Mississauga native and his Guardians in town this weekend to battle the Blue Jays


Published August 9, 2022 at 4:38 pm

Mississauga's Josh Naylor named Cleveland Guardians' weekly star

Mississauga native Josh Naylor and his Cleveland Guardians will be in Toronto this weekend (Aug. 12-14) for a three-game, late-season series with the Blue Jays as both teams remain in the thick of the American League playoff race.

Naylor, 25, has enjoyed a memorable and record-setting season to date, posting a .273 batting average to go along with 14 home runs, 53 RBIs and a trio of stolen bases for good measure. He’s played mostly first base for Cleveland this season, but can man the outfield as well.

On May 9, the St. Joan of Arc Secondary School graduate hit a game-tying grand slam and then a game-winning three-run homer — both with two out — during the Guardians’ 12-9 extra-innings comeback win against the Chicago White Sox.

The two home runs, combined with an earlier run-scoring double, made Naylor the first player in the history of Major League Baseball to have eight RBI from the eighth inning onward in a game.

The slugger, a first-round draft pick (12th overall) in 2015 of the Miami Marlins, was also the first player to have an eight-RBI game without driving in a run during the first seven innings.

The following night, on May 10, the 5-foot-11, 250-pound left-handed Naylor blasted another home run, a solo shot, as part of a two-hit game, also against the White Sox.

This weekend, Naylor will be looking to do some damage with the bat against the host Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre.

Both clubs are in the thick of the AL playoff race, with the Blue Jays (60-49) holding down the first wildcard playoff spot at the moment.

The Guardians (56-52), meanwhile, sit one game behind the division-leading Minnesota Twins in the AL Central.

Three years ago, Naylor got his first MLB hit in Toronto. As a rookie in his second game with the San Diego Padres on May 25, 2019, he began his big-league career with an RBI double to deep centre field during a game against the Blue Jays.

He ended up collecting three hits that day in a 19-4 Padres win.

That remains Naylor’s only career series in Toronto in front of hometown family and friends.

Speaking of family, Naylor’s younger brother, Bo, is also making a name for himself as a highly-regarded catching prospect in the Cleveland organization.

Bo Naylor, 22, was also a first-round MLB draft pick (2018 draft) and after a rough 2021 minor league season, he has shot up prospect lists this year and ranks No. 64 on Baseball America’s latest Top 100 Prospects list, updated earlier this week.

The Baseball America list is widely regarded as the most reputable among prospect lists put out by numerous publications in the U.S.

Evaluators there say Bo Naylor, the No. 4-ranked prospect in the Guardians’ organization, is close to the majors and has “a clear path to Cleveland, where he would join his older brother Josh.”

“After a forgettable 2021 season, Naylor has been one of the best hitters regardless of position in the minor leagues this season,” the Baseball America synopsis of him reads. “His plate approach is advanced, he has strong bat-to-ball skills and above-average power to go with his strong defence behind the plate.”

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