Michael Taylor, a 2007 5th round pick of the Phillies out of Stanford, burst onto the scene in 2008 after hitting .345 between Lakewood and Clearwater. After not being ranked in the Baseball America top 30 heading into the 2008 season, Taylor’s huge 2008 boosted him up to 6th in the 2009 list released last week. Taylor took a few minutes recently to chat with BlueClaws Blog.
Question: What did you learn in Williamsport, in 2007? Was it a tougher adjustment than you expected?
Michael Taylor: It was an adjustment. It depends on each individual person, where you are. But for me, it was an obvious adjustment period. I’ve always been making strides to find where I am most comfortable. A part of Williamsport was that I just wasn’t that healthy. I had some back stuff that was inhibiting me. Not to say that was everything, part of it was full time wood bats. I dialed through it and wanted to get that first summer under my belt to have something to take into the offseason, and it worked out. I learned a lot about myself and professional baseball and what I needed to do to be successful.
Q: What did you focus on that offseason (2007-2008)?
MT: Getting healthy. As far as skills wise, you have to shorten your swing. You can get away with more with a metal bat. There’s a bigger sweet spot, you have to hone your swing and make it a simple, repeatable process. You play every day so the more you can repeat, the quicker you can get out of bad habits and be consistent every day.
Q: Did you feel you were ready for a big breakthrough heading into the year?
MT: I felt I was ready to be consistent. To say that I thought the numbers would be what they ended up being was over the top. But I thougth I had a chance to be very successful. Some was internal confidence. You can’t play at high levels if you don’t think you’re going to do well. Having the chance to execute daily was huge. I thought I had a real good chance to show my skills. The window is small for college guys, so I needed to put up a strong performance and announce I haev a future in this game.
Q: Did you expect to carry over the high level of hitting down to Clearwater?
MT: Honestly, yes. If you don’t think you’re going to do well, you should get out of the game. It’s “What have you done for me lately?” Razor Shines (Clearwater’s manager last year) told me “You get paid for what you did yesterday.” It’s the next level, but I thought I had a chance to be successful because of my approach and the consistency I developed. Even when i was down there and struggling, I wasn’t questioning myself. I knew the struggles would come, I just didn’t happen in Lakewood. The competition was about the same, a little better, but it wasn’t a whole new world. I knew eventually it would come back and when it did I got hot for a few months.