When Tyrone Taylor arrived in February at the Milwaukee Brewers’ spring training facility in Phoenix, he felt great about his swing.
The Biloxi Shuckers outfielder took a different approach in the offseason with the aim of improving on his .232 batting average from a year ago.
“I went and hit with a hitting coach,” Taylor said. “I got some work in and pretty much broke down my whole swing.”
Before Taylor could show the end product of all his hard work, injuries got in the way.
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First, Taylor was sidelined by an oblique injury on March 6.
Less than three weeks later, Taylor injured his hamstring and was expected to miss 4-6 weeks. The absence dragged out to about three months and included some time in extended spring training.
Taylor finally saw his first regular season action with a recent seven-game stint with the Arizona League Brewers.
If his Rookie League rehab stint is any indication, the offseason work should pay off for the 23-year-old. He was 10-for-23 with four homers, seven RBIs, six runs scored and two stolen bases.
“I think I just have a better swing path in general,” Taylor said. “I understand my swing.
“I feel like my bat is in the zone longer.”
Taylor was added to the roster at Double-A Biloxi on Sunday and was hitless through five at-bats entering Tuesday night’s contest in Jacksonville, Florida.
During a phone interview Tuesday, Taylor declared himself fully healthy and ready to have a rebound season at Biloxi.
“I had a little setback, but I was able to rebound,” he said. “I feel good.”
Following his return from the disabled list, Taylor said he saw the results at the plate that he was hoping for.
“I just noticed that I understood what I was doing at the plate,” he said. “When I was making mistakes, I could correct them sooner. I had a better feel for what I was doing.”
The Brewers selected Taylor in the second round of the 2012 MLB Draft out of Torrance, Calif.
He was ranked the Brewers’ top prospect by Baseball America in 2015 and played his first full season at the Double-A level that year, becoming a member of the inaugural Shuckers roster.
He hit .260 with three homers and 43 RBIs in 128 games in 2015. While he hit for more power with nine homers in 2016, his batting average dipped 28 points.
The path to the big leagues seems to be getting tougher by the year for Taylor with the Brewers adding several top outfield prospects through trades over the last couple of seasons. Brett Phillips, Lewis Brinson and Ryan Cordell are among the players acquired by Milwaukee, creating crowded outfields in both Biloxi and at Triple-A Colorado Springs.
“I’m just going to come to the field and work hard every day,” Taylor said. “It’s good to have these great outfielders in the organization. It makes it more competitive and everybody has to work hard.”