Los Angeles Dodgers: Chris Taylor off to promising start

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 22: Chris Taylor #3 of the Los Angeles Dodgers at bat agianst the Colorado Rockies at Dodger Stadium on September 22, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. The Dodgers won 7-4. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 22: Chris Taylor #3 of the Los Angeles Dodgers at bat agianst the Colorado Rockies at Dodger Stadium on September 22, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. The Dodgers won 7-4. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images) /
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I wouldn’t blame you for being surprised at the fact that the Dodgers are third in the NL West in mid-May. Despite getting off to a blistering start, the reigning World Series champions have already dropped as many games as they did during the entire pandemic-shortened 2020 season.

Luckily, better days are ahead.

The Boys in Blue have the best run differential and on base percentage in the National League, and they’ve been bitten pretty hard by the injury bug.

That being said, such a pedestrian showing from a team with such lofty expectations is likely to draw the ire of the fanbase.

However, the disgruntled Dodger faithful should direct their frustration away from Chris Taylor.

He’s been part of the solution whenever he’s been available.

Dodgers star Chris Taylor has not been a problem for LA so far.

I can’t say I expected the 30-year-old utility man to be second in the NL in runs scored (MVP candidate Ronald Acuña Jr. sits atop the leaderboard) at any point in the season, but Taylor has been locked in at the plate.

Through 33 games, he’s slashing .286/.420/.491 with five doubles, three triples, and four homers, which equates to a ridiculous 156 OPS+, and has already added five steals for good measure.

Before we go crazy, a 156 OPS+ from Chris Taylor is definitely unsustainable and we should expect some regression, but he has shown an improved approach in the early going. Taylor still strikes out a lot, which is the opportunity cost of his big but powerful swing. However, he’s shown an improved approach thus far.

His chase rate has gone down and he’s been drawing walks like a madman, with his walk rate placing him at the 92nd percentile for all of baseball. The rest of Taylor’s hitting metrics are pretty on-brand: not a ton of contact, but a lot of that contact is of the quality variety. Expect some positive regression from his fourth percentile outs above average mark, as Taylor is a capable defender at multiple positions.

Chris Taylor’s contributions are often overlooked with the Dodgers lineup being as star-studded as it is, so I thought I’d show him some love when he’s been putting the team on his back.

Hopefully his teammates will be back to playing the brand of Dodger baseball that is expected of them, and the boys will start climbing up those standings.

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