Cavalier Corner

October 2017

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OCTOBER 2017 31 cavalier profile CHRIS TAYLOR Alum • Baseball On June 13, 2011, Chris Taylor wrote his name in the book of Cavalier baseball lore. Down 2-1 with two outs and the bases-loaded on a 0-1 count, Taylor slapped a hard, two-RBI single through the middle of the Davenport Field infield and the Cavaliers left Charlottesville with 3-2 walk-off win over UC Irvine, claiming the Charlottesville Super Regional and earning a second trip to the College World Series. Selected by the Seattle Mariners in the fifth round of the 2012 MLB Draft, Taylor struggled to find a home consistently with the big league club following his 2014 debut, and in 2016 he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers. This year, the former Cavalier is hitting at the top of the order and playing all over but mostly in the outfield. Among all Dodg- ers with at least 20 at-bats as of Sept. 17, he ranked third with a .496 slugging percentage, fifth with a .290 batting average and sixth with a .356 on-base percentage. Taylor also led the squad with 33 doubles, four triples and a major league-leading three grand slams. "I definitely came into the year confident that I was going to perform," Taylor said. "The right opportunity presented itself and that contributed. I don't think I would be in the situation I'm in if certain guys hadn't got hurt and spots opened up." Taylor said the road to his current success began at Virginia with head coach Brian O'Connor and assistant Kevin McMullen. "I think the biggest thing I learned from the college game, from Coach Mac and Coach O was the mental part of the game," Tay- lor said. "My baseball knowledge, my approach at the plate and how to prepare." After starting the season in Triple-A Oklahoma City, injuries to multiple players necessitated roster moves and Taylor was called up. Regarded as an excellent defensive player, his versatility in the field allowed Dodger skipper Dave Roberts to position the career infielder in the outfield, where Los Angeles was riddled with injuries. He's committed just 11 errors in 129 games despite playing five different positions (second base, third base, short- stop, left field and center field) and most of the action coming in the unfamiliar outfield. "Especially on this team, it seems like we've had a lot of guys get hurt this year and I've kind of filled in wherever there was an opening," Taylor admitted. "I think my bat is what's kept me in the lineup, though." The Dodgers' boasted a MLB-best 96-54 record through Sept. 17, which will provide Taylor with an opportunity to repeat his Cava- lier postseason heroics on an even bigger stage in October. — Greg Waters Photo courtesy Los Angeles Dodgers

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