Chris Taylor made his MLB debut on July 24, the same day the Seattle Mariners purchased his contract from the Tacoma Rainiers. The SS/2B was slashing .328/.397/.497 in his first full season at Triple-A. Given how smoothly he made the transition from Double-A to Tacoma, Taylor’s arrival in Seattle seemed long overdue.
The Mariners have shuffled their lineup around a lot this season. Robinson Cano and Kyle Seager, both All-Stars, have been consistent producers at the plate on a weekly basis. OF James Jones to a somewhat lesser extent, but outside of that, the sticks have not really caught fire.
Taylor’s Tacoma numbers fit the profile for a top-of-the-order bat. Ideally, Cano should still hit second, but Taylor has slotted in there nicely, as his high batting average and robust on base percentage in Triple-A project well. His speed is also a plus (14 steals in 75 games with the Rainiers), and Taylor does not strike out at an alarmingly high rate. His strikeout to walk ratio was 2.20 before he got called up, and an impressive 1.37 in 2013 while he was with the Double-A Jackson Generals affiliate.
Given the ongoing struggles of SS Brad Miller for the M’s in 2014, it’s about time management pulled the trigger and bought Taylor a ticket to the show. The 23-year old has earned his right of passage with hard work and almost uninterrrupted success in the minors, where he is a career .320 hitter. He collected a hit in his Mariners’ debut, and has reached base safely in all five games he has started for Seattle while collecting two RBI.
Thursday evening against the Cleveland Indians, Taylor went 2-for-5 with a run scored, raising his average to .353 in six ball games. He has also started at shortstop in five of those games, playing error free defense for the M’s. It’s safe to say that as the Mariners’ playoff aspirations continue in 2014, Miller won’t contribute much toward their goals if Taylor continues to play as well as he has been.
The Mariners were frequently mentioned in trade rumors pertaining to the acquisition of a quality right-handed hitter. Thing is, they may have had one all along sitting right under their nose on the farm.