Josh Naylor

Josh Naylor

26-Year-Old First Baseman1B
Cleveland Guardians
2024 Fantasy Outlook
Naylor had a career season at the plate despite missing over a month with an oblique injury. The career year was fueled by a few things Naylor had never done, such as hitting .363 with runners in scoring position and hitting .299 against left-handed pitching. He also fully leaned into the roster trend of better contact as Naylor lowered his strikeout rate for a fourth consecutive full season. He also murdered fastballs hitting .352 (.317 xBA.) The amalgamation of those skills is what allowed him to drive in 90+ runs with fewer than 20 homers, something only Naylor, Abreu, Heim, and Bohm did in 2023 and something last done by Asdrubel Cabrera in 2019. In all, Naylor plated 22% of his baserunners, which was only bested by Heim, Mullins, and Seager last season. All of this is to say this big step forward needs to have that first 500+ plate appearance offseason to offset the regression which is likely coming to his run production. Read Past Outlooks
RANKSFrom Preseason
#128
ADP
$Signed a one-year, $6.6 million contract with the Guardians in January of 2024.
Launches homer Tuesday
1BCleveland Guardians
June 5, 2024
Naylor went 1-for-3 with a two-run home run, a walk and a second run scored in Tuesday's 8-5 win over the Royals.
ANALYSIS
Naylor was part of the Guardians' comeback push -- his fourth-inning homer cut the deficit to 5-3. After being one of the team's hottest hitters in April, the first baseman has hit .178 with a .719 OPS since the start of May. Naylor's power is still coming through with 16 homers, a .500 slugging percentage and a .271 ISO. He hasn't had a pronounced issue with strikeouts either, fanning at just a 16.2 percent rate while walking at a career-best 10.3 percent clip. Naylor's .308 batting average last year was likely unsustainable, but he's a better overall hitter than he's been over the last month.
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Batting Stats
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2024
2023
2022
2021
2020
2019
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2023 MLB Game Log
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2022 MLB Game Log
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2021 MLB Game Log
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2020 MLB Game Log
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Batting Order Slot Breakdown
vs Right-Handed Pitchers
vs RHP
#1
#2
#3
#4
#5
#6
#7
#8
#9
1
46
vs Left-Handed Pitchers
vs LHP
#1
#2
#3
#4
#5
#6
#7
#8
#9
2
13
Left/Right Batting Splits
Since 2022
 
 
+24%
OPS vs RHP
2024
 
 
+20%
OPS vs RHP
2023
 
 
+4%
OPS vs RHP
2022
 
 
+67%
OPS vs RHP
OPS PA R HR RBI SB AVG OBP SLG
Since 2022vs Left .685 355 33 10 46 13 .231 .304 .381
Since 2022vs Right .850 902 102 44 180 6 .285 .340 .509
2024vs Left .696 81 13 4 13 1 .192 .272 .425
2024vs Right .832 183 23 13 37 2 .239 .322 .509
2023vs Left .821 147 16 5 22 7 .299 .347 .474
2023vs Right .852 348 36 12 75 3 .311 .356 .495
2022vs Left .512 127 4 1 11 5 .173 .276 .236
2022vs Right .856 371 43 19 68 1 .283 .334 .522
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Home/Away Batting Splits
Since 2022
 
 
+9%
OPS on Road
2024
 
 
+18%
OPS at Home
2023
 
 
+9%
OPS on Road
2022
 
 
+24%
OPS on Road
OPS PA R HR RBI SB AVG OBP SLG
Since 2022Home .766 606 64 24 96 7 .261 .332 .435
Since 2022Away .836 651 71 30 130 12 .278 .329 .508
2024Home .866 109 19 8 23 1 .237 .339 .527
2024Away .737 155 17 9 27 2 .216 .284 .453
2023Home .804 243 26 7 39 4 .309 .354 .450
2023Away .879 252 26 10 58 6 .306 .353 .526
2022Home .688 254 19 9 34 2 .224 .307 .381
2022Away .854 244 28 11 45 4 .288 .332 .522
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Stat Review
How does Josh Naylor compare to other hitters?
This section compares his stats with all batting seasons from the previous three seasons (minimum 400 plate appearances)*. The bar represents the player's percentile rank. For example, if the bar is halfway across, then the player falls into the 50th percentile for that stat and it would be considered average.

* Exit Velocity and Barrels/PA % are benchmarked against 2019 data (min 400 PA) and Hard Hit Rate is benchmarked against last season's data (min 400 PA). See here for more exit velocity/barrels stats plus an explanation of current limitations with that data set.
  • BB/K
    Walk to strikeout ratio
  • BB Rate
    The percentage of plate appearances resulting in a walk.
  • K Rate
    The percentage of plate appearances resulting in a strikeout.
  • BABIP
    Batting average on balls in play. Measures how many of a batter’s balls in play go for hits.
  • ISO
    Isolated Power. Slugging percentage minus batting average. A computation used to measure a batter's raw power.
  • AVG
    Batting average. Hits divided by at bats.
  • OBP
    On Base Percentage. A measure of how often a batters reaches base. Roughly equal to number of times on base divided by plate appearances.
  • SLG
    Slugging Percentage. A measure of the batting productivity of a hitter. It is calculated as total bases divided by at bats.
  • OPS
    On base plus slugging. THe sum of a batter's on-base percentage and slugging percentage.
  • wOBA
    Weighted on-base average. Measures a player's overall offensive contributions per plate appearance. wOBA combines all the different aspects of hitting into one metric, weighting each of them in proportion to their actual run value.
  • Exit Velocity
    The speed of the baseball as it comes off the bat, immediately after a batter makes contact.
  • Hard Hit Rate
    A measure of contact quality from Sports Info Solutions. This stat explains what percentage of batted balls were hit hard vs. medium or soft.
  • Barrels/PA
    The percentage of plate appearances where a batter had a batted ball classified as a Barrel. A Barrel is a batted ball with similar exit velocity and launch angle to past ones that led to a minimum .500 batting average and 1.500 slugging percentage.
  • Expected BA
    Expected Batting Average.
  • Expected SLG
    Expected Slugging Percentage.
  • Sprint Speed
    The speed of a runner from home to first, in feet per second.
  • Ground Ball %
    The percentage of balls put in play that are on the ground.
  • Line Drive %
    The percentage of balls put in play that are line drives.
  • Fly Ball %
    The percentage of balls put in play that are fly balls.
BB/K
0.57
 
BB Rate
9.5%
 
K Rate
16.7%
 
BABIP
.201
 
ISO
.259
 
AVG
.224
 
OBP
.307
 
SLG
.483
 
OPS
.790
 
wOBA
.334
 
Exit Velocity
91.3 mph
 
Hard Hit Rate
36.1%
 
Barrels/PA
8.3%
 
Expected BA
.278
 
Expected SLG
.513
 
Sprint Speed
20.8 ft/sec
 
Ground Ball %
46.6%
 
Line Drive %
16.2%
 
Fly Ball %
37.2%
 
Prospect Rankings History
Advanced Batting Stats
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Additional Stats
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Defensive Stats
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Batted Ball Stats
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Stats Vs Upcoming Pitchers
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Latest Fantasy Rumors
Multiple clubs interested
1BCleveland Guardians
December 10, 2023
The Cubs, Pirates and Mariners have shown interest in trading for Naylor this offseason, Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.
ANALYSIS
Naylor is heading into his penultimate year of arbitration and is projected to make $7.2 million in 2024. The 26-year-old first baseman should have a very productive season if he stays on his current trajectory, but Cleveland is apparently intent on cutting payroll this offseason.
See All MLB Rumors
Past Fantasy Outlooks
2023
2022
2021
2020
2019
2018
2017
2016
Naylor was limited to 69 games in 2021 after he underwent surgery to address a broken ankle, which briefly delayed his start to 2022. He appeared in 122 games and served as a platoon option at first base and designated hitter, and he had significant struggles against left-handed pitching with a .512 OPS in 127 plate appearances. Naylor clubbed 20 home runs total and crushed righties with a .283/.334/.522 slash line, which should at least keep him on the strong side of a platoon to open 2023. He also had solid strikeout and walk rates (16.1 percent and 7.8 percent, respectively), which provides a solid floor for his 2023 outlook, especially if he's able to improve when facing southpaws.
Naylor's 2021 season was cut short after a broken ankle in late June required season-ending surgery. Naylor is reportedly making good progress in his recovery from July 3 surgery to address fractures and ligament damage in his right leg, but he's not expected to be cleared for Opening Day. Once he completes his rehab program and is able to play a few games in the minor leagues, Naylor should eventually settle into a strong-side platoon role for the Guardians at either corner-outfield spot, first base or designated hitter. Before sustaining the season-ending leg injury, Naylor supplied a .700 OPS in 249 plate appearances for Cleveland in 2021.
Naylor broke summer camp with the Padres, but he played sparingly and almost exclusively against right-handers. He was sent to the alternate site for 10 days in August before returning. Naylor was slashing .278/.316/.417 when he was dealt to Cleveland on Aug. 31. He played more with Cleveland, but still only against righties, slashing just .230/.277/.279. While it's encouraging Naylor's season-long contact rate was 86.4%, it was mostly weak and on the ground, not conducive for a 70 raw power grade. Naylor's average exit velocity on flyballs was well below average, again not good for homers. Naylor is another case in which it's better to trust the reports and results prior to 2020 over a two-month sample in trying conditions. Cleveland's outfield is in flux, though Naylor should be given a shot at the busier side of a platoon.
Naylor made his debut May 24 and was up and down a few times before settling in for good after the deadline. Some scouts have put a 70 on Naylor's raw power, but he's still working to get to that in games. His ISO with the major-league team was .154, so about league average. He walked at a useful clip but his strikeout rate nearly doubled with the jump from Triple-A to the majors, and in total, Naylor graded out as 11% worse than league average by wRC+. As expected, the lumbering Naylor was a negative on defense, and he was below replacement level by fWAR in his 279 plate appearances. The body is a problem -- he was listed at 5-foot-11, 250 pounds at age 21 -- and that figures to only get worse with age. San Diego would like to trade Wil Myers, but that seems unlikely. There will only be room for two starters between Trent Grisham, Myers and Naylor, with Tommy Pham in the same outfield.
The biggest development for Naylor in 2018 was that most of his starts came in left field. He had previously only played first base. His stats through 170 career games at Double-A (.286/.368/.423, 19 HR, 14.0 K%, 10.7 BB%) are solid for a player who won't turn 22 until June. However, the fact he won't be a good defender anywhere, particularly in the outfield, means he will have to do a ton of damage at the plate to get playing time in the National League. The 70-grade raw power that led to him getting selected in the first round in 2015 has not consistently shown up in games, but he has been a better pure hitter than originally anticipated. Eric Hosmer signed an eight-year deal last offseason and the Padres already have a couple bat-first, below-average defenders competing for time in the outfield corners (Franmil Reyes and Hunter Renfroe), so Naylor feels like a spare piece who may not make his big-league debut as a member of this organization.
For each of Naylor's intriguing fantasy-relevant qualities, he does something else that subtracts from his potential value. He has huge raw power, but doesn't make much of an effort to get to it consistently in games. One of pro sports' modern marvels is how well Naylor runs, given his pear-shaped physique. But he won't remain this nimble as he gets into his mid-20s. Prior to 2017, he hardly walked -- a red flag for a bad-body first baseman. However, his career-best 9.1 percent walk rate at Double-A helped lessen those concerns. At the same time, he pulled the ball a career-low 31.4 percent, which was the second lowest rate in the Texas League. For a player who is already not capitalizing on his top physical tool, this new passivity is quite troubling. Naylor could be a high-average 15-to-20 homer hitter, or a low-average 30-plus homer threat, but it's hard to see both skills converging. He has been promoted aggressively since being drafted 12th overall in 2015, and could be pushed to Triple-A before he turns 21 in late June.
Naylor was one of the more desired pieces in the infamous Andrew Cashner-Jarred Cosart deal, which nearly fell through due to alleged misinformation provided by the Padres. The Padres were able to keep Naylor, though, and he more than held his own during his first season of full-season ball. In 122 games between Low-A Greensboro and High-A Lake Elsinore, the left-handed hitting Naylor batted .264/.302/.407 with 12 home runs, 75 RBI and 11 steals. Naylor needs to work on his patience at the dish, as he only drew 25 walks in 481 at-bats. However, he also does not strike a ton, as evidenced by his 84 strikeouts over the above-referenced 122-game span in 2016. The Padres are banking on Naylor's home run totals eventually catching up to his massive raw power. He may only be starting to scratch the surface of his enormous power potential.
After being selected with the 12th pick in the 2015 draft, Naylor injected a modicum of hope into perhaps the worst farm system in baseball. The Canadian slugger slashed .327/.352/.418 with one home run in 25 games in his first taste of professional baseball. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of this small sample is the 10.5-percent K rate that he posted after just turning 18 years old in June. He was drafted because of the plus power he offers from the left side, and to show those contact skills at such an early age has to really excite fantasy owners. While a case could easily be made that Naylor is the best fantasy asset in the Marlins’ system, it is also worth noting that he is at least four or five years away from the show, so drafting him in dynasty leagues will require extreme patience.
More Fantasy News
Powers up in win
1BCleveland Guardians
May 28, 2024
Naylor went 2-for-4 with two home runs, a walk, five RBI and three total runs scored in Tuesday's 13-7 win over the Rockies.
ANALYSIS
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Smacks 13th homer
1BCleveland Guardians
May 24, 2024
Naylor went 1-for-4 with a solo home run and a walk in Friday's 10-4 win over the Angels.
ANALYSIS
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Day off versus left-hander
1BCleveland Guardians
May 22, 2024
Naylor is out of the lineup for Wednesday's game against the Mets.
ANALYSIS
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Does a bit of everything
1BCleveland Guardians
May 15, 2024
Naylor went 1-for-3 with a three-run home run, two walks and a stolen base during Tuesday's 7-4 win over the Rangers.
ANALYSIS
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Continues power surge
1BCleveland Guardians
May 11, 2024
Naylor went 1-for-4 with a solo home run Saturday in a loss to the White Sox.
ANALYSIS
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