If you hadn’t heard by now, the San Diego Padres have arguably the best farm system in all of baseball. Absolutely loaded with talent, some lower level Padres prospects could be considered high-end talent for other teams across the league.
Josh Naylor is one of those guys.
Currently the 16th-ranked prospect for the Padres, the Canadian first baseman has the talent and power to become an absolute stud at the big league level. In 439 at bats last season, Naylor posted a .280/.346/.415 batting line between both High-A Lake Elsinore and Double-A San Antonio, and blasted ten home runs while driving in 64 runs.
Mostly known for his power, Naylor has started to impress some scouts with his overall ability to hit the ball. He spreads the ball well to all parts of the field and makes constant hard contact with the ball. Increased patience at the plate has boosted Naylor’s walk rate and lowered his strikeouts, a promising sign for a prototypical power-hitting first baseman.
Defensively speaking, Naylor is surprisingly good with the glove. His build isn’t ideal for a major league first baseman as he is a little undersized, but Naylor is a good athlete for his body type and can hold his own at first base. The Padres have also been giving him reps as an outfielder in hopes that Naylor could potentially transition into a corner outfield spot, but athletically speaking, there could be some struggles there. While Josh Naylor is a phenomenal player, there is one huge problem that lies within him and making it to Petco Park: Eric Hosmer.
The Padres just signed the former World Series champion to an eight-year deal, making him the franchise first baseman and solidifying his spot there as long as he is on the team. So, what does Naylor’s future hold?
There is always the possibility that he could transition to somewhere else.
While Naylor does profile the best as a first baseman, the team is experimenting with him as an outfielder and possibly giving him reps there in spring training. There is a possibility that Naylor also plays some outfield positions during the regular season for whichever minor league club he ends up on.
If a transition isn’t made, or it doesn’t go well, I would expect the Padres to trade Josh Naylor in order to bring some starting pitching in. As mentioned earlier, Naylor could potentially be one of the top prospects for multiple farm systems across the league and could net a solid return for the Padres. While he is good enough to play first base at the major league level, an American League team could be seriously interested in bringing Naylor onto their team to just be a pure hitter and let him unleash his offensive potential on major league pitching. This is surely the most likely thing to happen, as the Padres front office realizes that they could net quite a big return for a prospect like Josh Naylor.
Whether he makes a career for himself with the Padres, or another team, Josh Naylor is going to be a phenomenal player at the next level. Combining his power with an advanced offensive approach and being able to hold his own defensively, Naylor is surely going to have a successful professional career.