Samad Taylor Has An Eye-Opening Offseason
During instructional league last fall, Blue Jays director of minor league operations Charlie Wilson made Samad Taylor an offer he couldn’t refuse.
“I was asked if I wanted to play winter ball,” the 22-year-old second baseman said. “I told them, ‘Hey, if you guys want me to play, then I'll play.’ And he asked if I wanted to go to Australia, and I was all in on it.”
A 25-game in the Australian Baseball League followed, an opportunity Taylor used as a springboard to a breakout season at Double-A New Hampshire.
Taylor split the lost summer of 2020 between his home in Sioux Falls, S.D., and with his parents in Corona, Calif. He worked out on his own at times or with his cousins Elijah Greene and Isaiah Greene, who play for the Angels and Indians organizations, respectively.
Australia offered a chance for Taylor test the progress of changes to his swing, as well as some reps in the outfield. It gave him a lot more, too.
“Probably one of the best experiences I've had in life,” Taylor said. “Just seeing a whole different country during the pandemic was obviously pretty eye-opening, how they controlled everything. We were here in quarantine, being locked down and once I got out to Australia, everything was open"
Taylor brought the progress he made in Australia to spring training and has since narrowed his stance before going back to a stride he had previously abandoned.
“I’m staying more stacked on my back side to drive the ball and have more consistent results, in a way,” he said. “So I feel like I've been in a pretty good position.”
Through 48 games, he hit .303/.393/.567 with 12 home runs, already a career high, and 17 stolen bases, all while bouncing between second base, third base, left field and center field.
"There's a lot of season left," Taylor said. "As quickly as you can go up in baseball is as quick as you can go down, so I'm just keeping positive and doing the stuff I'm doing.”