Naylor had a strong pro debut in the AZL after going 29th overall in the 2018 Draft. He’s a gamer with a high baseball IQ that shows up on both sides of the ball. He’s built with similar features to older brother Josh Naylor (Padres), though a bit leaner and more athletic. The younger Naylor hits from a wide, crouched base and finds a strong launch position before the swing. He creates excellent hip torque and whips the bat through the zone, an efficient left-handed stroke that seems capable of producing average without sacrificing power. Naylor takes mature ABs, showing a polished understanding of the strike zone with ability to recognize off-speed. Defensively, he’s benefitted immediately from pro coaching and reps at catcher, where his receiving and actions look improved from where I saw them as an amateur. Naylor won’t ever be a truly plus defender, but the ingredients to stay at the position are here.
I was impressed with Naylor’s toolset in a short AZL look, an advanced hitter with the ceiling of an offensive-minded backstop. The bat is polished enough to handle an assignment to full-season ball to start 2019. Teenage catchers like Miguel Amaya (Cubs), Ronaldo Hernandez (Rays), M.J. Melendez (Royals), and William Contreras (Braves) all established themselves as top prospects in A-Ball this year, and Naylor could be on the same path in 2019.