After 8 seasons, 785 games, and 3,220 plate appearances in the minors, Tyrone Taylor finally looks like a major league player. In 2021, he’s slashing .282/.378/.564 with three home runs and eight runs batted in. He’s currently the only non-injured Brewers player that’s hitting above .275, but keep in mind he only has 39 plate appearances.
Tyrone Taylor’s been productive for the Brewers this year. Should that success lead to even more playing time even when Christian Yelich returns from the IL?
The situation at hand for Taylor and the Brewers is so tricky right now that it’s hard to jump to one definite side of the fence for the answer to this question. Christian Yelich is hurt again, Lorenzo Cain just came off an injury, Jackie Bradley Jr. is struggling mightily at the plate, and Billy McKinney and Avisail Garcia have been hot and cold to start the season.
The challenge for Taylor is that most of the guys in front of him on the depth chart have a solid pedigree up to this point in their respective careers. Cain is almost a career .300 hitter, Garcia has proved he can be an All-Star and Bradley Jr. once won an ALCS MVP.
Another thing working against Taylor is the fact that he does have a minor league option remaining, while those other position players do not. If the team needs a roster spot, they can send Taylor down and call him back up when needed. The same can’t be said for someone like McKinney.
So it would be an uphill battle you’d assume for Taylor to get some real time. Well the hill will continue to decrease in steepness if he can continue to hit like he is now. With Keston Hiura being sent down, Craig Counsell doesn’t really have the luxury of a right-handed power bat when Taylor is out of the lineup. He’s tied for second on the team in home runs and has just a bit more than one-third of the at-bats as Bradley Jr. who also has three big flies.
Another thing that could open up some playing time for Tyrone Taylor is the ability of Billy McKinney to play first base. McKinney hasn’t started a game at first base yet this year, but with the recent scuffles from Daniel Vogelbach at the plate, it could happen sooner rather than later. With McKinney over at first, that would move Taylor up the pecking order and only make him have to pass up one other outfielder.
Typically it’s good when a team has a ton of depth and can plug their sixth outfielder in the lineup and he can see success. But for that sixth outfielder, it can be frustrating at times. Tyrone Taylor seems to have a good mindset about the whole thing and he’s taking advantage of his opportunity.
The short answer is: Yes, Tyrone Taylor DESERVES a bigger role. But when most of your team’s highest paid players are in front of you in the depth chart and they have a history of being good hitters in the MLB, it can be difficult to find time. The role he’s played this season can’t be understated though, he’s been great.
It’ll take continued production from Taylor and a continued cold streak from McKinney to ensure that the next time a roster spot is needed, the Brewers won’t take it from Taylor.