Throughout the 2022 MLB season, the Cleveland Guardians have made organization-altering moves throughout their farm system.
Nolan Jones, Oscar Gonzalez, Will Benson, Xzavion Curry and Tyler Freeman are just four of the many who have had proven success in the majors this season.
That being said, it’s evident Cleveland is in the mindset of giving opportunities to their young prospects, with Bo Naylor likely having a chance to be in that spot soon.
The former 29th overall selection in the 2018 MLB Draft has had his fair share of ups and downs throughout his time in the minors, but during the 2022 season Naylor has caught fire.
Currently, Naylor is ranked as the fifth-best prospect inside the Guardians organization, and the 78th prospect in all of baseball. He started the season with the Double-A Akron RubberDucks, where he slashed .271/.427/.471 through 52 games. In those games, he hit six home runs with 12 doubles and 21 RBIs.
After getting a promotion to the Triple-A Columbus Clippers, Naylor elevated his power to the next level – through 40 games, he’s hit seven home runs. In 145 at bats so far, he’s scored 25 runs to go alongside 36 hits, eight doubles, and two triples.
Outside of his hitting, he’s been praised for his dominant fielding style, something Cleveland fans have come to know and love from their catchers in recent seasons. In the 32 games Naylor has started at catcher in Columbus, he’s had 19 baserunners steal on him. Through those 19 runners, Naylor has caught nine of them, which accounts for over a 50% thrown-out percentage.
His defense has definitely been a talking point about his game, and is something he will have to provide if he makes the jump to the majors. Replacing a defensive talent like Austin Hedges isn’t easy.
If Naylor can continue to put up a consistent batting average, his opportunity to take over Hedges or backup Luke Maile will open up. The biggest knock to both of their games is the hitting inconsistencies. It probably doesn’t come as a shock to say that Naylor is likely an all-around better catcher than Maile.
Though if Naylor is eventually brought up, Cleveland’s biggest mistake would be bringing him up to the majors just to sit on the bench.
Only time will tell whether or not the Guardians’ front office will decide to give their young talented prospect a true opportunity in the big leagues this season.