Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
Chris Taylor did not have the season he nor the Los Angeles Dodgers expected during 2022, but there is some hope he will be able to rebound this year.
In Sunday’s opener of the exhibition Freeway Series against the Los Angeles Angels, Taylor helped lead the Dodgers to a 3-0 victory with a home run against Tucker Davidson. That was Taylor’s only hit as he went 1-for-3, but it was a step in the right direction considering he’s batting .137 throughout the spring.
“I just thought I had better at-bats,” Taylor said. “I had some good swings, I just missed a couple pitches and obviously hit that homer. I was just encouraged by the quality of the at-bat and I was able to get good swings. Aggressive swings to move the ball forward rather than fouling it back like I have.”
Taylor has always had a high-maintenance swing that requires him to have his mechanics working well in order to produce, and that is something Dodgers manager Dave Roberts cited for Taylor’s slump last season.
But now as Spring Training is close to reaching its end, Roberts and Taylor both feel he’s close to having his mechanics down.
“It’s been a process with my swing mechanics, and I think I’m finally starting to turn a corner,” Taylor said.
“It’s trending upwards. Tonight was the first time I felt like I could get in the box and not focus so much on my mechanics. It was just kind of happening rather than me trying to force it to happen.”
Besides for the mechanics of his swing, baseball is also a mental game and putting too much thought into mechanics during a game can cause a greater issue.
But Taylor feels he is close to putting any of those thoughts behind him and just doing rather than thinking. “Ideally, you train it before the game and in the game you don’t have to think about it,” he said.
“Sometimes that’s just not the case. It doesn’t always carry over to the game right away. Tonight, I felt like I was finally starting to turn the corner and starting to look closer in the game like at-bats from batting practice.”
What role will Chris Taylor have?
Taylor was more productive against right-handers than against lefties during the 2022 season, but it was somewhat of an outlier when compared to his career numbers.
But with three left-handed hitters in David Peralta, James Outman and Jason Heyward pushing for playing time in the outfield along with a set infield, Taylor is going to see most of his playing time in a platoon against southpaws.
“I mean, just based off how spring has gone, I think that’s where we are now — to my understanding,” Taylor said. “It’s a long season. I’m not thinking about the whole year. I’m just trying to get myself ready. I know if I play the way I’m capable of, I’ll play against lefties and righties.”
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