Chris Taylor

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Christopher Armand Taylor

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Biographical Information[edit]

Shortstop Chris Taylor began playing in the Seattle Mariners minor league system in 2012 and made his major league debut with them in 2014. He was drafted by the club in the 5th round of the 2012 amateur draft.

He hit .322/.417/.432 with 59 hits and 17 stolen bases in 49 games between the Everett AquaSox and Clinton LumberKings. He split 2013 evenly between the High Desert Mavericks and Jackson Generals, hitting a combined .314/.409/.455 with 108 runs, 11 triples, 38 stolen bases and 84 walks in 134 games. Due to his performance with High Desert (.335/.426/.524, 20 SB), he was named a California League Mid-Season All-Star. Following the season, he was named a Organization All-Star. He began 2014 with the Triple-A Tacoma Rainiers and made his debut with the Mariners later in the season, on July 24th. he hit .287 in 47 games while playing exclusively at shortstop. In 2015, however, he tailed off to a .170 average in 37 games and was back in the minor leagues for the bulk of the season

On June 19, 2016, he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers in return for P Zach Lee. He was hitting .312 for Tacoma at the time of the trade but had only played 2 games for Seattle, going 1 for 3. He played 34 games for L.A. after the trade, hitting .207 with 1 homer - his first in the majors - and 7 RBI. He was left off the postseason roster. He made a much more important contribution to the team in 2017, however, playing almost every day as a utility player, making starts in left field, in center field and at second base on a regular basis, and occasionally at third base and shortstop. He got particularly hot after the All-Star break, going 23 for 44 (.523) in his first 10 games, coinciding with a stretch during which the Dodgers were nearly unbeatable; his torrid streak included four consecutive multi-hit games. He hit .288 on the year, with 21 homers and 72 RBIs. He was the MVP of the NLCS against the Chicago Cubs when he went 6 for 19 with a double, a triple and 2 homers. In the 2017 World Series against the Houston Astros, he was 6 for 27 (.222) with 2 doubles and a homer as the Dodgers went down in a hard-fought series that went to the limit.

In 2018, he played another 155 games, playing at shortstop for half of the team's games as Corey Seager went down in April with a season-ending injury. But he also saw significant time in center field and left field and at second base, as manager Dave Roberts liked to shuffle his line-ups constantly. He hit .254 with 17 homers and 63 RBIs, also scoring 85 runs for the second straight year; he led the National League with 178 strikeouts, a surprising stat given he was not a pure power hitter, and strikeout numbers were through the roof around major league baseball. The Dodgers once again made a deep postseason run and while he had only 3 at-bats in their win over the Atlanta Braves in the Division Series, he had a great NLCS for the second straight year, hitting .364 as the Dodgers went to the limit of seven games before disposing of the Milwaukee Brewers. He was shut down in their World Series loss to the Boston Red Sox, however, going just 2 for 14 as Los Angeles lost the Fall Classic for the second straight year, this time in five games.

With Roberts using a more stable line-up in 2019, which saw less back-and-forth of players between the infield and outfield, Taylor saw mostly action at shortstop and second base, but still played practically every day. In 88 games before the All-Star break, he hit .269 with 8 homers and 41 RBIs. On July 15th, however, he was placed on the injured list with a fracture in his left forearm, the result of having been hit by a pitch from Heath Hembree of the Red Sox the night before. He returned on August 20th, having missed over a month and ended up at .262 in 124 games, with 29 doubles and 12 homers, both scoring an driving in 52 runs. He went 1 for 8 as the Dodgers were upset by the Washington Nationals in the Division Series. On August 5, 2020, he made the highlight reels for a fabulous play in left field, as with the Dodgers nursing a 7-6 lead with one out and two men on base in the bottom of the 9th against the San Diego Padres, he made a great catch on a line drive by Manny Machado, then fired an absolute bullet to C Will Smith to nail Trent Grisham at home plate for a game-ending double play. His one-hop throw was measured at 93.3 mph by Statcast. He hit .270 while playing in 56 of the 60 games that season, with 8 homers, 30 runs, 32 RBIs and an OPS+ of 127. He was again a key player in the postseason, going a combined 12 for 58 with 8 runs, 4 doubles and 1 homer as the Dodgers won their first World Series title in over 30 years, defeating the Tampa Bay Rays in six games in the Fall Classic.

In 2021, he had a great first half to earn his first invitation to the All-Star Game, on the strength of a .277 average, 10 homers and 46 RBIs. He slumped after the break, batting just .223 and finishing in an 8-for-72 skein, to end up at .254 with 20 homers and 73 RBIs. The Dodgers won 106 games that season, tying a club record, but still finished second behind the surprising San Francisco Giants, and as a result had to play the Wild Card Game against the St. Louis Cardinals. Given his recent struggles, Chris did not start the game, but he came in as a defensive replacement in the 7th, part of a double switch, then with two outs in the 9th, with the score tied at 1 and Cody Bellinger on second base, he sent a pitch from closer Alex Reyes into the center field stands on a line drive for a walk-off 3-1 win. It was just the 5th time that a winner-take-all postseason game had ended on a walk-off blast. The other perpetrators of this very rare feat had been Bill Mazeroski, Chris Chambliss, Aaron Boone and Edwin Encarnacion. He hit .143 in the Division Series but was red hot in the NLCS against the Atlanta Braves, going 10-for-21 with 3 doubles and 3 homers. Alas, the Dodgers lost the series in six games.

He did not hit as well as the previous year in the first half of 2022, with a batting average of .238, 6 homers and 27 RBIs in 74 games. It was still good for an OPS+ of 101. He was used exclusively in the outfield during those games, principally in left. On July 5th, he was diagnosed with a small fracture in his left foot after experiencing a contusion a few days before. That placed him on the injured list for an extended period. He missed exactly one month of action, returning on August 5th, then played regularly the rest of the way to finish at .221 in 118 games, with 10 homers and 43 RBIs. These were easily his worst numbers since becoming a full-time player on the Dodgers, as evidenced by his OPS+ of 86, the first time he had been below 100 since 2016. He played mainly left field, with a few starts at second base and in the two other outfield spots. In the postseason, he went 0 for 7 as the Dodgers were upset by the San Diego Padres in the Division Series. He expected to be used in a similar role heading into 2023, but events outside of his control changed those plans. First, starting shortstop left via free agency, and while the Dodgers acquired the experienced Miguel Rojas from the Miami Marlins as an insurance policy, they expected Gavin Lux to slide over from second base to take over the position. However, Lux suffered a season-ending knee injuries in the first days of spring training, and suddenly, the Dodgers were looking at Taylor to be principally an infielder during the season, as this was were the need was now greatest.

Notable Achievements[edit]

Further Reading[edit]

  • Mike Lupica: "Versatile free agent Taylor built for big stage",, November 21, 2021. [1]
  • Brian Murphy: "The lowdown on versatile FA Chris Taylor",, November 8, 2021. [2]
  • Juan Toribio: "'Health is there' as Taylor makes return to shortstop",, March 1, 2023. [3]

Related Sites[edit]