Beau Taylor Feature Story

 

Ryan BenderImage

Tuesday, July 23–Beau Taylor is one of the premier players behind the dish in the Texas League, and he has been a great asset to the RockHounds this season. Taylor is hoping to keep up his batting stats to accompany his already-stellar defensive abilities. With injuries plaguing the RockHounds this season, Beau has stepped up at DH, as well as catching more than normal. We recently got a chance to sit down with Beau to discuss baseball and his personal life.

Playing catcher in professional baseball is no easy task, and keeping the awareness to both control the game and to help the pitcher succeed proves to be a rare commodity. But Beau seems to have figured out both. When tensions rise as the game intensifies, it takes a calm and collected catcher to run out and ease his pitcher. Yet, when is it the right time to call such a visit? Before a big at-bat? Before a pay-off pitch?

[Beau speaking on mound visits] “Sometimes I’ll just go out there for the heck of it! Normally, though, to slow down the game a bit, or, if the momentum is changing, I’ll go out there to cool down the pitcher a bit. Sometimes I’ll joke with him or point something funny out, but it all depends on the pitcher. Some guys want me to make them mad; others just want to be calmed down. But usually I just try to go out there and keep things calm.”

Throughout Spring Training and beyond, it is Beau’s job to find out which they prefer, getting mad or cooling down. “I can usually tell how they are. I can tell after a big strikeout, they may walk off casually or get hyped up. You can tell we have max throwing guys and finesse throwing guys, some you have to pump up, but I usually have a good eye for it.”

However, that’s not all he has an eye for. The Rockledge, Florida, native and UCF alum has been utilizing his exceptional fielding since being drafted. Boasting a .986 fielding percentage in his three year career, Taylor also seems to have a knack for throwing out would-be base stealers, catching 25 percent of them this season.

One thing seems to be certain when talking to Taylor: he is a big family man. When asked about his greatest achievement in baseball, he naturally said getting drafted. But upon further thinking, he mentioned his father. In 2003, Beau Taylor and his teammates were taking batting practice before playing in the AAU Nationals Tournament. His father was pitching that session when he tore his rotator cuff, but instead of quitting, he proceeded to throw batting practice for Beau’s next 12 games in the tournament. Beau was stunned– “For him to do that for me and the team, and then for us to end up winning, was great! We all got rings, but I gave him my ring because he did a great job!”

Much like the perseverance of his father, Beau seems to always be working hard at mastering his craft. When I asked, besides wins and losses, what the most important statistic was to him, he quickly spoke up about defensive stats. He claims to be “a catcher first,” and it clearly shows.

As a catcher, there are many pitchers and pitches one must learn. But Beau gave quite the extensive list as to what a catcher REALLY needs to know. [When it comes to working with pitchers] “It really depends, some [pitchers] you connect with right away, others you have to get used to their curveballs, if they spike them on two strikes, if they don’t throw over the plate, where you have to shade on the plate, whether they want the corners or work the middle, etc.”

But more than just baseball, Beau Taylor enjoys being a regular guy. If you caught him in the clubhouse before a game, he may be listening to Lil Wayne or Ace Hood on his iPod, playing Xbox, or just relaxing.

He says he misses his family and the greenery of Florida. Who could blame him? He also misses the sandy beaches of back home, but his place is on the clay, picking balls from the dirt and throwing out runners who dare attempt to steal against him. Taylor is looking forward to the rest of the season, where he and the RockHounds will get another run at first place.

 

 

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