Despite beginning the season with Triple-A Oklahoma City, 2017 was the year of Chris Taylor for the Los Angeles Dodgers, as he had a breakout season that no one could have expected.
Taylor played multiple positions for the Dodgers, including the outfield for the first time. Not only did Taylor expand himself, he eventually settled into being the team’s everyday center fielder.
Behind an impressive campaign both in the field and at the plate, Taylor was ranked the No. 7 center fielder heading into this season, by ESPN’s Buster Olney. In front of Taylor on the list are Mike Trout, Charlie Blackmon, George Springer, Lorenzo Cain, Tommy Pham and Byron Buxton.
Taylor, who is a natural shortstop, ranked ahead of natural center fielders such as Ender Inciarte, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Andrew McCutchen.
Taylor was acquired from the Seattle Mariners for former first-round pick Zach Lee in 2016 in a trade that flew under the radar at the time. He saw minimal time with Los Angeles during the second half of that season.
But in 140 games for the Dodgers last season, Taylor hit .288/.354/.496 with 21 home runs, 72 RBIs, 85 runs scored and 17 stolen bases in 21 opportunities.
Taylor served as a catalyst at the top of the Dodgers lineup, getting on base for the likes of Corey Seager, Justin Turner and Cody Bellinger hitting behind him.
He carried his strong production into the playoffs as in 15 postseason games he hit .254/.380/.508 with three home runs, seven RBIs and 12 runs scored. Taylor was named a co-MVP of the National League Championship Series, along with Turner.
The 27-year-old made some mechanical changes to his swing that led to his breakout, so instead of it just being a career-year for a journeyman player, many believe that Taylor is poised to have another All-Star caliber season for the Dodgers in 2018.