When Alabama opened the 2016 baseball season against Maryland in the rebuilt Sewell-Thomas Stadium, the Crimson Tide got a glimpse of a freshman who might be a star in the making when Chandler Taylor homered in his first at-bat.
Although Taylor had some adjustment problems in his move from high school to college baseball, the Montgomery native handled his first year at Alabama well enough to be selected to the Freshman All-Southeastern Conference Team.
One of the top hitters on the Crimson Tide, Taylor, Bama’s starting right fielder, has excelled in his first season of collegiate play.
He is the only Alabama player to homer in back-to-back games twice this season, first from April 22-23 at Texas A&M and then at Arkansas from May 13-14. Taylor also leads the team in walks with 37, including 24 during SEC play, and is tied for the team-high in home runs with nine.
He has also reached base safely in 27 of 29 conference matchups, including his last 18.
Taylor has improved as the year has worn on. In his last 23 games, he has batted .321 (25-78) with four doubles, a triple, five home runs, 20 RBI, 12 runs scored, 24 walks, and 46 total bases. Over that time, he ranks first or second in nearly every offensive category, including first in RBI, walks, total bases, slugging (.590), and on-base (.485) percentage, and is second in hits and stolen bases.
His SEC numbers are equally impressive. He is batting a team-leading .295 (31-105) with 16 extra-base hits (seven doubles, two triples, seven home runs), 25 RBI, 16 runs, 24 walks, and 63 total bases. Taylor has a nine-game hitting streak going against conference opponents. In that streak he is batting .441 (15-34) with three doubles, three home runs, 12 RBI, six runs scored, and eight walks. He is slugging .794 and hass an on-base percentage of .548, both team-highs, while going a perfect 3-for-3 on stolen base attempts.
Taylor and his Crimson Tide teammates begin SEC Tournament play at 4:30 p.m. CDT Tuesday at the Hoover Met against Kentucky.