WASHINGTON -- The Nationals promoted No. 3 prospect Michael Taylor to Triple-A Syracuse on Monday. The outfielder hit .313 with a .935 OPS, 22 home runs, 61 RBIs and 34 stolen bases in 98 games for Double-A Harrisburg this season.
"He's found his power stroke," manager Matt Williams said. "He is as good as I've seen in the outfield that can cover extreme ground out there. Makes it look real easy in center field. ... He's a young hitter still. But he's made those adjustments and he continues to make them. And now, he'll have another test. But that's part of the progression that he's got to go through."
In his debut for the Chiefs, Taylor went 2-for-2 with a go-ahead RBI double, two walks, a run and a stolen base as Syracuse defeated Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, 7-6.
Despite Taylor's tremendous instincts in the outfield, center field is relatively new to him. After all, the Nationals drafted Taylor as a shortstop in the sixth round of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft.
"He is a guy we took a little slower with because he was drafted as a shortstop out of high school and then made the transition to the outfield," general manager Mike Rizzo said. "His development has finally caught up with his natural physical skill and tools."
Williams said the key for Taylor's outburst at the plate this season has been pitch recognition -- something the first-year skipper believes is crucial for any young hitter.
"He's just put it together," Williams said. "If he doesn't swing at the bad slider or he doesn't swing at the high fastball, he'll get better pitches to hit and he'll produce. ... He's recognizing better and he's doing a really good job with that, concentrating on that as part of his game. And he's making those steps that he needs to make quickly, which is good."
Daniel Popper is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less