Oakland figures to go “young” this season, with many young players getting an opportunity to showcase their skills in 2012. One of those players could be outfielder Michael Taylor, who was acquired by Oakland during that massive Cliff Lee-Roy Halladay trade a few years ago.
Taylor, who hasn’t exactly been the player Oakland envisioned when they acquired him, could get a shot in a depleted Oakland outfield. The A’s have already lost starter David DeJesus to free agency, and the team is bracing for the potential losses of Josh Willingham and Coco Crisp.
The A’s acquired prospect Colin Cowgill in the Trevor Cahill trade on Friday, but even with Cowgill, the A’s could still benefit from having a few more choices in the outfield next year.
Many people around baseball consider Cowgill, who hit an impressive .354/.430/.554 with 13 HR and 70 RBIs with Arizona’s Triple-A club, as an extra outfielder, not an everyday starter.
At this point, though, the A’s will likely give everyone a shot at starting next year. Taylor, in my mind, remains the most interesting option for Oakland, though. He’s long been considered as one of the organization’s top-prospects, but he hasn’t exactly wowed anyone in his short time with the A’s.
He appeared in 11 games with the A’s at the end of the season, but hit just .200/.314/.300 with one home run and one RBI. Small sample size, but no one was impressed with Taylor’s short September stint in Oakland. The team is hoping, however, that with more plate appearances Taylor will develop into the player they viewed him as when trading for him.
He’s had mixed results in Oakland’s minor league system. He hit .272/.360/.456 with 16 HR and 64 RBIs this year after hitting .272/.348/.392 the year before with Oakland’s Triple-A affiliate.
He’s been regarded as a decent source of power, but we’ll see whether or not that power carries over to the big league level. He’s not going to post 30 homers a season, but something in the 20-25 range should be considered a reasonable target for Taylor.
The power-hungry A’s would like nothing more than to have Taylor transition into a successful role in outfield. If he turns out to be an intimidating power hitter in the lineup, well, that’d be a bonus for the A’s. Anyway, the A’s figure to give Taylor, as well as a few other qualifying candidates, a long look at in the outfield this spring.