Beginning in 2017, Chris Taylor has filled a very important role for the Dodgers, bouncing around between the infield and the outfield to provide good defense at a handful of different positions. A shortstop by trade, Taylor caught everyone by surprise when he reinvented his swing and turned himself into a legitimate big-league hitter after the 2016 season. To make room for him in their lineup, Los Angeles moved CT3 to the outfield.
Since that time, Taylor has played 235 games in left field, 181 in center, 173 at shortstop, 119 at second base, 25 at third base, and 20 in right field, a true Chris Army Knife who can do pretty much everything for the team. In 2022, he was limited to the outfield early in the season as he recovered from offseason elbow surgery, and he recently told Dodgers Nation that the lack of versatility wasn’t ideal for him.
“Moving back and forth between the infield and outfield, it keeps you ready to go at all positions. I think the biggest challenge is when you’re playing in one spot for quite a while, and then all of a sudden there’s an injury or something, and then you have to move to the infield.
“That was a little bit of a challenge for me last year. Just, I was playing outfield to the point where I felt like I was an outfielder, and I hadn’t played infield since Spring Training, and then all of a sudden after the All-Star break I jumped back into the infield, and there was a little bit of an adjustment there.
“And that’s the biggest challenge, just getting back into that mindset. But when you’re moving constantly throughout the year and getting the reps everywhere, I think it helps a little bit being prepared for all those different spots.”
Now fully healthy, Taylor is likely to move around quite a bit again this year. There’s uncertainty at several defensive positions, and a guy with CT3’s versatility will be very helpful as manager Dave Roberts tried to navigate the team’s youth movement and the newly banned infield shift. It’s not a bad idea to look for a big bounce-back season from Taylor.
Have you signed up for the Dodgers Nation newsletter yet? Get the latest news, rumors, highlights and more right in your inbox every day! Keep up to date on every single thing involving your boys in blue!