Join Jays From the Couch as we highlight the 2019 season Dunedin’s Samad Taylor and the GCL Blue Jays Jhon Solarte
2B Samad Taylor
Originally, a 10th round selection of the Cleveland Indians, Samad Taylor came to the Blue Jays, along with LHP Thomas Pannone, for RP Joe Smith in 2017. The 2018 season marked his 1st full season in the Blue Jays organization and his first taste of Full-Season baseball. He had an up and down season with the Lansing Lugnuts but finished the season on a high note, batting .260 with 10 doubles, a triple, 2 home runs, 15/20 BB/K, and 9SB with a .357OBP and .805OPS. Unfortunately, his production was only slightly better than league average with a .326wOBA and 102wRC+ in 121 games.
In 2019, the 5-foot-10 native of Corona, CA., missed about two weeks in June with an injury. At the time of his trip to the IL Taylor was batting .168 with a .291OBP and .256SLG. After his return, Taylor batted .265 with .373OBP and .408SLG in 16 games in June and .286 with .895OPS in 23 games in July. His batting average would peak on July 25th at .226 as Samad experienced a down month in August, batting .207 with .693OPS in 28GP.
Samad Taylor spent the entire season batting at or near the bottom of the batting order, batting 9th 43 times and 8th 38 times. His spot in the lineup was an indication of poor productivity at the plate. Taylor finished with a .323wOBA and 107 wRC+ in 108 games. Very similar to his 2018 totals. He finished with 39 singles, 20 doubles, 3 triples, and 7HR for a .147ISO. He scored 48 runs and drove in 38RBI. Samad struggled to barrel up Florida State League pitchers as he saw his LD% drop for 20.5% to 14.4%. His 45.4FB% was very close to his ’18 mark of 43.5FB%. His GB% increased from 36.0 in 2018 to 40.3% in 2019.
Taylor did a better job of using the entire field with a 44.3 pull %, 24.9 cent%, and 30.8Oppo%. As for plate discipline, Samad increased his BB% from 10.8 to 12.8% but his K% increased way too much from 18.7 to 27.9K%.
Home (not really): .237BA with 7 2B, 2 3B, 4HR, 22RBI, and a .725OPS
Away: .198 BA with 13 2B, 1 3B, 3HR, 16RBI, and .656OPS
Most Productive Game
On July 1st, Samad Taylor went 2-for-4 with a pair of long flyballs which found their way over the fence and three RBI. He had one other 3RBI game and two 3-hit games but no other 8 total bases games.
There is room to grow.
Samad Taylor has the skillset to be a game-changer; however, he is still raw. It is possible the batting average will never play and he runs the risk of being passed over by other infielders in the system (Otto Lopez and Rafael Lantigua). With Kevin Smith, Logan Warmoth, and Vinny Capra running the risk of repeating AA in 2020, it would benefit Samad’s development if he returned to Dunedin to start the season.
OF Jhon Solarte
Solarte signed as an International Free Agent on July 2nd, 2017. He played his first professional game on June 2nd as a member of the Dominican Summer League Blue Jays. In 68 games, Solarte batted .295 with 14 doubles, 4 triples, and 27SB while posting a .769OPS. This earned the young man a trip to the GCL in 2019.
Despite seeing his double total drop, Solarte is starting to develop some pop in his bat. The 6-foot-0 outfielder smacked his first career home run on July 4th. His ISO only increased from .081 to .099 in 2019 but he finished with a nice .363wOBA and .118wRC+. He hit 3HR with 4 doubles, 2 triples, and 11-for-20 in SB while batting mostly cleanup for the GCL Blue Jays.
Jhon Solarte’s BB% and K% didn’t change much going from 11.6 to 12.7 BB% and 17.0 to 20.1K%. He batted .253 with .672OPS in 22GP in July and .275 with .747OPS in 21GP in August.
Solarte spent most of his time in CF (32GP) but saw some time in the corner OF positions (19GP in LF and 4GP in RF). He didn’t commit any errors and picked up 3 outfield assists.
Home: .294BA with 2 2B, 1 3B, 2HR, 17RBI, and .762OPS
Away: .256 BA with 2 2B, 1 3B, 2HR, 11RBI, and .730OPS
Most Productive Game
On July 4th, Jhon Solarte collected 4 total bases with a solo home run including a pair of walks, 3 runs scored, 1RBI, a strikeout, and 2SB. Solarte had four 4TB games, including this one. He drove in 3RBI twice and two 3-hit games but this one stood out the most as it displayed all his tools.
The 18-yr-old should move up a level to play with the Bluefield Blue Jays in 2020. Solarte. I would be very surprised to see him bypass the Appy League for the Vancouver or Lansing but you never know.
*Featured Image Credit: Flickr
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Lover of all things Toronto Blue Jays. Blue Jays MiLB fanatic. I strive for average while stumbling onto above average. Rogers isn’t cheap. Baseball is a business. Your right, but I’m more right.