Thursday, December 9, 2010
Arizona Fall League Scouting Report: Michael Taylor
Michael Taylor (Oakland Athletics)
Age: 24 (25 on December 19th)
From: Stanford (5th round of 2007 draft)
After Taylor was part of the Roy Halladay trade (and immediately spun to Oakland for Brett Wallace) he went on and had what can only be described as a as a disappointing year at Triple-A. He hit a modest .272 and slugging an atrocious .392 Pacific Coast League which tends to be rather hitter friendly. Taylor was my favorite IronPig to watch (because he had actual, big league talent) in his tenure there and I saw, daily, the talent he possesses. I had a hard time believing it all just disappeared. My brief trip to the AFL allowed me to catch a glimpse of those tools all over again.
Taylor’s never fully tapped into his physical potential. He’s a monster at 6’6”, 250 and you’d expect him to have a ton of raw power. He probably does, but his swing doesn’t allow it. Stanford coaches typically alter incoming high-schooler swings and teach habits that a lot of pro scouts claim need to be untaught, but I’ve read Taylor committed to Stanford on the condition that they didn’t alter his swing. Maybe the Cardinal coaches aren’t to blame (by the way, if Stanford is supposed to be this school for brilliant, hard working minds, shouldn’t they pluralize “Cardinal”? ). So the power is good, but not as good as you’d think it’d be by looking at him.
I’ve seen Taylor spray balls all over the field with authority and hitting .270, while disappointing for him, isn’t terrible. He was making solid contact at the AFL when I saw him.
Taylor has above average speed and good instincts on the basepaths.
Taylor has a fine arm and good range. I fondly remember watching him throw out guys trying for a double from the left field corner of Coca Cola Park. He could play either corner at an above average clip.
Overall, Taylor had a bad year, none of which I got to see in person. It’d be stupid to write him off after one bad year just as it would be stupid to crown a player as elite after one good one (see Bautista, Jose). That said, next season is a crossroads in Taylor’s career. He either becomes a solid regular with the potential to have an All Star season or two, or an upscale reserve outfielder in his mid twenties. I’m unabashedly rooting for him. Let’s check some video!