May 5, 2013; Milwaukee, WI, USA; The Milwaukee Brewers logo on the field behind home plate prior to the game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Miller Park. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Last week we launched our top prospect update by looking at consensus #1 prospect, pitcher Jimmy Nelson. Entering week number two of the series, we work our way down the list to look at outfielder Tyrone Taylor.
While his athleticism was something that scouts knew would translate to the pros, many had concerns about his bat over the long haul. While the risk existed, the intrigue of Taylor’s athleticism and the opportunity to have the two-sport star focus on one sport for the first time was enough for the Brewers to select Taylor in the second round (92 overall) in the 2012 draft. While at Torrance (CA) High School Taylor was also a standout running back. Taylor would later sign for $750,000 and spend the remainder of 2012 in Arizona and Helena.
2013 marked his first complete year as a professional and saw Taylor enter the year as the Brewers second ranked prospect. While at Low A Wisconsin, Taylor turned some heads. In 122 games, Taylor hit .274 with 8 home runs and 59 runs batted in. Besides his play at the plate, the tools that had Baseball America rank him as the Brewers best athlete in the system following the 2012 season, started to shine through defensively and on the base paths. Taylor played sparkling defense, compiling 13 outfield assists and stole 19 bags in Appleton in 2013.
Taylor has spent 2014 in the middle of the lineup for the High A Brevard County Manatees. Through 70 games in Viera, Taylor is hitting .264 with 4 home runs and 39 runs batted in. While his numbers are not eye popping, Taylor seems to be on pace as he continues to move through the Brewers system.
The 20-year old outfielder projects in the future as a potential five tool prospect. His above average speed and arm will allow him to stay in center field regardless of the fact that All-Star Carlos Gomez occupies the position currently. While much can happen in the future, fans could see Taylor at Miller Park in 2017 as a 23-year old replacement for Gomez who is scheduled to be a free agent following the 2016 season.
Either way the Brewers have made a concerted effort in the past two to three drafts to acquire more high ceiling prospects with increased athleticism, regardless of the increased risk. So far, Taylor appears to have made his selection seem a lot less risky than when the Brewers selected him in 2012.