Josh Naylor brings enthusiasm and energy to a San Diego Padres team that is already full of characters. The left-handed hitter is getting comfortable in his surroundings and has shown advanced maturity at the plate and in the clubhouse.
Young outfielder Josh Naylor just entered the MLBpipeline Top 100 prospects list.
The Canadian native also made his debut last month and did so in Toronto. That was an awesome experience for Naylor and something that he will always hold close to his heart. His family and friends were at the game, and that made it even more special. “My family was with me in both cities. I spent a lot of time with them. My family and I had not been to New York, so we got to experience that together. I am glad we got to do all that,” Naylor tells EVT.
It can be rough for a young player in their first taste of major league action. Naylor admits it was a bit surreal at first, but he is showing a lot of potential and growth. “I am getting comfortable as each day goes by. I am just learning daily and striving to be the best player I can for this team. To help them in any way I can,” Naylor said intensely. He is driven and focused on soaking up all the information he can. The 21-year-old wants to improve.
Challenges are part of the game. You learn very early in playing the game of baseball that there is a lot of failures. You are also forced to adapt to get better and improve. Josh Naylor was drafted as a first baseman and played the position for the first few years of his minor league career. Then the San Diego Padres signed Eric Hosmer. With that, Naylor was challenged by the organization to learn to play the outfield. “It was a little tough at first. The transition was tough. I am learning how to play there daily. I am practicing daily out there, and that is a grind,” Naylor said. He speaks of his time last year on the Missions where he was thrown into the fire. “Last year with Wellman in San Antonio, it was tough. I am very thankful that he put me through everything and challenged me every day. I definitely learned a lot. I am just trying to be the best I can be out there,” Naylor said.
In his first two major league home runs, Naylor put on quite the show in the dugout. “I dunno, I am just trying to hype everyone up,” the outfielder said with a huge smile. “I am just getting everyone going and bringing some excitement to the team.” He is enthusiastic and young. Energy like that is welcomed in the Padres clubhouse.
The group of men the Padres have assembled has genuine respect for one another. They enjoy each other’s company. That is very clear. “Everyone loves everyone here, and we all want to see each other succeed and have fun. We have all one goal, and that is to make it to the playoffs and win a championship. We will get there if we have each other’s back and build that team comradery,” Naylor said seriously.
The left-handed slugger was a very aggressive hitter in the lower minors. Once he became more patient at the plate, he took off with the bat. “My first few years, I thought I could hit everything. I was stubborn. As I grew out of that and learned my zone, I figured out my strengths and what I can hit hard,” Naylor said. He has made several adjustments and feels more positive at the plate. “I am being very aggressively selective now. That is when my power took off. I am now swinging at pitches I can hit hard and not just pitches I can make contact with,” Naylor said proudly. A rational approach like that will only make him a better player. He excepts challenges in the game of baseball and grinds to get better. Josh Naylor has had that major league edge to his game since he was in the lower minors. He now exhibits that same attitude combined with a diligent approach. At 21, the sky is the limit for this young hitter.