Since being named Los Angeles Dodgers president of baseball operations in 2014, Andrew Friedman has established himself as one of baseball’s most opportunistic executives.
That was evident during the 2016 season when he took a flier on former Seattle Mariners prospect Chris Taylor, parting ways with one-time highly regarded prospect Zach Lee in the trade.
Taylor had struggled in his limited time at the Major League level with Seattle but wound up benefitting from the change of scenery. He enjoyed a breakout season in 2017 and has since gone on to carve out a role as one of the Dodgers’ most versatile players.
Entering his fifth campaign with the organization, Taylor reflected on his trade to L.A. and praised now-hitting coach Robert Van Scoyoc for helping him transform his swing, while being interviewed by Ross Stripling:
“When I got traded over to the Dodgers, that was a huge relief for me to kind of get out of the Mariners’ organization. I just felt like I was stuck there. I got traded over to the Dodgers and it was sort of the same deal. I started off well early and kind of felt like I had earned a role as a utility guy, which wasn’t what I had in my mind, but at least I was staying in the big leagues.
“And then I struggled a little bit and was immediately sent down. I didn’t make the playoff roster, so I think that was the turning point for me. I finally committed to making an adjustment and I started working with our head hitting coach now, Rob Van Scoyoc, and I remember I was just in the stay-hot group, which is the group that while the whole team is in the playoffs, I was staying ready in case there were injuries. I kind of took it as an opportunity to look forward to the next season.”
Taylor shuttled back-and-forth from Triple-A Oklahoma City and the Majors in 2016 before bursting onto the scene the following season.
Taylor revealed that one of his main focuses while working with Van Scoyoc — then a hitting strategist — was increasing his launch angle. The changes to his swing resulted in him slugging 21 home runs in 2017, 17 in 2018 and 12 this past season.
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