One of the Dodgers’ biggest questions in 2018 was if Chris Taylor could duplicate the success of his solid 2017 season. While he wasn’t quite as good statistically he still had a solid 2018 season.
When the Dodgers went into last season, many critics wondered breakout players like Cody Bellinger and Chris Taylor could repeat their success from the 2017. In Chris Taylor’s case, his numbers on the surface weren’t quite as good but with a deeper dive into his statistics there are some promising signs for the 2019 season.
In 2017, Taylor posted a .288/.354/.496 line which looks better than his 2018 slash line of .254/.331/..444. One of the main reasons Taylor put up a lower average in 2018 was his increased strikeout rate. In 2017, CT3 struck out 25% of the time and he saw that strikeout rate jump up to 29.5% in 2018. Aside from strikeouts, Taylor’s walk rate was nearly identical as he saw his walk rate dip just 0.3% in 2018.
Besides hitting four less home runs in 2018, Chris Taylor actually actually hit one more double than 2017 and three more triples. The biggest difference was singles were Chris hit 12 fewer singles in 2018 than 2017. Outside of that he saw a career best 38.4% hard hit percentage and his line drive rate went up from 22.6% to 27.5% from 2017 to 2018. Taylor also hit 8% fewer ground balls and 3% more fly balls so the Dodgers fly ball approach was evident in CT3 for the 2018 season.
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Aside from the offensive side of the game, Chris Taylor was his usual super utility self in 2018 playing all across the infield and outfield. The most memorable play for Taylor in 2018 was his sliding catch in game seven of the NLCS where he robbed Christian Yelich of at least a double and kept the Dodgers ahead while they were trying to outlast Josh Hader.
Outside of Bellinger’s sliding catch in the NLCS and throw in the World Series, that might have been the single most important defensive play of the season. There might not have been another World Series appearance in 2018 if that catch isn’t made. Chris also helped fill the void left by Corey Seager’s Tommy John surgery until Manny Machado was acquired. While he is certainly not the Dodgers’ best player, he was a very important player for the Dodgers in 2018.
For the 2019 season Taylor will look to take over second base as he battles Enrique Hernandez for the bulk of the playing time. Unless the Dodgers make any last minute additions like Marwin Gonzalez, Taylor will go into spring training as the favorite to land the “starting role” at second base. While his stats may not pop out, Taylor is a very solid player and a pivotal piece to the Dodgers’ postseason hopes in 2019.