Dodgers: It’s Time for Chris Taylor to Make His Own Luck
Chris Taylor has gotten off to a disappointing start for the Dodgers. Part of it is making his own bad luck by hitting too many ground balls.
The Dodgers have been spoiled the last two seasons having Chris Taylor as their Swiss army knife who provided an above average bat along with the versatility to play just about anywhere on the diamond. This season, however, Taylor has gotten off to a slow start in the first month hitting just one home run while posting an OPS of .493.
Off to a slow start, many have been quick to dismiss Taylor who has been a vital part of the Dodgers’ last two World Series runs. Without his spectacular catch in game seven of the NLCS, the Brewers may have gone on to win that game and end the Dodgers’ season before making it back to the World Series.
When digging into CT3’s stats, one of the first things to notice is his .212 batting average on balls in play (BABIP). League average is usually .300 for BABIP and over the last two seasons, Taylor has posted a BABIP over .340. The main culprit for this is that he is hitting a much higher percentage of ground balls. 50.9% of the balls Chris has hit have been ground balls. That is a big increase from his career average of 38,6%.
Unless you are Tony Gwynn hitting ground balls through the 5.5 hole, you are not going to get many base hits when hitting that many ground balls. Taylor is creating his own bad luck even though he has been hitting the ball hard. His soft contact percentage is just 9.4% which is lower than his average soft contact rate of 15.2%. His strikeout and walk rates are the same as previous seasons as well.
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Chris’s medium contact rate has increased a large amount to 69.8% so he has made solid contact this season the results have just not been there. If he can get the ball off the ground and start hitting more fly balls and line drives which was part of the reason for his break out, then the results will come.
With A.J. Pollock now out, the Dodgers lose a big bat they were counting on to help make a difference against left-handed pitching. The Dodgers are not going to start Joc against lefties (and they should never) so left field is right there for the taking. It’s time for Taylor to get back to raking and help the Dodgers plug left field against southpaws.
CT3 provides the Dodgers with something they can’t find elsewhere in the organization and that is a player who could play shortstop and centerfield, as well as the rest of the positions besides catcher and pitcher. While Enrique Hernandez has the same skillset, he is being counted on at second base since there is no other true second baseman on the roster besides Taylor.
Pollock is not lost for the season, but the Dodgers will need to patch their lineup against lefties together while they are without his services. Chris Taylor is one of the main players that the team was counting on against southpaws so it’s time for him to bounce back to his regular form. That begins with getting the ball off the ground and creating a better chance for base hits to get through.