Taylor has spent the past two years in Kansas City. Initially signed to a one-year, $1.75 million guarantee over the course of the 2020-21 season, Taylor Nahas has impressed the Royals with his stellar defense on the field. The lightweight quarterback has proven a perfect fit for Kaufman’s wide outfield and defense-focused organization. He earned his first career Gold Glove in 2021 and was awarded a $9 million extension covering the 2022-23 campaigns late that season.
During the first season of that new two-year deal, Taylor continued his excellent defensive play. He scored just over 1,000 runs of center fielding, with his Defensive Runs Saved placing tying him with 19 better-than-average runs at the most demanding position in the outfield. It was the second year in a row that DRS rated him at +19 points, making him far and away the most valuable defensive player in the game by that metric. Since the start of 2021, no other positional player has tallied more than 21 total DRS – with second place Miles Straw Well behind Taylor’s cumulative mark of +38.
Statcast wasn’t quite as enthusiastic last season, though they also rated him as an above-average quarterback. The Outs Above Average metric put Taylor at +5 runs last year after rating him 14 times above average the previous season. Straw narrowly beats him over two years by that metric, but Taylor still holds the number two spot dating back to the start of the ’21 season.
Byron BuxtonOf course, he is one of the few football players in the game who is as good or better than Taylor defensively. He didn’t have the same opportunity to jump to the league lead in cumulative defensive metrics, because injuries kept him off the field. Buxton has fielded 955 runs over the past two years, fewer than Taylor has reached in each individual season. He has strained his right hip in each of the last two seasons and missed two months in the second half of 2021 after breaking his left hand in a hit-by-pitch. Buxton also played through a right knee injury last season, which required surgical repair at the end of the season once the Twins were out of playoff contention.
The All-Star player shows the MVP-caliber upside when healthy and will still clearly be Minnesota’s starting quarterback. He’s only once topped 100 games in a season, so it’s understandable that the Twins want to cement their depth behind him. Gilberto Celestino He was the reserve’s top choice last year, but he only batted 0.38/.313/.302 with a pair of home runs in 347 trips to the plate. Celestino is a good defender, but not at Taylor’s level. With a minor league option year left, the 23-year-old could open the season at the Triple-A St. Louis Cardinals. Paul now that he’s jumped on the depth chart.
Right fielder Max Kepler Athletic enough to handle center field if need be, though there’s no guarantee he’ll be on the roster until Opening Day. Minnesota has a number of The batting players are left-handedWhich increases the likelihood that they will be dealt from that group to tackle other areas such as first base or base. Kepler, as the oldest player in the group with the least amount of club control left, would be the most obvious candidate for such a move.
The Twins traded for an outfielder despite this apparent redundancy, though Taylor’s right-handed batter would help balance things out. He posted below-average overall offensive numbers throughout his career, hauling a .241/.296/.381 streak over parts of nine big league seasons. Aside from showing a solid .271/.320/.486 with the Nationals in 2017, he’s been an underrated hitter every year. This was the case regardless of whether the shooter’s hand was used, although it would have been expected to be slightly better when holding the platoon advantage. Taylor holds a career streak of .257/.310/.412 against left-handed, compared to a mark of .235/.290/.369 against right-handed.
Strikes were the 31-year-old’s primary issue. He hit 29.4% of his career trips to the plate while walking at a paltry 6.9% average. To his credit, Taylor took it a step further in that department last season. His inning average of 23.9% was personally low, just two percentage points above the league mark. He appears to have sacrificed a bit in the way of impact to do so, as his 32.3% hard contact rate last season is the lowest number of his career.
It is clear that Taylor will not be counted on to provide much attacking jolt. He did bring some balance to the lineup, joining Celestino as the only right swinger on the 40-man roster. More importantly, he would offer coach Rocco Baldelli a quality defensive option either off the bench or if needed should Buxton waste time.
It’s an affordable addition for the Twins, who will shoulder the $4.5 million owed Taylor over the next season before reaching free agency. That brings Minnesota’s projected payroll to $155 million, according to Calculation list resource. That would be a franchise record mark, with last year’s club opening in the $134 million range. The Twins had a fairly quiet off-season until the calendar flipped to 2023, but they’ve re-signed Carlos Correaflipped over Louis Araz to Pablo Lopez New Horizons has now brought Taylor in a matter of weeks. The Minnesota Personals continue to scour the market for promotions, at least around the margins, as they battle the Guardians and White Sox in the AL Central.
Meanwhile, the Royals are charging a veteran for future help in the wake of a 65-win season. As an imminent free agent, Taylor looked like one of the better trade candidates on the roster. Kansas City has reportedly placed a rather significant order first targeting right hand Josh Winder In conversations with the twins. Minnesota refrained and the two sides eventually switched to a pair of junior officers.
Cesc, 26, in April, entered the professional ranks as a 16th-round pick for the Cardinals in 2018. The College of Charleston product landed Minnesota at the 2021 trade deadline in a deal that sent JA Hap to St. Louis. A left-handed reliever, Cesk split the season between Double-A Wichita and St. Louis Cardinals. Paul. He threw 63 innings through 50 appearances, recording an impressive 1.57 ERA while striking out 29.8% strikeouts faced. However, he also walked 11.4% of the opponents, and showed scattershot control throughout his time in the minors.
It’s a similar story for Cruz, a 6’7 right hander. Recorded outside of the Dominican Republic in 2017, he made 192 1/3 snaps over five minor league seasons. Cruz spent the entire 2022 season at Wichita, demonstrating a similar high-hitting, high-running style as Sisk. The 23-year-old fancied 28% of opponents but walked the batting average of nearly 14%. Baseball America wrote last season that Cruz can touch triple digits and has a slider above 80 that would give him a chance for an MLB spot if he could hone his hitting better.
Neither Sisk nor Cruz are on the 40-man roster. Both players were left unprotected and went undrafted in the Rule 5 off-season draft. They’ll give Kansas City’s player development squad a pair of top-level prospects with an unmistakable ability to miss the bat. Both pitchers could have a look at some point in 2023. Cruz will be eligible for minor league free agency if he’s not added to the 40-man roster by next season.
Image courtesy of USA Today Sports.
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