Tyrone Taylor's Hard Work Pays Off
Once a top prospect slides into the suspect category, it can be all but impossible to find his way back.
Just don’t tell that to 24-year-old outfielder Tyrone Taylor.
Taylor entered the 2018 season on the outside of the Brewers' Top 30 Prospects, but he pushed his way back onto the organization's radar at Triple-A Colorado Springs. In 119 games the righthanded batter hit .278/.321/.504 and led the club with 20 home runs.
Taylor signed as a second-round pick in 2012 and would have qualified as a minor league free agent had the Brewers not added him to the 40-man roster in October. It is the Torrance (Calif.) High product's first appearance on the roster.
"He had a nice year, and it started with his health,” farm director Tom Flanagan told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "He had some injuries the last couple years, through no fault of his own, and battled through those and got stronger coming into this year. He stayed healthy and was able to show off his talent.”
Taylor rose to No. 1 on the organization’s prospect ranking in 2015 on the strength of a big season in the high Class A Florida State League the year before that included 36 doubles and 22 stolen bases.
Then came a couple of tough years at Double-A Biloxi. During that same time—2016 and 2017—the Brewers were undertaking a massive rebuild, when several highly regarded outfielders joined the system. The group included the likes of Lewis Brinson and Brett Phillips (both of whom were traded in 2018) and also Corey Ray, the fifth overall pick in the 2016 draft.
Along the way, Taylor, who was nagged by injuries, lost his place in line. But he never lost his spirit or drive, and when things came together in the hitter-friendly environment at Colorado Springs, Taylor had found his way back into good graces.
"Everybody’s very happy for him,” Flanagan said. "He’s at the top of the scale in terms of being a teammate. He’s all-in on the team concept. So it’s great to reward him for both the production he had this year and the hard work to get to this point.”
Corey Ray Faces Pivotal 2020 Season
Ray scuffled through an injury-shortened year at Triple-A last season, but along the way he learned a valuable lesson about the healing process.
• The Brewers re-signed shortstop Jake Hager to a minor league contract for 2019 and invited him to big league camp. The 25-year-old split the 2018 season between Biloxi and Colorado Springs, batting .284/.348/.472 with 11 home runs in 97 games.
• Catcher Mario Feliciano was shut down in the Arizona Fall League after reporting right shoulder discomfort. He had arthroscopic surgery and is expected to be ready for spring training.