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The Dodgers Will Keep Starting Chris Taylor, Even Through His Struggles

Dodgers
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - APRIL 20: Chris Taylor #3 of the Los Angeles Dodgers flies out in the second inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park on April 20, 2019 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

One of the most disappointing parts of the season for Dodgers fans has been Chris Taylor’s production at the plate. The guy that seemingly came out of nowhere to destroy opposing pitching two years ago is suddenly nowhere to be found. With 15 percent the season already completed, fans are starting to wonder when he will find that swing again. Dave Roberts seems to believe it is just around the corner and will continue to get him at-bats.

Let’s just be real about Taylor’s numbers for a minute, setting aside our love and adoration for him. He’s not striking out any more than he did last year, but he’s also not striking out any less. Taylor has struck out in about 28-29 percent of plate appearances over the last two years, and I don’t see that changing. The real concern in his numbers lies in how often he is squaring up balls.

Taylor is barreling roughly 2.6% of pitches, and his exit velocity is at a career low. So he’s strikeout out a lot now and he’s also not hitting the ball hard. Interestingly enough, his launch angle is also down. The Dodgers brought over Taylor’s hitting coach Robert Van Scoyoc as the team hitting coach, and it seems to have had a reverse effect. A guy who preaches the launch angle in his approach, you would expect Taylor to have better results.

A deeper dive into Taylor’s numbers gives me even less confidence that he will come out of this slump. He is seeing almost 8 percent more fastballs than he did last year, but his whiff percentage has also gone up on the heater. A high whiff percentage on breaking balls and offspeed pitches is expected, but you cannot expect big league success if you can’t hit a fastball.

Taylor is currently slashing .172/.262/.259 on the year.

Final Verdict

I guess if Alex Verdugo was not waiting for his chance to be an everyday player, I could see Taylor getting more starts. But that has not been the case in 2019. Verdugo is hitting the cover off of the ball and continues to do so in a limited role. Verdugo has played in fewer games and somehow been awarded fewer at-bats than Chris Taylor, despite hitting 352 with four home runs and destroying left-handed pitching.

It does not make sense risking games just to try and get his swing back at this point. That can be worked out, but not in these games that will eventually matter down the line.

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Written by Brook Smith

Brook is the Senior Editor of Dodgers Nation, with several years of experience in sports journalism. He is an avid Dodgers and Lakers fan, and can be spotted fairly often at Dodger Stadium and Staples Center.

16 Comments

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  1. This is stupidity, he is what he is a bench player and doesn’t need to be worked in to the games. He just needs to keep working behind the scenes and when needed be ready.

    Verdugo deserves a full time role period. He has proven it with Pederson. Taylor is an important part of this team and that’s to spell rest for Kike & Seager and all 3 OF slots.

    Robots this is why I hate you and we will never win a World Series cause you are stubborn as a mule.

    Bench players ?Don’t force it and move on from platooning all this guys cause you think you have the Midas touch.

  2. Said it before, this guy is not an everyday player. Came over from the AL and until pitchers found out his weaknesses was a good player. That lasted maybe half the season and has been all downhill since. Roberts playing him reminds me of him playing Ganderson last year. Both are has beens and the only thing Taylor is good for is leading the league in KOs. Shows how weak Roberts is as a manager. This is ML baseball and its noy what you have done for me but what you are and can do for me now and in the future.

    • Taylor’s only use is as a defensive replacement. He takes that same dumb swing when he has 2 strikes. Verdugo should be playing as often as possible. Robert’s must stop taking stupid pills every day

    • Taylor was good for 1 season. Need to play Verdugo every day lefties or righties. My opinion, Kike is not an everyday player, he is productive coming of the bench. What is wrong with Turner. Hate to see the best catcher in the game playing for the Phillies, just because one of the richest team needs to save money.

  3. Roberts or whomever is making the line-up is wrong. The Dodgers wiil be swept by the Cubs(facing Lester). They will struggle against LHPs because of the JV-squad line-up(No Pederson,Muncy, batting Bellinger 6th, batting Seager 4th). Wake-up Dodgers brain-trust or the Dodgers will Not win the West. Yes The Padres can beat the Dodgers!!

  4. Sadly, I must agree with you. At times, our line-up completely perplexes me… makes no sense. The Dodgers are the most talented team in our division. But the Padres, as well as other division teams heating up, can beat the Dodgers because “the powers that be” aren’t reasonably strategic. So, Roberts and the decision-makers upstairs better wise up or we won’t be needing to even contemplate a division championship. But I will continue to proudly shout, ” Go Dodgers!” REGARDLESS.

  5. Again, what does it matter what we think or write? The people running the team are not facing reality. As Robin wrote above, “No Pederson, Muncy, batting Bellinger 6th, batting Seager 4th” is stupid. “Wake-up Dodgers brain-trust.”

  6. I’m just so sick of the stubbornness company line BS. Why oh WHY Taylor over Verdugo??? It’s time to put Belli back at first and let Muncy and Taylor battle it out for scraps; they’ve both had their year of fame but aren’t starters (tho’ I give Muncy more of a shot and would have him be first call for any IF subbing.) As far as Kike, let’s give HIM any rope being given to Taylor and more; he’s as good defensively as anyone on the team.

  7. Taylor is a versatile back up at several positions…period. Now, to make things worse, Freese and Kike have gone stone cold. Joc and Muncy deserve to be in there. Add Rocky Gale to the mix and we are probably screwed again today.

  8. We have lost 2/3 to the Cubs, and in last night’s game, the lineup was lacking offensive depth. You do not expect many runs with Taylor, Barnes/Gale, the pitcher, and Mr. Freese in the starting lineup. Today is no different, almost one-half of your lineup is batting below 225. In the meantime, Verdugo and Joc languish on the bench. This makes no sense. Combine this with the lack of run production from Turner and we have issues that need to be addressed. Big Red will hit, I am not worried about that; but the rest of the crew cited above is hurting us. Where is the FO, the manager, etc? Go Blue!!!

  9. I was wrong in that the Dodgers did Not get swept by the Cubs and were able to salvage a victory. I was afraid the lead-off triple by Verdugo would be wasted as automatic-outs Taylor,Barnes,pitchers spot were next. Taylor put the ball in play which should have been an out by Baez as his error allowed Verdugo to score from 3rd. Thank you Javy Baez for the gift! Some wildness, a couple of walks and a HPB and sac-fly by Bellinger allowed the 2nd run and ultimately the winning margin as Jensen gave up another homerun.

  10. I like Chris Taylor for what he has done for us in the past……but if we are gonna win ball games he needs to do something now. Roberts wants him to “find his stroke” but he can do that just as well in Oklahoma City. We need to score runs, particularly with the way our bullpen is pitching. Put your best horses out there Dave….you’re not only losing ballgames, you’re doing them an injustice.

  11. Are they crazy! There are dozens of utility infielders that can hit 179 and we have 2 that can not. We must have the worst bench in the league.

  12. Remember when they sent Puig and Pederson back to AAA?? I guess automatic-out Taylor is SO special that he is exempt from being sent down to AAA to find his stroke. How many base-runners will he leave on the base-paths? I was SO surprised he even “put the ball in play” against the Cubs with Verdugo on 3rd base. Taylor hit it right to Baez and Verdugo wouldn’t have scored that run except for the error by Baez. The article by Brook Smith states that Taylor is Not striking-out more, but I swear every time I see Taylor at bat he has two strikes on him and with that “launch-angle” swing, here comes strike three. Afterwards, he has that look of “how did I miss that pitch.”

  13. I have to agree with most of you, I don’t understand it, the logic cuz how we see it there is no logic to this. This can’t be a Roberts decision because if it was his decision and his alone He wouldn’t be starting Friedman would have made the call to play Verdugo or pederson already. This has to be a Friedman decision, like usual he is throwing Roberts under the bus letting him take all the blame. Am I right or wrong?

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