The lowdown on versatile FA Chris Taylor

November 18th, 2021

has raised his national profile through his postseason achievements, but he has been a consistently productive force at the plate while playing all over the diamond over the past few seasons. After making his first All-Star appearance, as well as some more October history in 2021, Taylor is now a free agent.

Here’s what you need to know about Taylor:


Birthdate: Aug. 29, 1990 (Age 31 in 2022)
Primary position: OF
Height/weight: 6-foot-1, 196 pounds
Bats/throws: Right/right
Place of birth: Virginia Beach, Va.
School(s): Frank W. Cox (Va.) HS; University of Virginia
Drafted: Fifth round, 2012, by Mariners
MLB debut: July 24, 2014
Qualifying offer: Received one; declined

2021: .254/.344/.438 (110 OPS+), 20 HR, 2.7 WAR* in 148 G
Career: .261/.337/.443 (109 OPS+), 79 HR, 15.2 WAR in 743 G
*Per Baseball-Reference

Taylor is the only qualified hitter in AL/NL history to have four seasons with an OPS+ better than 100 while playing left field, center field, shortstop and second base.

Will the Dodgers re-sign him? That's one of the many decisions L.A. will need to make this offseason, and Taylor's ability to play just about anywhere while providing above-average offense makes him a coveted commodity in free agency.

Postseason heroics
Taylor placed himself alongside some of MLB's most legendary names -- Ruth, Reggie, Pujols -- when he slammed three home runs in Game 5 of the 2021 NLCS. His 13 total bases set a Dodgers postseason record.

But Taylor's performance, while extraordinary, shouldn't have come as a complete surprise. He proved in 2017 that the pressure of the postseason is not too much for him to bear. Taylor earned co-MVP honors in that year's NLCS after recording four extra-base hits -- including two homers -- in the Dodgers' five-game triumph over the Cubs. Taylor then blasted the first pitch he saw in the ensuing World Series, leading off Game 1 with yet another home run.

Taylor then registered a solid .282/.417/.436 slash line during the 2018 postseason and helped the Dodgers advance in the 2021 playoffs with a walk-off shot in the NL Wild Card Game vs. the Cardinals.

Mr. Everything
Taylor's top selling point on the open market is that he can provide pretty much whatever his team desires.

Need some power? Taylor's barrel rate, which sat between 4-8% for most of his career, reached double digits in 2020 and 2021. Taylor hit 78 home runs in about 2,100 at-bats in the Majors from 2017-21; he totaled just 22 homers across all levels in 1,657 at-bats from 2012-2016.

Want some baserunning? Taylor's sprint speed in 2021 ranked in the 91st percentile, and he was successful on all but one of his 14 steal attempts. His baserunning was 6.5 runs above average, per FanGraphs, eighth-best in MLB.

Would you like some defensive flexibility? Taylor provided it this past season, as he played every position other than first base, catcher and pitcher. He started at least 15 games each at four positions -- second base, shortstop, center field and left field. He also made seven starts in right field and nine more at third base.

Team leader
Beyond his evident skills, Taylor's intangible qualities have also been recognized by his teammates and MLB. In 2021, he was awarded the Roy Campanella Award, given annually to the Dodgers player who best exemplifies spirit and leadership, as voted on by the team's players and uniformed personnel.

Taylor was also the Dodgers' 2021 winner of the Heart and Hustle Award, which "honors active players who demonstrate a passion for the game of baseball and best embody the values, spirit and traditions of the game."

Steal of a deal
Taylor came to the Dodgers during the 2016 season in a one-for-one swap with the Mariners that sent pitching prospect Zach Lee to the Northwest. It flew under the radar at the time, but it ended up becoming one of the biggest June trades in MLB history. While Taylor would soon turn into a star for the pennant-winning Dodgers, Lee posted a 7.39 ERA across 14 starts for Triple-A Tacoma before Seattle released him prior to the 2017 season.

Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto said in October 2017 that the move "is clearly the worst deal I've ever made."

A simple man
Taylor doesn't have many loves outside of baseball. At least, that's what Dodgers teammate AJ Pollock said in the aftermath of Taylor's three-homer outburst in Game 5 of the 2021 NLCS.

"The only thing that excites him I've seen is he likes to have a beer; he gets excited about that," said Pollock. "A beer with the boys and then he loves watching surfing. ... Maybe the three home runs today spiked his adrenaline, but probably not. Most likely just the beer and watching surfing."

However, Pollock overlooked Taylor's other talent: juggling. Taylor said in 2016 that he learned to juggle in order to participate in a Shakespeare festival while in middle school. And those skills haven't left him, as he displayed in 2019 with former teammates Russell Martin and David Freese.