Dodgers’ Chris Taylor engaged on his swing after dismal 2022

There’s a note-taking app on Chris Taylor’s cellphone that the Dodgers outfielder opens on a regular basis, a easy but helpful system he way back developed to trace his ever-evolving swing.

Within it, the Tenth-year veteran has saved a catalog of hitting ideas, from psychological cues and mechanical feels, to teaching recommendation and private observations.

Many of them return years, originating from the career-altering swing modifications Taylor made throughout his emergence with the Dodgers in 2017.

Ever since, he hasn’t been afraid to edit the listing, routinely jotting new ideas and crossing out outdated ones — particularly throughout instances like these, as he units out to rectify his dismal 2022 efficiency this spring.

“Last season, I felt like I created some bad habits,” Taylor mentioned. “So I’m kind of just trying to create a more efficient swing.”

It’s a process that may very well be key for Taylor and the Dodgers, with the membership’s new-look roster desperately needing the 32-year-old to rebound from his injury-plagued and strikeout-prone struggles from final season.

After incomes his first All-Star choice in 2021 and signing a four-year, $60-million cope with the Dodgers the next winter, Taylor’s efficiency plummeted final season. He batted simply .221 with 10 house runs. He additionally struck out 160 instances in 118 video games, a 35.2% strikeout charge that trailed solely Joey Gallo amongst MLB hitters with 400 plate appearances.

An offseason elbow surgical procedure and a late-season neck damage contributed to Taylor’s struggles, however his swing appeared damaged all through the marketing campaign. Not since his 2017 overhaul on the plate had the tremendous utility participant regarded extra overmatched and out of sync.

“Once you step in the box, it’s really difficult when you’re trying to think about your mechanics,“ Taylor said. “And last year was just a constant battle of trying to find it and also perform.”

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Not even referencing outdated notes might save Taylor — revealing a tough fact about many gamers much like him who endure main mid-career swing modifications.

“The change works for a while,” Dodgers particular assistant Chris Woodward mentioned. “And then they hit a little bit of a plateau. Like, ‘I can’t feel the same way that I felt before.’ ”

Woodward would know, particularly in relation to Taylor.

“Last season, I felt like I created some bad habits. So I’m kind of just trying to create a more efficient swing.”

— Dodgers outfielder Chris Taylor

When the fifth-round draft choose broke into the majors with the Seattle Mariners in 2014, Woodward was a part of the membership’s teaching workers.

When Taylor was traded to the Dodgers in 2016, after three underwhelming seasons that left his future doubtful, Woodward was the Dodgers’ third base coach.

Woodward was as impressed as anybody by Taylor’s modifications in 2017, when he remodeled his pure slap-hitting movement by including an even bigger leg kick, bettering his pre-swing hand positioning, and exploding by the ball with astounding frequency.

“It was way different,” mentioned Woodward, who left the Dodgers in 2019 to handle the Texas Rangers earlier than returning this offseason in an element front-office, half on-field-instruction position. “He needed to make some adjustments. There were some things he needed to add.”

Taylor grew to become an integral piece of Dodgers groups that gained three National League pennants and one World Series from 2017 to 2021. In every of these seasons, he had an on-base-plus-slugging share of a minimum of .775 whereas enjoying a number of positions, offering the membership with much-needed defensive versatility. He even reached the 20-home run mark twice, one thing that appeared unthinkable after he hit one in his first three large league seasons.

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But in the identical means a renovated home requires fixed repairs, or a fixed-up sports activities automobile wants common fine-tuning, Taylor needed to persistently tinker together with his swing — making an attempt to take care of the identical intricate movement amid inevitable modifications to his physique and his mechanics.

And final 12 months, that “high maintenance” method, as supervisor Dave Roberts has termed it, lastly caught up with him.

“I’ve seen so many hitters go through that,” Woodward mentioned. “When you make a swing change, it usually feels pretty good when you first do it. And then once it becomes normal, your body adapts and your brain adapts. You get a little numb to what it feels like.”

Enter Taylor’s note-taking routine, which has given him a brand new perspective on his swing work this spring.

“Some of the thoughts that might have worked for me in the past eventually became too much, where I went too far in the other direction,” Taylor mentioned, sounding much like a golfer who removed a slice however now hooks too many drives. “Sometimes it takes a while to figure out what those adjustments are. I have to find new ways of getting to the positions I want.”

The clock is ticking for him to take action.

Chris Taylor, engaged on infield drills throughout spring coaching, might play extra at shortstop due to the damage to Gavin Lux.

(Ross D. Franklin / Associated Press)

Coming into camp, Taylor appeared set for a probable outfield platoon position whereas he was working by his newest modifications. After Gavin Lux’s season-ending knee damage, nevertheless, Taylor might need to be extra of an on a regular basis participant, in line to be the back-up shortstop along with the first heart fielder.

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Woodward mentioned he’s been inspired by Taylor’s progress to date, regardless of his three-for-16 efficiency in Cactus League video games.

“The swing is on time, there’s consistency with [the mechanics],” Woodward mentioned. “It’s just a matter of time before he starts hammering balls.”

Roberts additionally stays optimistic about Taylor rebounding this season, although he famous he was nonetheless “hesitant” to make any defining assessments this early in spring.

“There’s a recalibration of the body,” Roberts mentioned. “I know our guys are doing the best they can to kind of get him dialed in and keep it. But there are a lot of moving parts.”

Taylor, who went to Driveline over the winter to assist expedite his changes, supplied the same self-evaluation. Though he’s felt higher within the batting cage in latest days, he acknowledged there are nonetheless numerous variables — from his method at hand place — that have to be addressed.

“No, it’s not fun for me at all,” he mentioned with a lighthearted snicker when requested if he loved the problem of his course of. “I would love to just have the same thoughts every day.”

As he mentioned every nuance and nuisance, standing at his locker within the Dodgers’ Camelback Ranch clubhouse this week, Taylor regarded over his shoulder and nodded enviously on the stall belonging to teammate Freddie Freeman.

“I’m jealous of guys like Freddie, who’s had the same swing his whole career,” Taylor mentioned. “Guys like that, they’re gifted. Not to say he doesn’t work his ass off. But they were gifted to hit and have a great swing.”

For Taylor, hitting within the majors has by no means come that merely.

He has the crossed-out cellphone notes to show it.