Aug 13, 2014, 6:00 AM EDT
The legend of Nats prospect Michael Taylor has developed strongly over the last few months.
First it was his defense everyone raved about as the lanky, 6-foot-3 outfielder was a standout during his short time in spring training. Then he hit .319 with 14 home runs and 40 RBI through two months at Double-A Harrisburg.
Fast forward to the second half of 2014 and Taylor was establishing himself as a super prospect for the Nationals, passing Brian Goodwin and Matt Skole as their most promising young position player in the minor league ranks. He was hitting for average, power and showing speed on the basepaths.
Taylor’s track became accelerated in recent weeks due to injuries at the major league level. Once Nate McLouth went down with a shoulder injury, and once Steven Souza, Jr. was recalled to take his place, somebody needed to fill in for Souza at Triple-A Syracuse. In came Taylor, who already appeared on his way to a major league call-up in September.
But Souza would get then get hurt himself, and starting right fielder Jayson Werth would also miss time. The Nationals needed Taylor now, whether he was ready or not.
‘Finally,’ you could say, Taylor made his major league debut on Tuesday night, much earlier than anyone could have predicted even a few weeks ago. And though his call-up was relatively rushed, few could have guessed it in the Nationals’ win 7-1 over the Mets.
Immediately Taylor made an impact with a single in his first at-bat. He would later add his first major league home run as well, a two-run shot in the sixth inning to the opposite field.
Taylor also looked solid in right field Tuesday night, with quick jumps on line drives hit his way. Defensive range is supposed to be one of his biggest strengths, as some say he was the best outfielder in Double-A this season.
Taylor had a memorable debut and helped the Nationals bounce back from their weekend in Atlanta with a solid win over the Mets. It is one game and he happened to be facing an emergency starter in Rafael Montero, but the early returns are impressive, there is no question.
Taylor appears at the very least to have confidence to go along with his abilities, as he clearly didn’t shrink in the moment on Tuesday night. It’s a very small sample size, but Taylor could be just what the Nats need with all the injuries to their outfield.
It was just one game, but the Nats could have a secret weapon many other teams wish they could deploy right now.
Watch video of his homer right here via MLB.com:
Also, you can listen to an interview we did with Taylor back in June:
COUNTDOWN TO OPENING DAY
ON THE RADIO
As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 schedule (subject to change)...
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.
Follow us on Twitter
- Forbes: Nats nearly doubled in franchise value from 2014 to 2015
- Gonzalez settles down, with help from Scherzer
- Former Nats pitcher earns rotation spot with Texas Rangers
- Ian Desmond ranks highly among shortstops, according to ESPN
- Gio Gonzalez faces Mets in Viera
- Harper sidelined as Nats' injuries continue to mount
- Who should Nats' tab as Rendon's fill-in?
- Podcast: 'Baseball in the District' - Mark Zuckerman & Marc Carig
- Scherzer dominates Cardinals' "A" lineup
- Harper on criticism, hopes for 2015: 'I want to do damage'