Chris Taylor’s telephone is perhaps the important thing to unlocking the key to his previous success

There’s a notes app on Chris Taylor’s telephone that the Dodgers’ outfielder opens on a regular basis, a easy however helpful system he developed way back to maintain observe of his ever-evolving swing.

In it, the Tenth-year veteran has maintained a catalog of batting ideas, from psychological cues and mechanical sense to teaching recommendation and private observations.

Lots of them return years, stemming from the career-changing swing adjustments Taylor made throughout his rise with the Dodgers in 2017.

Since then, he’s been unafraid to edit the checklist, routinely jotting down new ideas and scrapping previous ones – particularly at occasions like these, as he seems to rectify his dismal 2022 efficiency this spring.

“Final season I felt like I had created some unhealthy habits,” stated Taylor. “So I’m simply attempting to create a extra environment friendly swing.”

It’s a process that could possibly be important for Taylor and the Dodgers, because the membership’s new roster desperately wants the 32-year-old to get well from his injury-plagued and strikeout-prone struggles final season.

After making 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 hit simply .221 with 10 dwelling runs. He additionally struckout 160 batters in 118 video games, a 35.2% strikeout proportion that trailed solely Joey Gallo amongst MLB batters with 400 at bats.

Low season elbow surgical procedure and a late-season neck damage added to Taylor’s struggles, however his swing appeared damaged all through the season. Since his 2017 overhaul on the plate, the superutility participant had seemed unmatched and out of sync.

“When you get into the field, it’s actually onerous whenever you attempt to consider your mechanics,” Taylor stated. “And final 12 months was only a fixed battle to seek out it and in addition carry out.”

Not even referencing previous notes might save Taylor – revealing a tough reality about many gamers who appear to be him and undergo main mid-career swing adjustments.

“The change works for some time,” Dodgers particular assistant Chris Woodward stated. “After which they sort of hit a plateau. Like, “I can’t really feel the way in which I felt earlier than.” ”

Woodward would know, particularly in relation to Taylor.

“Final season I felt like I had created some unhealthy habits. So I’m simply attempting to create a extra environment friendly 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 disappointing seasons wherein his future was unsure, Woodward was the Dodgers’ third base coach.

Woodward was as impressed as anybody with Taylor’s adjustments in 2017, as he remodeled his pure hitting movement by including a much bigger leg kick, bettering his pre-swing hand place and exploding via the ball with superb frequency.

“It was very completely different,” stated Woodward, who left the Dodgers in 2019 to handle the Texas Rangers earlier than returning this offseason to a component entrance workplace, half on-field educational function. “He needed to make some changes. There have been some issues he had so as to add.

Taylor grew to become an integral a part of the Dodgers groups that received three Nationwide League pennants and one World Collection from 2017 to 2021. In every of these seasons, he had an on-base-plus-slugging proportion of at the least .775 whereas on performed a number of positions. offering the membership with a lot wanted defensive versatility. He even reached 20 homeruns twice, one thing that appeared unthinkable after he hit one in his first three huge league-seasons.

However simply as a renovated home wants fixed upkeep, or a refurbished sports activities automobile wants common tweaks, Taylor needed to persistently tinker together with his swing – attempting to take care of the identical intricate movement amid inevitable adjustments to his physique and its mechanics. .

And final 12 months, that “excessive upkeep” method, as supervisor Dave Roberts referred to as it, lastly caught up with him.

“I’ve seen so many hitters undergo that,” Woodward stated. “Whenever you change swings, it normally feels fairly good whenever you first do it. And as soon as it will get regular, your physique adjusts and your mind adjusts. You get somewhat numb to what it appears like.”

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

“Among the ideas which will have labored for me prior to now ended up being an excessive amount of, the place I went too far the opposite approach,” Taylor stated, sounding like a golfer who threw away a slice however now hooks up too many drives. . “Typically it takes some time to seek out out what these changes are. I’ve to seek out new methods to get into the positions I need.”

The clock is ticking for him to do that.

Chris Taylor, who labored on infield drills throughout spring coaching, might play extra at shortstop resulting from Gavin Lux’s damage.

(Ross D. Franklin / Related Press)

Getting into camp, Taylor seemed poised for a probable outfield platoon function as he labored via his remaining adjustments. Nevertheless, after Gavin Lux’s season-ending knee damage, Taylor ought to maybe be extra of an on a regular basis participant, lining as much as be the backup shortstop alongside the first midfielder.

Woodward stated he’s 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),” stated Woodward. “It’s solely a matter of time earlier than he begins hammering balls.”

Roberts additionally stays optimistic about Taylor’s restoration this season, although he famous he was nonetheless “hesitant” about making defining assessments this early within the spring.

“A recalibration of the physique is going down,” Roberts stated. “I do know our guys are doing their greatest to dial him in and maintain him. However there are lots of transferring elements.”

Taylor, who went to Driveline over the winter to hurry up his changes, supplied an analogous self-assessment. Whereas he’s been feeling higher within the batting cage in current days, he acknowledged there are nonetheless many variables — from his method at hand place — that must be addressed.

“No, it’s not enjoyable for me in any respect,” he stated with a lighthearted snigger when requested if he favored the problem of his trial. “I want to have the identical ideas every single day.”

As he mentioned each nuance and nuisance, Taylor stood by his locker within the Dodgers’ Camelback Ranch clubhouse this week, Taylor seemed over his shoulder and nodded enviously at teammate Freddie Freeman’s sales space.

“I’m jealous of fellows like Freddie, who’s had the identical swing all his profession,” Taylor stated. “Boys like that, they’re gifted. Doesn’t imply he doesn’t work his butt off. However they had been gifted to hit and have an ideal swing.”

For Taylor, hitting the majors has by no means come simpler.

He’s bought the crossed-out mobile phone notes to show it.