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Miami Marlins prospect profile of the week: Josh Naylor

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Josh Naylor is a prime prospect for the Miami Marlins. He already has big league power, some standard growth and refinement should result in a future Miami star.

MLB: All Star Game-All Star Futures Game Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Last week’s prospect profile update: Isaiah White

Nothing overly-noteworthy over the last week from Isaiah White. He had a couple of multi-hit games but has still been quiet on the basepaths, swiping only one bag over his last 10 games. Two areas White must stand out are OBP and stolen bases.

Josh Naylor was the Miami Marlin’s 1st-round draft pick in 2015 (12th overall). The pop off his bat and the distance the ball traveled was all the Marlins needed to make their decision. The left-hander’s skillful bat immediately placed him atop Miami’s prospect list; he has ranged from #1 to #3 since being drafted. Naylor’s prized talent had him selected to this year’s MLB Futures Game, a game recognizing baseball’s future stars. Naylor did not disappoint on the national stage, notching two hits and driving in a run. His contribution aided his team to an 11-3 victory.

Only 19-years-old, Naylor needs plenty of development. The bat is his only tool, and no matter how profound the tool is, he has a below average arm and below average speed. Being a left-handed thrower, the only position Naylor qualifies for is first base. He’s one of those guys that should hit everywhere he goes, but lacks in defensive ability, something that is of great importance in a National League organization.

Naylor is currently at Single-A Greensboro. With the Grasshoppers, he has a slash line of .254/.311/.426 with nine home runs and 47 RBI. He ranks 11th in both homers and RBI in the Southern Atlantic League. The power numbers are respectable, but not yet eye-popping. His OPS isn’t as high as he would probably like, but that will improve as his plate discipline improves. Naylor is not one to draw many walks, but he has also kept the strikeouts low.

Josh Naylor has drawn the comparison to Prince Fielder, although I think a lot of that has to do with them both being from Canada. He has more of a line drive swing than Fielder, but it makes sense from a power standpoint. I’d compare him to a more athletic Pablo Sandoval during his good days in San Francisco, from the left side of course. He projects as a middle of the order big league bat that could hit 30+ home runs a year if he fulfills his prophecy.

Naylor is probably two or three, maybe even four years away from big league status. It will take some time to learn 1st base, but as the old baseball saying goes, “if you can hit, you can play.” Naylor should definitely hit. 1st base has been a come and go position for the Marlins for a number of years, the red carpet should be laid out for Naylor assuming he progresses accordingly.