Perhaps more than any other player, Chris Taylor represents this era of Los Angeles Dodgers baseball; the Dodgers are certainly good because they spend lots of money, but their real strength has always been their versatility and player development. Plucked from the Seattle Mariners‘ farm system in 2017, he entered into the Dodgers player development machine and evolved from a fringe MLB player to one of the league’s premier utilitymen as a result. During his six full seasons with the Dodgers, Chris Taylor contributed 15.4 wins above replacement while splitting his time between second base, shortstop, third base and all three outfield spots.
But now, to start the 2023 season, Taylor is mired in a hellish slump. With 14 strikeouts and just three hits across his first 34 plate appearance, Taylor might just be the worst everyday player in baseball so far; he has the highest strikeout rate in the league, despite taking most of his at-bats against lefty pitchers as a platoon option.
“It was just the frustration getting to me,” Taylor told The Athletic after striking out with runners in scoring position during a 5-0 loss to the San Francisco Giants. “Swinging at bad pitches.”
Although Taylor spent the offseason tweaking his mechanics in an attempt to rebound from a down 2022 season, none of these changes seem to be working as Taylor is struggling to find a groove at the dish.
“I feel like, mechanically, I was in not the best spot (to start),” Chris Taylor explained. “Even if it’s trending upwards, I’m still not quite right.”
So, how does one of the Dodgers’ foundational, talismanic players lift himself out of this cold spell? No one’s quite sure.
“I don’t know,” Taylor said. “It’s discouraging, but that’s part of the game. It’s a long season. Come in tomorrow and get back to work. I’ve been doing it for a while.”
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