INF Samad Taylor
One of baseball's best first hits came off the bat of Samad Taylor in 2023. His walk-off hit against the Los Angeles Angels and subsequent celebration are among the feel-good moments of last season. However, it is impossible to deny that Taylor's debut season was anything but stellar.
Taylor was downright bad at the plate, finishing his 31 MLB games with a 49 wRC+ in 2023. He walked at a respectable 10.1% clip, but his 31.9% strikeout rate negated that and then some. Taylor is never going to hit for power. That is not who he is. That strikeout rate is one more in line with a powerful bat with an all-or-nothing approach. Taylor had a paltry .267 slugging, so that strikeout rate is unacceptable for Taylor.
There are many positives to draw from Taylor's 2023 season, but his speed is undeniably elite. It is not at Blanco's level, but Taylor's sprint speed still ranks in the 91st percentile. He produced eight stolen bases in his limited chances last season. But he cannot use that speed on the basepaths without getting on base.
Taylor does have some positional versatility, appearing at left and center field, plus second and third base last season. But he isn't great at any one position and doesn't have any prodigious traits in the field. Taylor, who will be 25 on Opening Day, still has time to right the ship regarding his MLB career. Plus, he has been under team control for an ample number of years. If another team is looking for a budget utility player, Taylor should be an option on the trade market.
I feel like the Royals replaced Taylor with Hampson. I understand Taylor is a righty and Hampson bats left, but they both have eerily similar skill sets. Having both on the 40-man roster, much less on the bench, feels extremely redundant.