 34 points (.224 to .258) over those 9 games#Dodgers
— Rick Krajewski (@Rick_K21) June 28, 2019
Stepping Up When It Counts
Yes, 15 games is a small sample, especially from a streaky hitter, but this is a more disciplined Chris Taylor. During these last 15 games his BB/K has been .47, pre-Seager injury it was .28 He’s been more selective, not chasing, and not allowing pitchers to expand the zone. The result has been more walks or better pitches to hit. Even if this hot streak doesn’t last, it’s good for his confidence. To know, down the stretch, what he is still capable of. Furthermore, it also shows he can still come through in the clutch, something the Dodgers will need come September.