- Full name Michael David Taylor
- Born 12/19/1985 in Cheverly, MD
- Profile Ht.: 6'5" / Wt.: 255 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- School Stanford
- Debut 09/02/2011
Drafted in the 5th round (173rd overall) by the Philadelphia Phillies in 2007 (signed for $131,000).
View Draft ReportDespite type one diabetes, Taylor has a pure pro body at 6-foot-6, 260 pounds and runs average even at his size. Taylor has an average arm and can play right field; his routes and jumps need improvement for him to be a big league right fielder. His raw power is well-above-average, though like many Stanford hitters, Taylor has adopted an approach that makes it hard for him to pull the ball with any authority. Scouts who saw him late saw him good; he had 16 multi-hit games in his final 19 starts. Taylor has shown power to the deepest part of the park and has the highest ceiling on the Cardinal roster. He will be a beast if he learns to turn on inside pitches and develops a bit more patience. Taylor may not be an easy sign if he falls outside the first five rounds, as he's bright and academically motivated. He was the No. 99 prospect in Baseball America's 2004 predraft rankings coming out of Apopka (Fla.) High, but he wasn't drafted at all because of his Stanford commitment and questions about how his tools would translate into performance.
Organization Prospect Rankings
Taylor has been a fixture of Athletics prospects lists ever since coming to the organization in December 2009, when the Phillies sent him to the Blue Jays with Kyle Drabek and Travis d'Arnaud for Roy Halladay, with Toronto then flipping him to Oakland for Brett Wallace. In 2013, Taylor put up another solid season with Triple-A Sacramento, with his 18 homers his best total since 2009, but he was only given a couple brief callups in April and May, and Oakland opted not to bring him up in September during the playoff race. Taylor remains much the same hitter he's always been, with tantalizing raw power but a line-drive approach that doesn't maximize it. He has a physical, imposing 6-foot-5 frame and gets good bat speed and leverage in his stroke. Yet he continues to frustrate scouts, as he always has, by taking passive swings and not looking to drive more balls. His defense is good enough to be an asset in right field, where he has a strong arm and gets good enough jumps on balls to make up for a lack of above-average speed. Taylor still possesses the potential to be a serviceable major league outfielder, but it looks increasingly doubtful that opportunity will come in Oakland. He remains on the club's 40-man roster but is out of minor league options as he heads into 2014 spring training.
Taylor has racked up 1,372 Triple-A at-bats in the last four seasons as he has been unable to break through to the majors for any significant time. The Phillies sent him, Travis d'Arnaud and Kyle Drabek to the Blue Jays for Roy Halladay in December 2009, and Toronto immediately spun Taylor to the Athletics for Brett Wallace. Taylor did establish personal Triple-A bests for batting average (.287) and on-base percentage (.405) while leading the Pacific Coast League in walks (86) in 2012. He still cuts an imposing figure and can put on a show in batting practice, but those displays are a tease. After trying to hit for more power the previous two seasons, he reverted to more of a line-drive approach last year. He got himself in a better position to hit and started his swing earlier. His pitch recognition got better and he generally put together quality at-bats. Though Taylor's not a fast runner, he gets outstanding reads and jumps on balls and is a quality outfielder. He could play center field in a pinch, and his arm is strong enough to keep him in right. He's still in the conversation for an outfield job with the A's, but he's buried on the depth chart and destined for another trip to Sacramento.
Taylor came to the A's after the 2009 season in a deal with the Blue Jays for Brett Wallace, an offshoot of the trade that sent Roy Halladay to the Phillies for Taylor, Travis d'Arnaud and Kyle Drabek. Taylor hit 16 homers in Triple-A in 2011 to earn a September callup. Taylor played at Stanford, where hitters are groomed to hit to all fields, even at the expense of power. Five years later, the A's still are trying to get him to be more aggressive about driving pitches. He has the bat speed and strength to hit balls over the fence in any direction. Oakland also has worked on putting him into a better position to hit, in particular getting his front foot down sooner. He controls the strike zone well. Taylor saw action in center field as recently as 2010, but he's an average runner who fits better in right field. His arm is slightly above average. The A's are rebuilding their outfield after Coco Crisp, David DeJesus and Josh Willingham all left as free agents. Taylor, who spent the winter interning at a Bay Area sports radio station, should have an opportunity to seize a big league job in spring training.
Taylor hit .312/.383/.515 in three years in the Phillies system, but Domonic Brown's emergence made him expendable and Philadelphia included him in its trade for Roy Halladay in December 2009. The Blue Jays promptly flipped Taylor to the A's for Brett Wallace. Shoulder problems cut short his winter season in Mexico and may have contributed to a slow start in Triple-A, and he never really got going. A physical specimen, Taylor still hit balls out to all fields during batting practice but rarely carried that power over into games in 2010. Scouts wondered where his bat speed had gone, and he had issues with a dead start in his swing. Oakland worked to shorten his stroke and improve his angle to the ball. He did get praise for his ability to control the strike zone and handle breaking pitches, but his production was still disappointing. Taylor has average speed and takes good routes, so he can play center field in a pinch. His strong, accurate arm works well in right field. Taylor's physical tools are still readily apparent, and the A's hope last season was simply an aberration. Their November trade for David DeJesus will make it harder for Taylor to break into the big league outfield in 2011. He's been added to Oakland's 40-man roster, but he still has to prove himself in Triple-A anyway.
Taylor played a season of high school baseball as Zack Greinke's teammate, and his size and athleticism made him a top high school prospect. His grades helped lead him to Stanford, where he came around as a college junior, and he's been unstoppable the last two seasons, clubbing 39 homers and batting .334. Despite his size, Taylor has few holes and has become an excellent hitter, squaring up balls consistently and smashing line drives to all fields. Pitchers try to tie him up inside, and while he can be vulnerable there, he has shown the ability to make adjustments. He has excellent raw power, average speed and good baserunning instincts. He's a solid defender with an average-to-plus arm who grades as above average in left field. Taylor could stand to be more selective to get to his power more consistently. He needs to learn to loft the ball to become a true 30-homer threat. Conditioning probably will be a long-term issue for Taylor, who does a good job of staying on top of his juvenile diabetes. With Raul Ibanez and Jayson Werth ahead of him and Domonic Brown coming on, Taylor seems like ideal trade bait. He also could be a replacement for Ibanez, whose contract doesn't expire until after 2011. He's slated for Triple-A in 2010.
A highly regarded prospect as a prep player in Florida, Taylor didn't hit enough as a high school senior to overcome a Stanford commitment and juvenile diabetes and get drafted high. He spent two nondescript years with the Cardinal before making huge strides late in his junior season, and he hasn't stopped hitting since. He was named to the low Class A South Atlantic League's midseason all-star game in 2008, then hit for even more power after a promotion. A physical specimen, Taylor has strength, athleticism and explosive power potential. He started using his lower half in his swing, getting the bat head out and producing better bat speed. He has average speed that improves to a tick above average once he gets going, and a plus outfield arm. He uses his intelligence on and off the field, studying the game and learning how to prepare like a pro. Taylor still isn't a natural hitter and likely will struggle to maintain his batting average against better pitching, as he can lose command of the strike zone at times. His swing can get long and he has some holes, especially inside. His route-running in the outfield could stand some improvement. Taylor profiles as the kind of righthanded-hitting corner outfielder the Phillies need and will be a step closer in 2009 at Double-A. If he maintains his 2008 hitting performance, he could reach Philadelphia in 2010.
Minor League Top Prospects
Taylor continues to hit his way toward the majors, and he certainly looks like a big leaguer physically. He's massive, yet moves well and is an average runner underway. Taylor has gotten in better shape as a pro than he was in college, which remains a challenge as he has to monitor his juvenile diabetes. While Taylor has a big body, he keeps his swing short and has enough strength to drive the ball to any part of the ballpark, while also making consistent contact. His bat speed allows him to catch up to good fastballs, and He'll have to maintain his power production as he has moved to left field, where his arm strength and defensive ability are average. "He's got bat control, size, power, he runs--lots of potential there," Walbeck said. "He can carry a team with his bat, and I thought he showed good instincts in the outfield."
Taylor's production never matched his potential until he became one of the breakout stars of the minor league season. After a lackluster career at Stanford and a .227 pro debut in 2007, he hit a combined .346/.412/.557 with 19 homers and 15 steals between low Class A Lakewood and Clearwater. Taylor's tools are impressive. At 6-foot-6 he looks like a power forward, and he finally began to tap into his impressive raw power. He generates excellent leverage with his long arms, and balls make a different sound coming off of his bat. As a right fielder, Taylor has a 65 arm on the 20-80 scouting scale, but he needs to work on getting better jumps and taking better routes. He's not particularly fast from home to first, but once he gets going he has impressive speed for a big man. He's a heady player with the ability to read pitchers and pick his spots to steal.
Taylor attracts comparisons to Ryan Howard. Both were fifth-round picks of the Phillies, and Taylor has a similar build and raw power. No one is saying that Taylor is in the same class as a hitter at this point, but he put up better numbers in the SAL than Howard did at the same age, and Taylor is a better athlete as well. After hitting just .227 in his pro debut last year out of Stanford, Taylor had few difficulties at either of his two Class A stops in 2008, batting a combined .346/.412/.557. He drives the ball with his long arms and has quick wrists, which help overcome a swing that can get long on occasion. He also displayed impressive focus, maintaining his advanced approach throughout the season. Defensively, Taylor has a strong arm that could play in right field. He sees more time in left, however, because he's still learning to get good jumps and take proper routes on flyballs.
Top 100 Rankings
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Outfield Arm in the Oakland Athletics in 2014
- Rated Best Outfield Arm in the Pacific Coast League in 2010
- Rated Best Power Hitter in the Philadelphia Phillies in 2010
- Rated Best Hitter for Average in the Oakland Athletics in 2010
- Rated Best Batting Prospect in the Eastern League in 2009
- Rated Most Exciting Player in the Eastern League in 2009
- Rated Best Power Hitter in the Philadelphia Phillies in 2009
Background: Taylor came to the A's after the 2009 season in a deal with the Blue Jays for Brett Wallace, an offshoot of the trade that sent Roy Halladay to the Phillies for Taylor, Travis d'Arnaud and Kyle Drabek. After hitting just six homers in his first season in the Oakland system, Taylor hit 16 homers in Triple-A in 2011 to earn a September callup.Scouting Report: Taylor played at Stanford, where hitters are groomed to hit to all fields, even at the expense of power. Five years later, the A's still are trying to get him to be more aggressive about driving pitches. He has the bat speed and strength to hit balls over the fence in any direction. Oakland also has worked on putting him into a better position to hit, in particular getting his front foot down sooner. He controls the strike zone well. Taylor saw action in center field as recently as 2010, but he's an average runner who fits better in right field. His arm is slightly above average.The Future: The A's are rebuilding their big league outfield after Coco Crisp, David DeJesus and Josh Willingham all left as free agents. That seemingly gave Taylor a wide-open opportunity, but Oakland than acquired Josh Reddick and Seth Smith in trades. If Taylor can realize his power potential, it would give a much-needed boost to the A's weak offense.