Drafted in the 5th round in the 2012 by the Seattle Mariners, Chris Taylor always had high potential. After killing in their minor league systems for a couple of seasons, the utility player was called up in mid-2014 to replace an injured player. The Mariners invited Taylor to Spring training for the next two seasons, never to make the official roster and only called up sporadically here and there.
The man wasn’t a complete bust at this time, but the Mariners felt them could live without him. He was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers for RHP Zach Lee. Lee was one of the organization’s former top prospects, but his value was slowly slipping after some unsuccessful years in the minors. He pitched wonderfully in 2016, so the Dodgers capitalized on his value at the time to secure Taylor.
I remember fan reactions to the Lee-Taylor trade to be lukewarm at best. The idea of a decent utility player seems good on paper, but great pitching is hard to come by in this league more than ever (see 2017 juiced balls). Kershaw is tied for the most wins at 15, and the man hasn’t even pitched for a month. We would have to be getting something above average to trade away one of our young pitchers in Zach Lee at the time.
Turns out we got an MVP-season caliber player.
After being immediately called up to the majors, Chris Taylor started to show his potential. He hit for the cycle a month after being called up by the Dodgers. He ended the year only with a .207 average over 32 games. Fans weren’t convinced, but I still had hope something was there.
At the start of this year, Taylor didn’t even make the roster out of Spring Training. Shocker. However due to some injuries to some our star players Gonzalez and Turner, we needed him to come up. Taylor was soon called up once yet and then the rest of history. Over 110 games, his slash line is .304/.376/.529 with a +135 OPS. Literally went from a 0 WAR to a +5 WAR in his first full season when he had the chance. He even had a walk-off hit against the Diamonds this season.
It’s been wonderful to see him develop into a star. Everything in the minors said he had the potential to do what he’s doing right now. He’s the new CT in LA.