When it comes to Michael A. Taylor, the free agent outfielder they acquired two years ago to solve the lingering center field puzzle Lorenzo Cain created when he left for Milwaukee after the 2017 season, the KC Royals don’t have much to complain about.
Taylor won his first Gold Glove last year and is a finalist for another this season. And despite the reputation for poor hitting that preceded him, Taylor’s .249 two-year Royal average, while not stellar, is 12 points better than the .237 career average he brought to Kansas City.
The Royals were so satisfied with his first season with them that they re-signed him for an additional two years even before the club played its final 2021 game.
In short, Taylor’s Kansas City performance is just what the club probably expected—he’s been excellent in the field and passable at the plate.
We gave him a B+ for 2021. How should he grade out for 2022?
KC Royals outfielder Michael A. Taylor again deserves an excellent grade.
If grades depended on defense alone, we’d give Taylor a solid A. He led major league center fielders with 19 Defensive Runs Saved, his five Outs Above Average tied for the fourth highest mark in the American League, he had eight assists, made only three errors in 300 chances, and finished with a 2.4 dWAR and .990 fielding percentage.
But because grading Taylor requires considering his bat, he won’t get that A, although he could have but for a bad final two months.
After starting slowly with a .184 April average, Taylor heated up and hit .289 in May, .329 in June, and .284 in July. He was hitting .273 Aug. 15, putting his career-high .271 squarely in his sights, but he slumped to .203 the rest of the way and finished at .254, 10 points higher than last season and 13 points better than his nine-year career average.
That final .254 is, however, his second best season average, and his .313 OBP ranks behind only the .320 he posted in 2017, the same year he hit .271. Those better numbers, and his good glove, may make him an offseason trade chip.
So, what grade to give Taylor for the 2022 season? Based on another excellent defensive showing and some improved hitting, he gets another B+.
Kansas City center fielder Michael A. Taylor grades out well again.