Mariners Position Battle Update: Utility Infielder
The 25-year-old has had a decent start to Cactus League play, but he has been a notch below Sardinas and O’Malley thus far. Taylor is hitting .300 with 1 double, 2 RBI and 1 stolen base across 5 games. He has struck out 3 times and nursed 1 walk in 10 at bats. Surprisingly, it’s Taylor’s glove work that has let him down this spring. He committed a key error during a game last week, and he failed to corral a hard hit ground ball in Tuesday’s loss to the Cleveland Indians.
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Taylor split the 2015 season between the Mariners and the Tacoma Rainiers. He had a miserable campaign with Seattle, slashing .170/.220/.223 through 102 plate appearances. Even more disturbing, he drove in just 1 run across 37 games with the M’s last year. However, Taylor was much more productive in Tacoma. He hit .300 with 4 home runs, 32 RBI and 16 stolen bases in 86 games with the Rainiers last season.
Defense has always been Taylor’s calling card. The University of Virginia alum has a very strong arm, and boasts a .966 career fielding percentage at shortstop. He has seen very little action at second base or third base during his career, but I believe he is more than capable of manning either position.
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I have never been a fan of Chris Taylor being the M’s everyday shortstop, but I think his skill set fits perfectly as a utility infielder. However, he will need to play better over the final three weeks of March if he plans on starting the season in Seattle.