FSL notes: Taylor torching two-baggers

Brewers No. 2 prospect flashing five-tool potential with Manatees

Tyrone Taylor leads the league with 27 doubles and is batting .260 with a .317 OBP. (Mark LoMoglio/MiLB.com)

By Guy Curtright / Special to MiLB.com | June 25, 2014 10:00 AM ET

The now long-running joke -- if you can really call it that -- began when Brevard County center fielder Tyrone Taylor recorded seven doubles in his first six games.

Joe Ayrault asked Milwaukee's No. 2 prospect if he was Irish, at first drawing a puzzled look from the 20-year-old.

"Yeah, man," the Manatees manager quipped. "You know, you keep doublin' all the time."

Double. Dublin. Dublin, Ireland. Get it? Taylor finally did.

"He still asks me if I'm Irish when I get to second base, and now I just shake my head yes," Taylor said.

"It's kind of our inside joke," Ayrault said.

The manager certainly has had plenty of opportunities to keep repeating it.

Taylor was tied for the Minor League lead with 27 two-baggers through his first 70 games and was already closing in on the 33 he accumulated in his first full season last year while in the Class A Midwest League.

The former high school football standout had a pair of two-baggers in Brevard County's opener, then three in the fourth game. He really hasn't slowed down much since.

A few have been hustle doubles, the speedy Taylor running hard out of the box. "I always think extra bases," he said.

Most, though, haven't required an extra burst of speed.

"I've been lucky down the left-field line," the right-handed hitter said. "And, honestly, I try to go up the middle. But I think I've been able to keep them fair because I always try to stay inside the ball."

The second-round pick in the 2012 Draft is considered a potential five-tool player, and he has shown flashes in all the categories, including becoming the first Brevard County player to ever hit for the cycle.

"He definitely has the range and arm for center field," his manager said. "You want a young player to be a hitter first and then let the power come when he fills out and matures. He has a real chance to be the total package."

Taylor's batting average was a modest .260, despite going 5-for-5 in his late-April cycle and having a recent four-hit game that included four RBIs. But he was the third-toughest batter in the Florida State League to strike out and had an on-base percentage of .317 to go with 45 runs scored and 37 RBIs.

"I know I've had good games and bad, but I'm trying to stay consistent at the plate and keep the same approach every time," he said.

Although Taylor was a standout running back and safety at Torrance High School near Los Angeles, baseball was always his true sport. His mother instilled in him the love of the diamond at an early age.

"She was a softball player, and there are pictures of me wearing a batting helmet when I was really young," he said. "I think I was the bat boy."

Taylor, though, definitely feels that his football background has been a help.

"It toughened me up physically and mentally, and that helps with the grind of a long baseball season," he said.

Taylor, who received a bonus of $750,000 to pass up a baseball scholarship to Cal State Fullerton, had stolen just seven bases despite his speed. "I know that's one area I need to improve on," he said.

You can't steal second, though, when you have already hit your way there.

"Reggie Williams, our first base coach, laughs that he doesn't get to spend much time with Tyrone," Ayrault said. "He always runs right by him."

In brief

Starting over: Dunedin, which had the best record in the FSL at 46-23 while winning the North Division's first-half title, lost three of its top players to Double-A. Promoted to New Hampshire were Toronto's No. 4 prospect, left-hander Daniel Norris, as well as catcher Derrick Chung and first baseman K.C. Hobson. Norris, No. 98 among MLB.com's Top 100 Prospects, was 6-0 and led the league with a 1.22 ERA. Hobson, the son of former Major Leaguer Butch Hobson, had a league-best 57 RBIs, and Chung was batting .320.

Holes to fill: St. Lucie lost the FSL's most productive top of the order when second baseman Dilson Herrera and center fielder Brandon Nimmo were promoted to Double-A Binghamton by the New York Mets. Nimmo led the league with 59 runs scored in the first half, while Herrera was second with 48. Nimmo, No. 99 among the Top 100 Prospects, was hitting .322 and Herrera was at .307. They are the Mets' No. 4 and No. 9 prospects, respectively. St. Lucie finished a game behind Fort Myers in the South Division during the first half.

Noted additions: Clearwater, whose 17-51 record was the worst in the FSL during the first half, picked up Philadelphia's No. 3 prospect when shortstop J.P. Crawford was promoted from Class A. The No. 16 overall pick in the 2013 Draft hit .295 with a .398 on-base percentage and 14 stolen bases in 60 games for Lakewood and is ranked No. 87 among MLB.com's Top 100 Prospects. Crawford, though, is just 19 and struck out 10 times in his first 21 at-bats while hitting .190. Clearwater also added Aaron Nola, the No. 7 overall pick out of LSU, but the right-hander was tagged for five runs in 2 1/3 innings while losing his pro debut on June 23.

Guy Curtright is a contributor to MiLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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