More was expected from him as a batter: his career line of .238/.294/.385 is acceptable, but not particularly good.
He has struck out 30.1 percent of the time, and his power and speed combo often seems like a waste of talent.
But when you see him with a glove on his hand, chasing down fly balls in center field, then you understand why he gets so many chances and why the Royals are committed to him.
Here is his latest web gem, from Monday afternoon’s game.
— Kansas City Royals (@Royals) May 2, 2022
In that play, you can see just how ridiculously good he is as a defensive center fielder.
An Incredible Fielder In Center
Many center fielders often have to take their eyes off the ball to see the wall, and they may not recover their focus.
Taylor knows his body, knows where the ball is, and is athletic enough to leap and take away a home run from the opposing hitter.
It’s not a coincidence that he won the American League Gold Glove award last season, after several deserving performances in recent years.
In 2021, he had 19 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) in the outfield, an incredible number that makes him elite.
Other metrics think he is extremely good, too: Statcast’s Outs Above Average (OAA) had him as a 99th percentile fielder last year.
He makes incredible reads and takes excellent routes to the ball, and his athleticism allows him to reach balls that most center fielders can’t catch.
He is a mediocre hitter, but an asset on the field, and that makes for occasional highlight reels for us to enjoy.