Dodgers News: Chris Taylor ‘Earning’ Opportunity For ‘Runway’ At Third Base

The Los Angeles Dodgers have struggled to get any production out of third base since Max Muncy suffered an oblique injury and going on the injured list on May 17.

Kiké Hernández stepped in as their primary third baseman without Muncy, and the team later acquired Cavan Biggio to add a left-handed bat to the mix. However, neither has performed at the level of a Major League caliber player, and the Dodgers would be better off moving on from both.

But with no clear options to take their place on the roster, the Dodgers will instead turn to a different option at the hot corner. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said he plans to give Chris Taylor a chance as the starting third baseman while Muncy is out, via Bill Plunkett of the Southern California News Group:

“It hasn’t been great,” Roberts said. “Kiké is playing the heck out of third base (defensively). … The offense has been inconsistent. Cavan has got on base. I just think the at-bats need to get better. And the defense has been fine.

“Performance should matter and opportunity should be created. I’m going to give (Taylor) some runway at third base. He deserves a look. His last couple weeks speak to that.”

Since May 17 when Muncy was placed on the IL, Hernández and Biggio have been the two of the three worst hitters on the team, along with Austin Barnes.

Hernández is hitting .205/.271/.330 in 96 plate appearances, good for a 74 wRC+. The overall results have not been better as he’s batting .208/.274/.312 with a 71 wRC+ on the season.

Biggio is hitting .188/.278/.188 with a 46 wRC+ in that same timeframe, and overall on the season, his numbers are similar to Hernández with a .197/.313/.268 slash line and a 77 wRC+.

Despite what Roberts said, neither has played well defensively either.

That brings the Dodgers to Taylor, who has actually been swinging a hot bat as of late, despite his season-long struggles that have brought his overall stats down significantly.

The recent success is still a small sample size for Taylor, but he has a track record of success, unlike the latter two options, putting up a solid season as recently as last year, and a run of six great ones from 2017-21.

Taylor made a change with his mechanics, that appears to have led to his success, and Roberts likes what he’s seen from the longtime Dodgers utility-man:

“I think with Chris I see better at-bats,” Roberts said. “I think his swing has leveled out more, more conducive to line drives. He’s not under fastballs as much as he used to be. The swing and miss is cut down. Even with two strikes I like the way he can block the ball in that 4-hole.

“So, for me, he’s earning more opportunities and I’m going to give him more runway at third base. It comes with performance and what I’ve seen recently I like.”

In that same timeframe since Muncy went down, Taylor is hitting .260/.315/.460 with a 121 wRC+, making him the sixth-best hitter on the Dodgers during that stretch.

In his first game as the Dodgers’ new third baseman, Taylor drove in two of the four runs the team scored, going 2-for-3 with a double and two runs scored as well.

In his last seven games played, Taylor is hitting .467/.529/.733 with only one strikeout in 15 at-bats, and he has a hit in nine consecutive starts.

The Dodgers need to improve their production at third base for the time being, and their bench moving forward when Muncy returns, and Taylor seems to be a solution to those problems.

Dodgers value Chris Taylor’s baserunning

When the Dodgers beat the San Francisco Giants in extra-innings on Sunday, Taylor pinch-ran for Andy Pages.

After the game, Roberts said the move was due to Taylor’s value as a baserunner compared to Pages.

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