Believer or Deceiver: Can Chris Taylor Replicate His 2017 Breakout Performance?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Chris Taylor appears primed to be a popular name on draft day, which makes sense as he is coming off an impressive season and brings multi-positional eligibility (2B/OF).  Of course does that mean he’s worth paying the current price:

  • NFBC ADP – 91.2
  • Rotoprofessor Ranking – 179

Obviously we don’t think so, though it doesn’t mean we view him as completely valueless.  The question is why is there such a big disparity in the rankings?

 

What We Said In Our 2018 Draft Guide:
For the first time Taylor was given ample playing time (568 PA) and he delivered by hitting .288 with 21 HR and 17 SB.  How believable are those numbers, though?  He benefited from a .361 BABIP and that alone tells us a regression is likely (despite a 22.6% line drive rate).  The next question will come from his power, and while it’s possible that he took a step forward remember that over his minor league career (1,972 AB) he hit a total of 23 HR.  There is some speed, but if the power and luck regress there’s a good chance he disappoints.  There will be some value, but don’t make the mistake of paying for last season’s success since it’s unlikely to be replicated.

 

Further Thoughts:
It’s become common for people to pay for speed, especially as power has grown around the game, but does it make sense to pay this big of a price?  If you believed in both his average and power it would, but that assumption doesn’t appear to be justified.

The luck alone (as well as a drop in power) indicate a regression in his batting average.  The fact that his 25.0% strikeout rate could balloon further just adds to the concern (Whiff%):

  • Hard – 7.66%
  • Breaking – 17.34%
  • Offspeed – 20.81%

Look for pitchers to begin throwing him fewer fastballs (61.39%), as they adjust, and that further adds to the questions.

He is 27-years old, so assuming that there is some growth in his power is not unreasonable but going from a complete non-factor into a consistent 20+ HR threat?  That is a bit of a stretch and we’d be far more comfortable anticipating 15-19 HR, so let’s say he’s .270ish with 17 HR over a full season.  If he were going to steal 30+ bases that would be more than enough, but he doesn’t bring that level of production.  The last time he topped 20 SB was all the way back in 2013, so he profiles much closer to a potential 15/15 player as opposed to 20/20 or better.

Again that has value, but does it make sense in the eighth round?  Keep in mind that ADP is ahead of Yoenis Cespedes (94.2), Jake Lamb (123.1) and a host of others.  The value, at that price, just isn’t there given the risks involved.

Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball

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Make sure to check out all of our 2018 Preseason Rankings:

Position
Standard League
OBP League
Catchers03/14/1802/02/18
First Basemen01/08/1802/09/18
Second Basemen01/15/1802/13/18
Shortstops03/21/1802/27/18
Third Basemen03/09/1803/06/18
Outfielders1-20: 03/18/18

21-40: 03/19/18
1-20: 03/12/18

21-40:
Starting Pitchers1-20: 03/24/18

21-40: 03/24/18
--
Relief Pitchers02/12/18--

One comment

  1. Dave says:

    I,d like to point out that in 2400 mlb/milb at bats, Taylor has a career babip of .371. I would normally agree that the .360 is high, but clearly not the case for him.

    Watching what he did against the Cubs in the postseason made me a believer. His plate discipline was fantastic….he fouled off good pitches and then hit rockets on the balls he put in play (again making me a believer in the babip).

    I am all in on Chris Taylor and think maybe moving to the Dodgers will have a similar impact on his career as it did with Turner.

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