#MLBPlayers411 | Michael Taylor
When the Washington Nationals' key offseason acquisition, Adam Eaton, tore the ACL and meniscus in his left knee, ending his season, today's #MLBPlayers411 subject, Michael A. Taylor, was asked to play a familiar role.
The athletic 26-year-old from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., played center field in 2015 when Denard Span was injured and filled the position again in 2016 after Ben Revere strained his oblique. Michael, already considered among the league's top defensive outfielders, went 2-for-2 with two stolen bases in the Nats' 4-2 win over the D-Backs on Thursday and is now up .275 after getting just one hit in his first 20 at-bats this season.
“Michael's putting the ball in play,” manager Dusty Baker said. “He always plays good defense. He can steal a base and he's using the whole field and he's not popping up and not taking a lot going deep into counts. And then he gets a hit the first time up on the first pitch and then after that, they start throwing more breaking balls and start being more careful and that leads to walks.”
Consistent playing time and consistent contact have been the keys, according to Michael.
“I think I'm naturally an aggressive hitter,” he told MASN. “When I go up there relaxed I can have a pretty good feel for the strike zone. Right now I'm just trying to get a good pitch to hit and not try to do too much with it.”
Michael, the Nats' sixth round draft pick in 2009, was born to military parents. He attended Westminster Academy, where he played baseball with former teammate Matt den Dekker, who is currently in the Miami Marlins organization.
Michael made his major league debut on Aug. 12, 2014 in a game at Citi Field against the Mets. He not only collected his first big-league hit that night, but also his first-career home run, which was a two-run blast.
den Dekker told The Washington Post he has always known Michael to be quiet. But offered a sneak peak to a side the fans might not know. “But he's actually not as quiet as he used to be. He's kind of sneaky funny, makes little remarks, stuff you wouldn't really expect from him.”
Whether Michael is a funny man in the clubhouse or not, he's taking care of business in his latest opportunity with the Nationals.
Check out some photos of Michael here.