Talented Taylor also awaiting chance

Contributing writerApril 27, 2014 

Chris Taylor is among a bevy of talented middle infielders the Mariners have in the minor leagues. He is batting .382 with 13 RBIs and a pair of home runs for the Tacoma Rainiers.

DREW PERINE/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

Most Seattle Mariners fans know that a glut of middle-infield prospects is one of the things keeping Nick Franklin in the minor leagues. But he’s not the only one.

Tacoma Rainiers shortstop/second baseman Chris Taylor is off to a terrific start in his first season at Triple A. The 23-year-old is batting .382 with two home runs and 13 RBIs through 19 games. He has had nine multihit games, and he had 12 hits in his past six games entering Saturday.

Taylor is a right-handed batter who has shown the ability to drive the ball to the opposite field. Each of his first two homers — hit Monday night at Cheney Stadium — went to right.

“When I’m playing at my best, I’m hitting the ball to all fields. It all starts with being able to go the other way, and staying inside the ball,” Taylor said. “That’s the way my approach has been since college.”

The Mariners drafted Taylor out of the University of Virginia in the fifth round of the 2012 draft. Taylor was college teammates with current Mariners minor leaguers Danny Hultzen (injured) and John Hicks (Double-A Jackson).

“(Mariners scouting director) Tom McNamara told me he saw me when he was scouting Danny Hultzen,” Taylor said.

Taylor won the Mariners’ Minor League Player of the Year in 2013. He started the season with Advanced-A High Desert and was promoted halfway through the season to Jackson. Combined, he hit .314 with 47 extra-base hits.

While not a classic burner on the basepaths, Taylor used his quickness and wits to go 38-for-43 on stolen base attempts last season. He’s 4-for-5 to start 2014.

PEGUERO POWER

Longtime Rainiers slugger Carlos Peguero has a new home, and he’s starting to warm up to it.

After hitting 53 home runs in 251 games for Tacoma over the past three seasons, Peguero was claimed off waivers from the Mariners by the Kansas City Royals during the offseason.

Peguero was designated for assignment by Kansas City and outrighted to Triple-A Omaha of the Pacific Coast League.

Peguero got off to a slow start for Omaha, batting just .154 without a homer in his first 10 games.

Now he has launched four homers in the last week, including a pair Friday night in New Orleans. Two of the homers were tape-measure blasts, with one on Friday landing on top of a hill beyond the center-field fence at Zephyr Field. That one was estimated at 450 feet.

Mike Curto is the radio broadcaster for the Tacoma Rainiers.

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