When the KC Royals acquired Michael A. Taylor in the offseason, they planned to use his speed and occasional power to their advantage. General Manager Dayton Moore obviously believed Taylor could be good offensively and defensively for Kansas City.
At the time, though, there were reasons to think Moore might be misreading Taylor. After a breakout 2017 season (.271 and 19 homers) with the Nationals, Taylor found himself falling into a slump the next three years. He dropped off significantly, slashing .225/.284/.370 with 12 home runs and 47 RBIs from 2018-2020. Washington placed him on waivers after the 2020 campaign; he cleared them, elected free agency, and signed a one-year, $1.75 million deal with the Royals.
So far this season, Taylor has shown why he can be an everyday player.
This year, he’s slashing .244/.299/.360 with a .658 OPS and 11 home runs, 46 RBIs, 51 runs, 29 walks, and 12 stolen bases. While the numbers aren’t flashy, they’re a vast upgrade from his 2018-2020 numbers—he’s close to equaling his home run and RBI totals from that time span in just one season.
Seeing this improvement in Taylor, the Royals should consider re-signing him after this season.
Newcomer Michael A. Taylor has definitely been good for the KC Royals.
What’s most significant about Taylor’s season is his improvement at the plate. Take his strikeout rate for example.
According to Baseball Savant, his 28.5 K% is better than his 2019 mark of 35.1%. Taylor’s first pitch strike percentage has decreased from 71.7% in 2020 to 63.1%, not only a whopping -8.6% difference, but also his lowest first pitch strike percentage since his stellar 2017 campaign with the Nationals. Taylor’s first pitch swing percentage has also dropped by 2.1%, which further demonstrates his increased awareness—he’s seeing more pitches. His hard-hit ball percentage is 39% and his exit velocity can reach up to 111.5 mph.
Taylor’s defense has also been superb, making him a potential Gold Glove candidate. Through Tuesday’s games, he was third in the American League with a .990 fielding percentage and 288 putouts, first among AL center fielders with 10 total assists and a 2.2 DWAR, and had 11 OAA to go along with an 89% success rate in center.
Taylor was ranked third overall in the majors with 18 defensive runs saved and is first when only counting outfielders.
Perhaps nothing encompasses Taylor’s pure baseball skills more than his electric KC Royals debut on Opening Day:
Will the KC Royals be willing to re-sign Michael A. Taylor after this year?
When looking at Kansas City’s lineup, Taylor could be beneficial to have in the long run. As of now, Andrew Benintendi has solidified the left field spot while right field has been up for grabs throughout the season. Taylor has appeared in center in 119 of Kansas City’s 132 games; other than Taylor, only Jarrod Dyson (no longer a Royal after going to Toronto on a waiver claim) has played there this season, which shows the confidence the Royals have in Taylor.
Taylor, then, is benefitting from a long and fair look by the Royals, a look that suggests he could be in the running to return as the regular center fielder not just for 2022, but maybe even beyond that.
Michael A. Taylor has performed so well this season that the Royals should consider re-signing him for the future.