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Taylor expected to join Nats in Atlanta on Sunday

Aug 9, 2014, 7:43 PM EDT

AP AP

Updated at 3:12 a.m.

ATLANTA — Desperate for healthy outfielders, the Nationals are expected to promote top prospect Michael Taylor and have the dynamic 23-year-old in uniform for Sunday night’s series finale against the Braves.

Taylor was a late scratch from Class AAA Syracuse’s lineup Saturday evening and was due to depart for Atlanta, where he will join the Nationals and potentially make his major-league debut, according to a source familiar with the decision.

It’s unclear who Taylor would replace on the big-league roster. Both Jayson Werth (shoulder/ankle) and Steven Souza Jr. (shoulder) are battling injuries that left both outfielder unavailable to start Saturday night’s game, though both wound up appearing in the 11th inning of the Nationals’ 4-1 victory. Werth drew a pinch-hit walk but was unable to run the bases. Souza, who was unable to hit, pinch-ran for Werth.

Taylor’s call-up comes less than a week after he was promoted to Class AAA from Class AA Harrisburg, where he hit .313 with 22 homers, 34 stolen bases and a .935 OPS in 98 games. He appeared in only four games with Syracuse, going 5-for-13 with four extra-base hits.

The 6-foot-3, lanky outfielder entered the season rated the Nationals’ seventh-best prospect, according to Baseball America but has climbed up the organizational depth chart with his breakthrough year. Taylor is regarded as an elite defensive center fielder, but with Denard Span hitting .304 and having reached base in 34 consecutive games, he’s likely to be used throughout the outfield with Washington.

  1. MicheleS - Aug 9, 2014 at 7:46 PM

    really hope Souza/Werth are okay but OMG!!! I am so excited! I Love the kid

  2. manassasnatsfan - Aug 9, 2014 at 7:47 PM

    I am guessing Souza going to DL

  3. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 9, 2014 at 7:56 PM

    “@ZuckermanCSN: Here’s more on #Nats top outfield prospect Michael Taylor, expected to be promoted and join team tomorrow: http://t.co/xIEkiHNo1M

    Probably a coincidence but I posted earlier in the week they wouldn’t wait until September 1 on Taylor but clearly he’s replacing Souza most likely and hopefully not Werth.

    Stinks for Souza. This was his big chance. He got nothing done.

    • MicheleS - Aug 9, 2014 at 7:59 PM

      I think Souza will get a chance again in September. It’s not like he had a TON of opportunities and hitting the Wall in Atlanta is never good for one’s career. I hate that wall

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 9, 2014 at 9:16 PM

        Absolutely. Souza will be back. Just tough luck.

  4. Theophilus T.S. - Aug 9, 2014 at 8:19 PM

    I also predict both Taylor and Souza will be on the 25-man roster before August 31. The Nats are already storing McLouth on the DL for September 1 activation but I can’t imagine the Brain Trust wants to rely on Hairston as a RH bat who can’t play defense in the playoffs — assuming they make the playoffs. He goes by a waiver trade, goes on the DL or gets DFA’ed before the August 31 roster-fixing deadline. My bet is the DL, so they can audition for the final 25 during September. Notice I am being optimistic about the playoffs, which could change before the end of the weekend.

  5. stoatva - Aug 9, 2014 at 8:48 PM

    Whoever they bring up, we’re still going to be seeing more of Scott Hairston than anyone else.

    • stoatva - Aug 9, 2014 at 8:50 PM

      Make that Frandsen/Hairston

    • David Proctor - Aug 9, 2014 at 9:00 PM

      Based on what? Souza started yesterday and Matt indicated he wanted to get Souza starts. Hairston has hardly ever been used, except against Hamels.

      • stoatva - Aug 9, 2014 at 9:05 PM

        We shall see. I will be happy to be wrong.

      • David Proctor - Aug 9, 2014 at 9:08 PM

        I don’t think Taylor will start much, if ever, and that’s a good thing because he’s raw. But if Werth is DL’d, I bet Souza plays almost every day

  6. Joe Seamhead - Aug 9, 2014 at 9:16 PM

    Why are so many assuming it will be Werth going to the DL? I mean based on what? I’m not saying it won’t be Jayson, but I haven’t read anything to indicate one, or the other was going was going to the DL. Jayson going down for 15 days would be a serious blow.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 9, 2014 at 9:26 PM

      There are several possibilities with the most likely Souza getting sent back to AAA or to the DL or Werth to the DL or the other possibility is a DFA of Hairston although unlikely since we are so close to Sept 1.

      The time to have DFA’d Hairston would have been in Spring Training.

  7. Drew - Aug 10, 2014 at 12:05 AM

    Taylor will be the sixth player from the Nats’ dandy 2009 draft class to make the big leagues, joining Strasburg, Storen, Kobernus, T. Jordan and Nate Karns.

    That list does not include Marcus Stroman, the Jays righty who was drafted by the Nats in 2009 but did not sign.

  8. souldrummer - Aug 10, 2014 at 6:02 AM

    This kid could be the hero Black Washington needs. He’s Mike Cameron in a skinny body if everything hits right. Great arm. Great tools. Power tool finally caught up this year. Most importantly, he has the character to match. I was a one man fan club at Bowie earlier this year. Michael Taylor gave me a game used bat as he walked off the field in a tough loss. Believe that bat’s worth quite a bit right now. I went to a Michael Taylor game in Harrisburg. He hit three home runs. I’ll be attending every Nats home game that I can until I see Michael Taylor take an MLB at bat. In Viera, I told this kid to go out there and be Eastern League MVP. Well, he might have been if he hadn’t gotten to Syracuse and did everything he could to salvage the Chiefs playoff chances. Now the knucklehead’s gonna make his MLB debut! On the web site that I write for, I call him Michael “BATMAN” Taylor because he’s the one player who has given me a bat as a thank you. I’ll probably bring my bat to the game, and I pray that they let me show it to some folks.

  9. thomaswell - Aug 10, 2014 at 8:26 AM

    Souza to DL retro to his injury.

  10. dgourds - Aug 10, 2014 at 9:38 AM

    Pretty impressive Minor league depth in the OF. Let’s hope Michael Taylor plays so well we can’t send him back down. This team could really use an unexpected spark to get them on a powerful roll towards the playoffs. It so often seems teams that go deep in the playoffs have these unexpected contributors.

    Souza will be great but he’ll just have to wait a bit. I was pretty appalled that the Nats kept him in the game after that collision–especially with all the publicity concerning concussions now. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s having concussion symptoms now–not shoulder or neck issues.

  11. zmunchkin - Aug 10, 2014 at 2:29 PM

    I wonder if the Nats are setting things up so they have lots of options for the post-season. If they put Souza on the DL and both he and McClouth stay on the DL until Sep 1, Taylor, Souza and McClouth are eligible to be on the post-season 25 man roster. And it can be changed between each series.

    Perhaps they want to maximize their match-up options.

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