The Guardians will reportedly call up catcher Bo Naylor for the second time this season, as Cleveland looks to reset its roster and push towards a playoff spot. Here’s a look at what Guardians and baseball fans can expect from the left-handed hitting catcher.
A Look at Naylor
The Guardians have taken a cautious approach to developing prized catching prospect Bo Naylor. Naylor was taken in the first round of the 2018 MLB Draft out of high school in Ontario, and was selected in the same draft that yielded Cleveland Nick Sandlin and Steven Kwan.
Originally a second baseman, the Guardians quickly converted Naylor to catcher and he took well to the position in the Minors. Reports have indicated that Naylor’s turned into a solid receiver, one with athleticism behind the dish and a strong arm. In his Minor League career, the 23-year-old sported a career caught stealing rate of 30%.
At the dish, Naylor can generate a lot of bat speed — and in turn, power — at the plate. Naylor hit .254/.393/.498 with 13 home runs and 26 extra base hits over 60 games with Columbus (AAA). The 23-year-old’s followed up his 2022 campaign, in which he hit 21 home runs across AA and AAA, well.
In addition to his prowess with the stick, Naylor’s also got a good eye at the plate. The 23-year-old’s pitch per plate appearance rate has increased in each of his last four pro seasons and he’ll leave the International League tied with Blue Jays farmhand Rafael Lantigua for second in walks (49).
This isn’t the first time that Naylor received a callup to the Majors this season. The Ontario native spent one game earlier in the Majors with Cleveland, when he went 0-2 in the first game of the Guardians’ doubleheader on May 21 against the Mets.
Naylor is set to replace Mike Zunino on the Guardians catching depth chart, as Zunino was DFA’d on June 16. The former first-round pick will join Cam Gallagher and utilityman David Fry as catching options for the Guardians when does get moved up to the Guardians.
A Look at the Guardians Offense
Earlier this week, we wrote that it was only a matter of time before Naylor received the call. Cleveland received very little production from Zunino and Gallagher thus far, while Naylor continued to perform after his demotion back down to AAA.
This time around, Naylor will look to stick for good in the Cleveland lineup. And for the Guardians, the move comes at a good time.
The Guardians are still in the thick of the race for the AL Central, as the Guardians are just 2.5 games out of first despite a 32-36 record. However, the Guardians’ woes at the plate have become an issue this season. Cleveland entered the day tied with the Mariners the seventh-worst OBP (.309) and third-worst OPS (.674) in the league.
Naylor can check two boxes, as he can hit for power and get on-base. Thus, it will be very interesting to see how the Guardians deploy the catcher in the lineup.