Aug 4, 2014, 6:42 PM EDT
[Updated 6:47 p.m.]
Nationals minor leaguer Michael A. Taylor – considered the organization’s best position player prospect – has been promoted from Double-A Harrisburg to Triple-A Syracuse, Nats general manager Mike Rizzo confirmed on Monday.
Taylor, 23, was enjoying a breakout season with the Senators. Through 98 games he hit .313 with 22 home runs, 61 RBI and 34 stolen bases. He held a .935 OPS and scored 74 runs.
“He’s having a breakout season,” Rizzo said. “He’s a guy that’s come along and that we’ve taken it a little slower with because he was drafted as a shortstop out of high school and had to make the transition to the outfield. But he’s a guy who I think his development has finally caught up to his natural physical skills and tools.”
Taylor joins Syracuse on the day standout Steven Souza, Jr. was promoted to the majors. Taylor, a center fielder, is in his fifth minor league season and holds a .262 career average. He was picked in the sixth round of the 2009 MLB Draft.
Nationals manager Matt Williams saw Taylor up close in spring training and is impressed with how far the outfielder has come since.
“He’s found his power stroke. He’s had a really good year,” Williams said. “His pitch recognition is improving on a daily basis. He is as good as I’ve seen in the outfield, he can cover extreme ground out there. He makes it look really easy in center field.
“He’s a young hitter still, but he’s made those adjustments and he continues to make them. Now he’ll have another test, but that’s part of the progression that he has to go through. He’s had a great year. Power numbers are good and he’s getting a lot of basehits.”
Taylor will now get to show what he can do at the highest level of minor league baseball. The promotion gives him nearly a month to prove himself for a call-up when rosters expand in September.
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