Taylor Recalled; Coco to DL
A week ago Michael Taylor got a free flight to Baltimore in case the A’s might decide, maybe, to put Coco Crisp on the DL. The club opted not to, and Taylor got to eat some crab cakes, see the birthplace of the Star Spangled Banner, get a cake at that place on that TV show on TLC or whatever and go back to Sacramento. This time, Taylor gets a trip to St. Petersburg and even better for him he gets to play as Coco’s litany of maladies finally are too much for the A’s to handle.
When Taylor made his first trans-continental trip I said that I felt his numbers did not necessarily warrant the call up and I stand by that comment today so will basically reprint what I wrote then with updated numbers as nothing has changed. The reason Taylor is the one being called are because he has simply been very good in Sacramento in the early go: 105 plate appearances with a .347/.390/.547 slash line. While while on the surface appears good, caused me some skepticism. I’m skeptical because first of all, Taylor has disappointed numerous times before, and also there are some serious red flags with his River Cat performance. First red flag: It is in Sacramento. The Pacific Coast League is a notorious hitter’s league so let’s instantly bring that .347/.390/.547 slash line down a notch (or two, or three…). Second red flag: .378 BABIP. While there is a degree that hitters can influence their BABIP, one of them namely being speed, and Taylor is indeed faster than the average player, they don’t do it to the tune of .378. If that starts to normalize, that coupled with the Pacific Coast League adjustment, and his slash line starts looking good but not great. Third red flag: 6.7% BB% (up a fair amount since the last time we looked at it). His MiLB career rate is 9.6%, he is at about two thirds of that today. There are several reasons for that, one he could just be feeling confident since so often when he makes contact he is getting on base, but then again swinging early is something that may fly in Triple-A but not in MLB baseball. All in all, I am skeptical that Taylor will continue to be this hitter, and his fallen stock I feel is roundly justified. Now while I hope I am proven wrong, I really can’t say I expect to be.
How much playing time he will actually get is up for debate too. Will he be installed as the regular left fielder with Jonny Gomes and Seth Smith splitting time at DH, or does he enter a giant sort of carousel in that LF/DH/1B group and see little to no time at all. Could he play his way onto the lineup like Jemile Weeks did last season when Mark Ellis went down? Who knows. I just don’t see how Coco, who has seen his stock fall precipitously in the early go here, can be moved with an albatross of a contract that he has – also as a sidenote it is pretty amazing how such a short contract at only $7M a year can become so quickly an albatross. It’ll be interesting to see what happens, but for now your newest Athletic is Taylor, let’s wish him well.