After a phenomenal high school career at Torrance High in California, in which he excelled in baseball and football, Tyrone Taylor was Milwaukee’s first pick in the second round of the 2012 MLB draft. He chose to forego college (he had signed with Cal State Fullerton) and start his professional baseball career right away.
Taylor was assigned to the Arizona League and instantly made a splash. He posted a tremendous .389/.395/.694 slash line before being promoted to Helena after only eight games. His bat failed to slow down after his call-up as he accumulated a .385 batting average and a .467 on-base percentage before a shoulder injury sidelined him for the remainder of the season.
An elite athlete, Taylor has incredible raw talent with above-average speed. He has the skillset to climb the minor league ladder and become a major league centerfielder. The sky is the limit.
Recently, I had the chance to interview Taylor.
Q: How nerve-wracking was watching the MLB draft?
A: It was very nerve-wracking! I mean, I dreamed of hearing my name called in the draft since I was a little kid so the anticipation was unreal. I was extremely happy when I was drafted by the Brewers.
Q: Tell me about your first season as a professional baseball player. Were you happy with your play?
A: My first season was pretty awesome. Of course I wish I was 100% going in so I was able to participate in more games, but when I did play I learned a lot and had a good time. It was a good first look at pro ball and I’m excited for my first full season this year.
Q: What types of things have you been working on this offseason?
A: I’ve been doing a lot of things to help with speed and agility with my trainers Steve Zim and Andrew Sicari. They’ve both helped a lot by getting me in the best shape I’ve been in. And I continued to do arm exercises to keep my arm in good shape. I feel really good going into spring training. I’m very excited!
Q: Any specific goals for the 2013 season?
A: My main goal is to stay on the field pretty much. I’m going to maintain a good routine in order to keep my arm and body healthy so I can be out there playing the best sport in the world.
Q: You were an outstanding high school football player. How does your multi-sport athleticism help you in baseball?
A: It helps me physically because the beating I took in football made me pretty tough. It also helped me mentally because you really have to have a tough man mentality in football and I think bringing a little of that to the diamond has made me a better ball player.
Q: Did you have any trouble deciding which sport to pursue after high school?
A: No, not at all. I only played football for fun and I had a blast, but baseball has been the sport I have loved since I was a little boy.
Q: You missed some time last season with a shoulder injury. Take me through the rehab process and how is your shoulder feeling now?
A: After I injured it, I was sent to Arizona to get it rehabbed. After about a month of rest, the physical therapist and trainers were able to start stretching it out a little bit. Then when I got a good range of motion, I was able to start doing exercises to build my strength back. After a while, I started on a throwing program and now its 100%. It was quite a process but thanks to the Brewers staff it feels great.
Q: You spent only 8 games in the Arizona League before being promoted to Helena. How excited were you when you found out about your promotion?
A: I was real excited! It was cool because my grandparents drove out to Arizona that day to see me play so they were real proud of me when they heard the news.
Q: Growing up in California, did you root for any of the home town teams (Giants, Angels, Dodgers, Padres, Athletics)?
A: Growing up in LA, I always rooted for the Dodgers, but now the Brewers have definitely won me over.
Q: What player would you say you model your game after?
A: Matt Kemp because he is a great all-around player. He steals bases, plays great defense and hits for both average and power. And he also carries himself well both on and off the field.
Q: What’s the best thing about being a minor-league baseball player?
A: The overall experience is just great. Being in this organization has been the best time of my life and I’m excited for this year and the years to come.
Q: Do you have any thoughts on what type of punishment should be handed down if a player is caught using performance-enhancing drugs?
A: People that use them probably shouldn’t be allowed to play the game. There are too many players working hard to get where they want to be for some to cheat and get there.
Q: Have you made a trip to Miller Park yet?
A: I went to Milwaukee and briefly saw the ballpark from the outside. It looked awesome and from what I’ve seen on TV it looks beautiful.
Follow @Ty_roneTaylor on Twitter.