Chris Taylor is doing work as Dodgers’ out-of-nowhere, anonymous star

The Dodgers have a bright young star on their roster under the age of 30.No, it’s not Cody Bellinger, Corey Seager, Yasiel Puigor Clayton Kershaw.It’s Chris Taylor.If you don’t know Chris Taylor, you’re not alone.Coming into Todd Frazier Jersey this season, the majority of fans acro s MLB had never heard of the utility player from Virginia Beach, Va.After all, he’d never played in more than 47 games in a season since breaking into the big leagues in 2014 with the Mariners, and he didn’t exactly put up eye-popping numbers during those games.MORE: Dodgers put Cody Bellinger, Alex Wood on DLEntering the 2017 season, Taylor had hit only one home run in 383 major league at-bats.So, it’s no surprise that when the Dodgers sent Zack Lee to Seattle in June 2016and received Taylor in return, not many people noticed.That should no longer be the case.Having played in 105 games this season, Taylor .310 batting averageis second on one of baseball’s best offensive clubs, and has belted an impre sive 17 home runs with 61 RBIs.He also has a WAR of 4.5, good for 13th in all of MLB, according to the Fangraphsvariation.But how did this happen?How did Taylor go from being a tradeafterthought to one of the biggest offensive weapons in the NL West in just a little more than a year?The mechanical changes I made to my swing are the biggest thing, I think, Taylor told Sporting News this weekbefore a matchup with the Pirates.Before this season, Taylor utilized what would be considered a traditional stance and swing at the plate, keeping his feet square with a basic load and stride mechanism to time each pitch.However, he decided to make some changes during the winter.I did some work this offseason with one of our hitting guys, and added a leg kick, Taylor said.My hands are also a little different; I added some rhythm to my hands, and tried to change my [bat] path a little bit to get on-plane a little earlier. The changes have enabled Taylor to increase his productivity in nearly every offensive category.The biggest jump, however, has come in his power numbers.Standing 6-1 and weighing under 200 pounds, Taylor has awiry, yet athleticframe that doesn’t seem like that of the traditional home run hitter.Instead, he comes acro s as the type of player who will consistently put the ball in play and occasionally hit a mistake-pitch over the fence. And until this offseason, that’s exactly what he was.Butthe added leg kick and rhythm in his hands have allowed him to get the most out of his body and he’s reaping the rewards.I think [the changes] increased my bat-speed, he said. I’m getting the barrel on the ball more consistently.That bat speed, he said, has allowed him to hit the ball with more authority.And that’s been bad news for opposing pitchers so far this season.It’s easy to see how Taylor could have gone overlooked to this point, given the plethora of talented and well-known players on the Dodgers’ roster.After all, Kershaw is one of the best pitchers in the game today, and may go down as one of the best to ever pick up a baseball.Bellinger has captured headlines all season for a power surge of his own and is the frontrunner for National League Rookie of the Year, and Puig has been one of the most recognizable and talked about players in MLB since he debuted in 2013.MORE: Every MLB team’s worst regular season memory, revisitedYet, Taylor said, the Dodgers’ stockpile of talenthas aided his offensive progre sion, not hindered it.We have a lot of good, veteran guys that have been around awhile, he said Tom Seaver Jersey . I try to pick their brains whenever I can.Specifically, Taylor referenced Justin Turner as a teammate he seeks out for advice on his swing.Upon hearing his name mentioned as one of Taylor’s de facto swing doctors, Turner, who was seated two lockers down in the visitors’ locker room at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, laughed and jokingly exclaimed, You don’t have to lie just because I’m sitting right here!Despite his playful objections, the similarities between the two players and their career arcs suggest Taylor has learned a lot from Turner.For starters, like Taylor, Turner isn’t the biggest player in the Dodgers’ clubhouse, but still gets the most bang for his buck, as he’s tallied 50 home runs over the past three seasons.Turner also added an exaggerated leg kick to his swing a few years into his major league careerand saw a huge uptick in production and power because of it.Whether it was incidental or deliberate, the fact remains: Taylor has learned quite a lot from his redheaded teammate, and as far as mentor’s go, Turner isn’t a bad one to have;the 32-year-oldleads the NLwith a .336 average.As to the notion that he is not receiving the attention that his play warrants, Taylor is unconcerned.In fact, he disagrees with the premise entirely.I think you can look at it either way, he said. As a team we’re in the spotlight a lot because we have so many great players. … We have so many good players, everybody is going to get some attention.If Taylor continues to produce at the plate at his current level, hemay find that spotlight a little brighter in the future.

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