Considering that the Oakland Athletics have a glut of outfielders on the major league roster, the chances of Michael Taylor making the team out of Spring Training were slim-to-none anyway.
But, thanks to a freak accident, he can probably cut the slim part out.
Taylor, formerly a No. 29 prospect (2010) according to Baseball America, has not played for a week thanks to an ill-advised gum-throw in the dugout.
Yes, that’s right, the man was just throwing out a piece of trash.
According to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, Taylor cut his pinkie finger after hitting his hand on a light fixture on the dugout ceiling while making said toss of gum. It left him with two gashes on his finger, one of which has not fully healed.
These things just write themselves, really.
The 27-year old outfielder, who came to Oakland by way of the Roy Halladay mega-deal between the Toronto Blue Jays and Philadelphia Phillies, had been hoping to get some time in first base in camp, seeing as how the Athletics will have a difficult time giving their five outfielders enough playing time to begin with.
Taylor had been stuck in the minors before that, though. Despite having been considered a top prospect due to his power and speed tools, the outfielder has floundered in what little opportunities he’s had, posting a 176/.250/.255 triple-slash over 56 PA between 2011 and 2012.
While those are very small sample sizes, Taylor’s 37.5 percent strikeout rate showed the team that he had enough issues with plate discipline to keep him up at the bigs, while they continually added pieces ahead of him in the depth chart.
It’s not as though he’s declined at the minors, though. Taylor has had very few problems there, posting a .287/.405/.441 triple slash in Triple-A 2012 with an 0.82 BB/K – his best at the level yet. The problem? Well, it was his third full season there, and despite having little to prove, the prospect finds himself the unfortunate victim of a numbers game.
At 27, Taylor is running out of time to make a splash at the bigs, and it may take a move for him to get the playing time he needs to prove that his 20-20 potential could be fully realized.
Before that happens, though, he’ll have to work on the all-important tool of being a little more aware of one’s dugout.