Jamie Gatlin | April 19th, 2020
For the Boston Red Sox, the 2019 season was one to forget. After winning it all in 2018, the Red Sox finished third in the AL East and missed the playoffs for the first time in three years. The defending champs were besieged by injuries and a bullpen that struggled for the majority of the season. Although the Red Sox pitching struggled, some young players such as Josh Taylor stepped up. While the start of the 2020 season has been delayed, they’re optimistic that the season will be played. Taylor will be an important piece for Boston.
Josh Taylor’s Journey
The Red Sox acquired Taylor in 2018 from Arizona as the player to named in exchange for Devin Marrero. Taylor originally began his career in Philadelphia before he was dealt to the Diamondbacks for international draft money. After struggling as a starter, he was moved to the bullpen and posted a 2.81 ERA in his first full season as a reliever.
Taylor began the 2019 season in Pawtucket and was seen as a depth piece. As the Red Sox bullpen struggled, however, the Arizona native was called upon and took advantage of his opportunity. In fifty games, Taylor went 2-2 with an ERA of 3.04. The Arizona native also showed good control as he only allowed five home runs and walked 16 batters.
What He Brings
Although Taylor does not throw triple digits, he was still able to strike out 62 batters in 47.1 innings of work last year. He was also able to get batters to chase pitches out of the zone and finished the year just outside the top ten in overall swinging strike rate. Taylor also showed last year that he could make adjustments after struggling in his first couple of outings.
After the All-Star break, Taylor dominated as he recorded a 2.40 ERA in 30 innings of work. He held batters to 0.181 average and was excellent at reducing hard contact. A large part of his success was due to his slider, which batters missed 47% of the time. It was also rated the 24th best slider In baseball.
While Taylor was one of the Red Sox best pitchers, he will be counted on even more in 2020. The Sox did not make any additions to the bullpen in the offseason and will be counting on Taylor and fellow lefthander Darwinzon Hernandez to build off of last season.
Although spring training was cut short, Taylor was off to an impressive start as in five innings of work he had an ERA of 1.80 and seven strikeouts. When and if the season does resume, the Red Sox are hoping he can carry that into the regular season.
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