Nationals

Quick Links

Nationals roster review: Michael Taylor

michaeltaylor101315.png

Nationals roster review: Michael Taylor

Age on Opening Day 2016: 25

How acquired: 6th round pick, 2009 draft

MLB service time: 1 year, 37 days

2015 salary+bonuses: $509,000

Contract status: Under team control in 2016, arbitration-eligible in 2018, free agent in 2021

2015 stats: 138 G, 511 PA, 49 R, 108 H, 15 2B, 2 3B, 14 HR, 63 RBI, 16 SB, 35 BB, 158 SO, .229 AVG, .282 OBP, .358 SLG, .640 OPS, 3 E, 12.4 UZR, 0.0 WAR

Quotable: "I can't say enough about the kid. He's been learning on the job. He's matured a lot this year. Last year he had a great year in the minors and came up. This year he's got a chance to play. It's been good to see his development and see the type of player he can be. There have been a lot of good signs from him, not only this season but for the future and seasons ahead. He looks like a big leaguer to me." — Jayson Werth on Michael Taylor

2015 analysis: Michael Taylor wasn't supposed to play a major role for the Nationals in 2015. He wasn't even supposed to reside on the big-league roster the entire season. But long-term injuries to Denard Span and Jayson Werth opened the door, and Taylor took advantage of the opportunity with an impressive (if erratic) rookie campaign.

The good: Taylor excelled in center field, making the extended loss of Span negligible from a defensive standpoint. He showed a real knack for putting together quality at-bats in big spots, hitting .317 with an .897 OPS with runners in scoring position. And he flashed an impressive power-speed combo, one of only nine players in the NL with at least 14 homers and 14 stolen bases.

The bad: True to his reputation, Taylor struck out a lot, 158 times in only 511 plate appearances. He didn't show much patience at the plate, compiling a .282 on-base percentage. And he went through several prolonged slumps, leaving himself close to an automatic out at times.

2016 outlook: This season was all about finding out whether Taylor was ready to be the Nationals' everyday center fielder in 2016. He may not have been perfect, but he sure seemed to answer that question in the affirmative.

Now, Taylor needs to refine the rough edges around his game. The biggest key: Consistency. He can't let himself go through those long slumps. He also needs to learn how to cut down on his swing when the situation calls for it. He's never going to be a high-contact hitter, but he can be better and more selective when needed.

The best way for the Nationals to think of Taylor might be not as Span's replacement in the lineup, but as Ian Desmond's replacement in the lineup. The two are similar types of hitters: Good power, good speed, big swingers. Taylor isn't going to be this team's leadoff hitter next year or beyond, but he could be quite a productive No. 6 hitter for some time.

Quick Links

Its Day 1 of spring training and Bryce Harper is already done taking questions regarding his future

Its Day 1 of spring training and Bryce Harper is already done taking questions regarding his future

So if you have not heard, Bryce Harper is going to be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2018 season.

All off-season talking heads, baseball aficionados, radio hosts, etc. were speculating on where the outfielder’s destination will be next year.

And we are still a year away from it actually happening.

RELATED: VEGAS SETS OVER/UNDERS FOR 2018 MLB SEASON

Reporting to spring training on Monday, Harper did not waste any time telling the media how his press conferences were going to play out this season.

“If guys do [ask], or talk anything about that, I will be walking right out the door.”

Entering his seventh season with the Washington Nationals, the 25-year-old is coming off the second-best season, statistically, of his career. The 2015 NL MVP has hit .285 in his career, with 150 home runs and 421 RBIs. Unquestionably he is the face of the Nationals’ organization, if not, the best player in the team’s history.

If he does end the season without a contract extension, he will join Rafael Palmeiro, Alex Rodriguez, Randy Johnson, and Barry Bonds as the top sought out free agents in MLB history.

One thing is for certain in terms of Harper’s free agency; Harper has given no inclination on where his landing spot will be.  The top three cities are of course his favorite childhood team, the New York Yankees; joining with one of his closest friends with the Chicago Cubs; or just staying with Washington.

Wherever he does land, it does appear that it will be the largest contract given to a free agent ever.

As for now we just wait and direct any of your calls to his agent Scott Boras.

READ ALSO: NATIONALS FULL SPRING TRAINING SCHEDULE

Quick Links

Nationals Spring Training Schedule 2018

usatsi_9977852.jpg
USA Today Sports Images

Nationals Spring Training Schedule 2018

Now that pitchers and catchers have reported, the next step in our long journey to Opening Day is the spring training games themselves. Not every game is televised, so get ready to follow along with your favorite beat writer's Twitter account for all your updates.

Even without getting to watch the games, it'll still be exciting to once again check box scores in the morning to see if Bryce Harper homered again, or if Max Scherzer is perfect through 4 innings (spoiler: both of these will happen).

This year's spring training will be especially interesting, considering how many big-name players will be signing contracts in the next few weeks. The Nats are always willing to make a big splash, and even beyond the available free agents, have been linked to impact players like J.T. Realmuto in trade rumors.

Typically, the excitement of adding a new piece to the roster has to be reignited after a long winter off, but this season, those additions will be happening while camp is already underway.

It's going to be a hectic few weeks as teams prepare for their seasons, so bookmark this page to check on the Nationals spring training schedule over the next few weeks as the team finally takes the field in 2018.

Nationals 2018 Spring Training Schedule

Friday, Feb. 23 - Nationals at Astros, 1:05 pm (MLBN)
Saturday, Feb. 24 - Nationals at Marlins, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Feb. 25 - Braves at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Monday, Feb. 26 - Nationals at Braves, 1:05 pm
Tuesday, Feb. 27 - Marlins at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Wednesday, Feb. 28 - Nationals at Marlins, 1:05 pm
Thursday, Mar. 1 (SS) - Nationals at Braves, 1:05 pm
Friday, Mar. 2 (SS) - Nationals at Mets, 1:10 pm
Saturday, Mar. 3 - Nationals at Astros, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 4 (SS) - Tigers at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 4 (SS) - Nationals at Mets, 1:10 pm
Monday, Mar. 5 - Nationals at Cardinals, 1:05 pm
Tuesday, Mar. 6 (SS) - Astros at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Wednesday, Mar. 7 - Nationals at Cardinals, 1:05 pm
Thursday, Mar. 8 - Mets at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Saturday, Mar. 10 - Nationals at Astros, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 11 - Cardinals at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Monday, Mar. 12 - Nationals at Tigers, 1:05 pm (MLBN)
Tuesday, Mar. 13 (SS) - Mets at Nationals, 7:05 pm (MLBN) (MASN)
Thursday, Mar. 15 - Astros at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Friday, Mar. 16 (SS) - Cardinals at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Saturday, Mar. 17 - Mets at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 18 - Nationals at Cardinals, 1:05 pm
Monday, Mar. 19 - Nationals at Marlins, 1:05 pm
Tuesday, Mar. 20 - Marlins at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Wednesday, Mar. 21 - Astros at Nationals, 1:05 pm (ESPN2) (MASN)
Thursday, Mar. 22 - Nationals at Mets, 6:10 pm
Friday, Mar. 23 (SS) - Astros at Nationals, 6:05 pm (MASN)
Friday, Mar. 23 - Nationals at Marlins, 7:05 pm
Saturday, Mar. 24 - Marlins at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 25 - Cardinals at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MLBN)
Tuesday, Mar. 27 (at Nationals Park) - Twins at Nationals, 4:05 pm