MLB slugger from Mississauga hits his way to the All-Star Game for first time

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Published July 9, 2024 at 1:26 pm

Mississauga's Josh Naylor named an all-star.
Mississauga native Josh Naylor has been named to his first MLB all-star team.

It’s been a long journey from St. Joan of Arc Secondary School in Mississauga to Arlington, Texas for Josh Naylor, and he’s almost there.

Now in his fifth MLB season with the Cleveland Guardians, the slugging first baseman will arrive in that Texas city next week as a first-time all-star — a sign he has truly arrived as one of professional baseball’s elite players.

Naylor, 27, was selected as a reserve infielder on the American League roster that will take on the National League on July 16 at the 94th MLB All-Star Game. The annual summer classic and other All-Star week events take place at Globe Life Field, home of the Texas Rangers.

The Mississauga native, who plays alongside his younger brother Bo, a catcher, in Cleveland, is one of 32 MLB players who’ll be making their first appearance at the All-Star Game.

Naylor’s batting average, at .241 so far this season, is down from previous campaigns in what appears to be a down hitting year for many of the game’s brightest stars.

However, his 21 home runs to date is a new career high (he hit 20 over a full season in 2022) and he has also driven in 66 runs in 316 at-bats so far in 2024.

The 5-foot-11, 250-pound Naylor hit his 20th homer of the season a couple of weeks ago in a 6-5 win over the visiting Toronto Blue Jays and slugged his 21st this past Friday against the San Francisco Giants.

Naylor was a 2015 first-round pick of the Miami Marlins and after a short subsequent stay with the Padres in San Diego debuted with the Guardians in 2020.

In an injury-shortened 2023 season, the fixture in the Guardians’ lineup stroked 17 homers and drove in 97 runs (tied for eighth in the American League) in 452 at-bats. His .308 batting average would’ve placed him third in AL hitting if he had found enough at-bats to qualify.

The Naylor brothers have shown in their brief time together so far in the major leagues they have a penchant for dramatic moments.

Not only did Josh and Bo, 24, hit home runs in the same inning in a game earlier this season to help the Guardians to victory, they did so on National Siblings Day (celebrated in both the U.S. and Canada) of all days.

And that wasn’t the first time the Naylors accomplished the feat. They pulled it off initially last season, on July 14 in, of all places, Texas.

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