The 6th Man is En Fuego for the Nats, Who Becomes the X Factor for this Team?

Story By: Steve Mears

Photos By: Nats Red for DC and Laura Peebles

Michael A. Taylor will turn 25 years old this week, and he is turning heads in Florida as opposing players have watched and turned their heads to see MAT bombs leave the stadium 3 times so far this Spring. While that might be impressive to lead the #Nats, his stat-line with a .484 Batting Average would freeze Ted Williams head without cryogenics.

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Dusty Baker has said that Michael A. Taylor will see “a lot of playing time” and also gave a basketball analogy to say MAT is like his “6th man” which is a key man off the bench, and a player who could start on almost any other team. Sometimes the 6th man becomes the starter.

You can expect Jayson Werth to start on April 4th for Opening Day this year, but there are not any guarantees that say Werth will be the primary starter if he doesn’t prove to be the best left fielder on this Washington Nationals team.

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Photo by NatsRed4DinDC for Pointed Magazine

How much stock can we put in Michael A. Taylor’s Spring Training statline? This is the same player who has a career slash of .227/.282/.358/.640 and a 31.6% K rate.  In fairness, Taylor’s strength with the bat is that he has an excellent .304/.379/.478/.857 career RISP slash.

Some think Michael A. Taylor just hits better in the clutch; however, that isn’t conclusive as a higher RISP isn’t synonymous with clutch. Some batters hit better when pitchers are toeing the rubber out of the stretch versus the windup. Taylor slashes .205/.260/.298/.558 with bases empty. There is a large divide here.

In this photo (below), Dusty early in training camp was giving one-on-one instruction to Michael A. Taylor.

Photo by Laura Peebles aka ArVaFan for Pointed Magazine

Dusty Baker works with Michael Taylor during Spring Training

Photo by Laura Peebles aka ArVaFan for Pointed Magazine

Dusty Baker has discussed that MAT could hit leadoff, and the issue there is nobody hits more with bases empty than the leadoff man. In 139 plate appearances leading off an inning, MAT slashes .160/.209/.252/.461

If Michael A. Taylor drank the magic potion and is a changed man, we will see it over a longer period. Taylor’s stats during Spring Training are encouraging, but it’s not necessarily indicative of what we will see in the 2016 regular season. If you Recall that in Spring Training of 2015, Michael A. Taylor was also a shining star hitting 4 HRs and slashing .323/.343/.646/.989

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