The team at MCB is covering the draft all month long. Be sure to check back every day for new content related to the 2021 MLB draft and the Detroit Tigers.
Today, our series profiling the potential draft picks for the Detroit Tigers looks at Will Taylor, centerfielder, from Dutch Fork High School in South Carolina.
Will Taylor’s Background
Will Taylor is a fantastic athlete. In addition to being a candidate for the first round as a baseball player. He is also a Division 1 prospect as a football player. In fact, he is committed to Clemson (yeah, they are pretty good at football) to play both sports (he’s a wide receiver on the gridiron). Oh yeah, and just to put things over the top he is also an outstanding wrestler who has won state championships.
As a baseball player specifically though, Taylor has seen his profile rise quite a bit this spring. Seen as a bit of a raw athlete earlier in the draft cycle, he has demonstrated a much more well-rounded game than scouts previously thought. The rise in his profile has seen him enter the first-round discussion.
Will Taylor’s Scouting Report
Will Taylor’s profile starts with his borderline elite speed. Clearly, a guy with the ability to play receiver for Clemson has some serious wheels. The speed plays both on the bases and in the outfield. As a centerfielder, Taylor has the potential to play above-average to plus defense given his speed and apparent natural instincts for the position. His arm is average but that shouldn’t stop him from playing center long term.
Offensively, is where Taylor has seen his profile rise this spring. He has shown more power potential than scouts previously thought. The combination of his natural strength and bat speed could develop into average power down the line. His easy right-handed stroke could allow him the potential to make enough contact to use his power in games. Combine all those factors together and it’s not difficult to see why scouts have been gushing more and more about Taylor as the calendar moves towards July and the draft approaches.
MLB Pipeline discussed Taylor’s offensive ability.
“Taylor is more advanced than the typical multisport athlete who hasn’t devoted himself to baseball full-time and could get significantly better once he does. He has a loose right-handed swing and made consistent contact on the showcase circuit this summer, displaying the ability to make in-game adjustments against quality competition. The biggest question is how much impact he’ll have at the plate, though he does have some wiry strength and should develop into at least a 15-homer threat with more pop possible if he adds some loft to his stroke.”
Will the Detroit Tigers draft Will Taylor?
This is certainly the interesting part of the Will Taylor discussion. The short answer is no. Taylor is likely not a candidate to be selected with the Tigers first pick (3rd overall) and given his rise up most draft rankings he seems likely to be valued as a mid to late first-rounder on draft day. The natural question then becomes, why is he being covered by MCB? The answer has everything to do with the nuance of the baseball draft.
High school players always have extra leverage considering the additional option they have of heading to college. When that high school player also happens to be a high-level recruit in another sport the leverage is amplified. This leverage means Taylor could decide it will take a bonus well north of mid to late first-round money to sign him and have him forego his college opportunity. If no teams are willing to meet his asking price he could start to slide and even slide all the way to the Tigers’ second pick (32nd overall). The Tigers, who have the drafts’ second-largest bonus pool ($14,253,800), could flex their financial muscle and get a deal done where another team just couldn’t from a financial perspective (especially if they saved some money with their first pick).
Taylor does probably represent a bit of a long shot given just how much his profile has increased during the past month. However, he is exactly the type of player the Tigers will likely be looking to add with their early picks. When you start to look at the players who have the most potential to price themselves out of the first round, Will Taylor is an obvious candidate and that is what makes him worthy of being discussed by Tigers fans.