Dodgers: Projecting the Dodger Lineup After the First Flurry of Moves

PHOENIX, AZ - OCTOBER 09: Manager Dave Roberts
PHOENIX, AZ - OCTOBER 09: Manager Dave Roberts /
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LOS ANGELES, CA – OCTOBER 31: Chris Taylor /

1. Chris Taylor, Center Field

Chris Taylor is coming off of his first full season in the big leagues and was a pleasant surprise for Dave Roberts. Taylor was third on the team in WAR with a 4.7 rating according to FanGraphs. He was fourth on the team in batting average (.288) and on-base percentage (.354), third in slugging percentage (.496), and fifth in wOBA (.361). Taylor was one of the most productive hitters for the Dodgers last season.

Taylor had 298 of his 514 (58%) plate appearances batting first for the Dodgers and figures to find himself in that same role next season. Taylor brings the power-speed combination that today’s game requires out of a leadoff hitter. Taylor came up just shy of a 20-20 season with 21 home runs and 17 stolen bases. According to Baseball Savant‘s sprint speed Statcast, Taylor is among the top 50 fastest players in baseball. So to say Taylor could be in store for a 20-20 season is not that far of a stretch.

One aspect of hitting that I would love to see Taylor improve on is hitting better when working the count. Taylor absolutely crushed balls when he was ahead of the count, hitting .370 (30/81). However, when Taylor fell behind the count, his average dipped nearly 100 points to .271 (48/177). When Taylor had a full count, Taylor hit .224 (13/58).

Taylor showed he’s among baseball’s best leadoff hitters. He’s not far from George Spring or Charlie Blackmon because he possesses the same power and speed threat. I’d love to see Taylor in a position to drive in more runs later in the season. But to start, Taylor is the spark that ignites the Dodger lineup.