Josh Naylor is in a deep slump and that is a big problem
When the season began it appeared that Josh Naylor was ready to have a big season. Naylor busted out of the gate with eight hits in his first 25 at-bats including two home runs. Since then the Guardians first baseman has found himself in a deep slump and that is a big problem.
Over his last 10 games Naylor has just one hit in 34 at-bats. This amounts to a disappointing .029/.146/.029 slash line and a .176 OPS. The only reason Naylor has an on-base percentage above .030 is due to his five walks in this span. Otherwise Naylor has been mostly a non-contributor at the plate.
With Naylor primarily hitting fourth or fifth in the Guardians lineup this type of production is simply unacceptable. Cleveland is depending on Naylor to be at least a capable bat in their lineup and that has not happened since the opening few games.
Naylor's at-bats during this stretch have left a lot to be desired. More often than not Naylor is looking like an overzealous pitcher at the plate thinking that today is the day that he finally hits a home run. Like most pitchers, Naylor comes back to the dugout when his at-bat is completed without doing much of anything. This free-swinging approach has not produced the results that Naylor or the Guardians are looking for.
When Naylor finds himself behind in the count this season the at-bat might as well be over. In 21 at-bats Naylor is hitless with seven strikeouts. After 0-2 counts it has been a struggle for the 25-year old, going hitless and striking out six times in 12 chances. Two strike counts in general have not been great for Naylor as he is 2-27 overall with 10 strikeouts, although he has somehow managed to drive in three runs and walk twice. It would be nice to see a better fight from Naylor when he is down in the count and that has not happened nearly enough.
A 10 game sample size is not something to sound the alarms about, but the trends over this period are something to monitor moving forward. If Naylor is going to return to his career average slash line of .247/.307/.408 it is going to require more discipline at the plate. The Guardians lineup needs Naylor to be more like his career average and less like the free swinger who has not produced much recently.