"I think I've been playing pretty well for my first year, just getting started and everything like that; just getting used to everything here," he said.
GCL Batting Coach Paul Elliot also discussed how Taylor has fared thus far. With 69 at-bats in 22 games, Taylor hasn't seen much action on the field, Elliot said, because of the amount of players on the roster, but is still coming along nicely.
"He's been pretty good. Offensively, he's doing okay," Elliot said. "He's batting .300, but we're trying to change his approach a little bit in his bat part of the ball which he's working on and seems to have some success with it.
"Defensively, he still needs a lot of work, especially on his throwing and just the rest of his game. He obviously hasn't played a great deal at any intense level so it's gonna be somewhat of a long process with him."
His approach at the plate which Elliot alluded to deals with some pop in Taylor's swing. Elliot believes Taylor has some power, but with a better approach to the ball, he can be more consistent in showing that power. With a batting average well above .300, Taylor also thinks he can tally extra-base hits, while also keeping his average up.
"I've always thrived on trying to hit doubles; I don't really care so much about home runs as [much as] doubles, because that means you're driving through the ball," Taylor explained. "I'd like to have a high average too because I like to put the ball in play. I try to make a combination of both."
As for putting the ball in play and getting on base, Taylor has a strikeout to walk ratio of 15 to 11, good enough for a .432 on-base percentage. Getting a good pitch to hit and making the defense go to work during his at-bats is something he has always tried to excel at.
"I've always been taught from a young age just to try to keep it as close to one and one as possible because if you're putting the ball in play, you're giving yourself a chance to get on base and help the team score runs," he said. "I try to, at two strikes, have an approach to just put the ball in play pretty hard. I think that's a big part of the game as you move up especially, just swinging at good pitches."
Elliot noted that Taylor's on-base percentage is solid, but he recognized that the right-hander's numbers are coming from a small sample size. For Taylor to be successful in the higher stages of the organization, Elliot said he needs to be show more discipline at the plate.
"It has to be far better than what it is right now because for him to move from this level to the next, and so on and so forth, the pitching's gonna get way better than it is down here — more consistent, more offspeed, behind counts, all that sort of stuff," Elliot said. "It's a learning process with him. He's doing okay with it."
On the defensive side of the ball, Taylor plays the corners of the outfield for the Jays. Taylor played in left and right during high school, but was a centerfielder while in college. For him, it's about getting comfortable again in the corners. Elliot touched on Taylor's defensive strengths and weaknesses.
"He's got a left fielder's arm, but he tracks the ball pretty good, but the arm is the biggest concern we have with him — the accuracy of the arm and the way the arm works," he said. "It doesn't work particularly well at the moment. He knows that but he's never been taught anything. Once again, it's a long process."
Looking ahead, Taylor has plenty of things to work on, and plenty of time to improve his game. The biggest aspect he wants to focus on for now, though, is his arm strength; that, and hitting.
"I just want to get my arm stronger, just keep building the arm strength and more accuracy in that so I can become a better defensive player," he said. "And just keep working on my hitting of course because that's always gonna change, [so] I just wanna stay on both of those pretty hard."
In his first year as a professional baseball player, outfielder Nico Taylor is batting .333 with a home run and eight RBIs for the Gulf Coast League Blue Jays. Taylor, who is 21 years old and played college ball at Northwood University, assessed how his season has been.
Taylor Beginning The Process
Nico Taylor, considered a raw prospect, is just beginning the process of honing his game.
Dunedin Beat Writer
Taylor has a .450 OBP in last 10 games
Aug 11, 2011