Taylor Featherston, Infielder
HT : 6'1
WT : 185 lb.
DOB : October 8, 1989, Houston, TX
Throws : Right
Bats : Right
School : Texas Christian University (Fort Worth, TX)
Acquired : Traded from Chicago Cubs for cash, December 2015
Stock : Neutral
Cool Notes :
One of the newest prospects in the Angels farm system is a guy you need to know about. Taylor Featherston is a Rule-5 Pick, kinda, and will need to remain on the active roster all of 2015 to stay have a future as an Angels infielder (See Rule-5 Draft Rules). However, he may be a nice threat for the bench roll the Angels need right now, and is not only someone you need to know, but someone to keep an eye on for not just the immediate future, but well beyond that as well.
Featherston has a quick stride and direct path to the ball in his swing, which allows him to put the ball from gap to gap. He also has quick hands which allows him to make contact even on bad judgement swings and foul them off with ease, as well as put balls down the lines and into the gaps with even more ease.
Featherston has a lot of power behind his swing as he tends to torque a little, which has resulted in some swing and miss problems. However, it's also added not just gap power but some home run power as well. Featherston hits the gaps well, and may have one of the better line drive swings in the system, which added with his speed, has resulted in a multitude of doubles. Don't be surprised to see Featherston tag double digit home runs in the future though, he's got the swing and athletic frame for it.
Featherston is a smart base runner and has the speed and abilities to steal in the 20+ marks each season. He can really dig his way around the bases and get that extra oomph in his stride that makes him a threat to not only steal but add a base on a weak hit to the gap, and turn singles into doubles and doubles into triples.
Featherston has a great range and quick first step towards any ball in the infield. He has the ability to play second base, third base and shortstop with ease on any given day. His glove is all around good, and his arm is even better. He uses that plus athleticism to dig for balls in hard hit spots, and can retrieve nearly everything hit in his general direction and sometimes beyond it.
Something that's never noted in box scores, but is something you have to find out from teammates in Featherston's ability to lead a team. He's notoriously known around the clubhouse as a hard worked, and real leader throughout any clubhouse. This may not give high marks in any line at the end of the day, but gives high marks for a guy who's new to the system and can come in and help anyone with a down day. Leadership can't be taught, so we tip our caps to Featherston on this mark.
While at TCU, Featherston put together a pretty astonishing career with the Horned Frogs. Over three years, Featherston posted a .331 batting average, with 166 runs scored, 42 doubles, 13 triples, 16 home runs, 122 RBI, 20 stolen bases and a .514 slugging percentage. Featherston earned honors such as; Second-Team All-Mountain West Conference selection (freshman), NCAA Fort Worth Regional All-Tournament selection (freshman), First-Team All-Mountain West Conference (sophomore), MWC Postseason All-Tournament Team (sophomore), MVP of the 2010 NCAA Fort Worth Regional (sophomore), 2010 College World Series All-Tournament team (sophomore), First-Team All-Mountain West Conference selection (junior).
Featherston struggled out of the draft, posting a .231/.312/.349 slash with eight doubles, three triples, two home runs, 20 RBI, and 19 runs scored in 49 games while in Short-Season A Ball. In his final 27 games, Featherston picked up hits in 18, going 24-for-93 (.258) over the span. From the eighth inning or later, Featherston was incredibly clutch, batting .322 with a .384 on base percentage and .458 slugging percentage.
Featherston picked up his game in his first full season of pro ball, slashing .299/.393/.495. In his final 85 games, Featherston hit .313/.395/.528, picking up hits in 61, and having multiple hits in 30, five in six games where he went 15-for-26. While leading off innings, Featherston hit .329/.447/.471 with seven extra base hits in 70 at bats and walked 15 times.
In High-A, Featherston continued with the hot bat, slashing .292/.342/.484 with 91 RBI, 31 doubles, 10 triples, 13 home runs, 17 stolen bases, and 87 runs scored in 116 games. In his final 27 games of the year, Featherston collected hits in 24, having 15 go for multiple hits, and posted a .403/.466/.644 slash. In the first five innings of games, Featherston posted a .324/.380/.509 slash with 54 runs scored and 51 RBI in 300 plate appearances.
In a pitcher friendly league, Featherston held his own in Double-A this past season, posting a .260/.322/.439 slash with 33 doubles, four triples, 16 home runs, 57 RBI and 69 runs scored in 127 games. Featherston also continued his late season pushes, reaching base in 13 of his final 14 games, going 17-for-53 (.320) over the span. While ahead in counts, Featherston hit .313, and reached base 92 times in 204 plate appearances (.451 OBP).
Featherston is an odd spot, not to his doing in any way. He was traded after being selected in the Rule-5 Draft, which still means he has to be on the Angels active roster throughout the entire season to remain with the Halos in 2016 and beyond.
Featherston has a better glove than any of the initial backup options in the infield, unless you throw Eric Stamets in the mix, and should be riding the bench at the beginning of the 2015 season. The Angels won't need his bat much, but if he does get the occasional start, he'll need to at least show he can hang with the big boys before they send him to the minors and lose him at the end of the season, if that's the case.
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Taylor Blake Ward is a Senior Publisher for InsideTheHalos.com, and can be found on Twitter, @TaylorBlakeWard.