Josh Naylor named American League Player of the Week

Cleveland Guardians v Cincinnati Reds
Cleveland Guardians v Cincinnati Reds / Andy Lyons/GettyImages

To say Cleveland Guardians first baseman Josh Naylor was locked in at the plate last week would be an understatement. Naylor went 10-25 with three doubles and three home runs while driving in eight runs in six games against the Seattle Mariners and Toronto Blue Jays as they wrapped up their homestand with a 5-1 record. This performance has resulted in Naylor being named the American League Player of the Week.

With a slash line of .400/.423/.880 and OPS of 1.303, it was going to be pretty difficult for the award to be given to anyone besides Naylor. The 27-year-old slugger was a key contributor for the Guardians over the past week and continues to be a force in Cleveland's lineup.

Even though Naylor's slash line on the season is lower than last year's in two areas (.241/.319/.504 versus .308/.354/.489), the OPS+ numbers are identical at 131. Additionally, Naylor has seen his success at the plate increase over the past 13 games, slashing .314/.375/.608 with four home runs, three doubles, and 11 runs driven in. This stretch suggests that Naylor's numbers on the year will continue to improve as the season progresses, making this Guardians team that much better.

2024 has been a great year for Naylor despite the above-noted dip in his slash line. Naylor has already tied his career-high for home runs in a season with 20 in just 73 games. Any day now, Naylor will homer again, setting a new career high that he will only add to over the rest of the season.

There are two other notable areas that Naylor could also set new season-bests in, walks and RBI. Naylor has 28 walks on the year, which is only 10 fewer than his highest total recorded in 2022 (38). The 58 runs driven in by Naylor so far are very impressive, as he is currently tied with Shohei Ohtani for the fifth-most in all of baseball right now. With how he has performed so far, it would not be all that surprising to see him past last year's career-best total of 97 and set a new career-high RBI total by season's end.