There is a Bo that many of you know. This is not that Bo.
I would also like to take a moment at the top of this article to articulate my frustration at the precipitous plummeting of Bo Naylor in these rankings.
Naylor is 21 but will turn 22 during the 2022 season. Hailing from Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, Naylor grew up playing hockey with his older and younger brothers. Despite coming from a cold climate where year-round baseball is impossible and picking up the sport much later than most of his peers, Naylor slapped a fancy .274/.381/.402 at age 18 in rookie ball. Cleveland liked this so much that he skipped Low-A entirely and proceeded to slash .243/.313/.421. For league context, this was a wRC+ of 110 at the position of catcher.
Cleveland sent Naylor directly to Double-A for 2021, making High-A the second level of the system that he skipped entirely. This time Covid considerations came into play, but it is highly unusual for a team to be so confident in a young catcher’s defense that they consistently send him to call games for much more advanced prospects. Do not lose sight of this.
Are there concerns about Bo Naylor’s bat after 2021? Yes, but I have absolutely no idea why. This is a multi-sport athlete that fairly recently decided to specialize in baseball. He plays the most demanding defensive position but also possesses the athleticism to stroke ten triples, ten homers, and swipe ten bags in a minor league season.
All of which is to remind you that if Bo Naylor does continue to struggle with pitch recognition and strikeouts at the higher levels of the minors, Cleveland probably doesn’t care that much. Pitchers in the Guardians system rave about Naylor’s game-calling ability — not in the sense of “he’s great for his age,” but more along the lines of “I rely on this guy”.
And so the bat will be the thing to watch this year. Double-A is often the most difficult leap for a prospect to make. Naylor made it there at an extremely difficult position while remaining three years younger than his average league-mate while skipping the subsequent level. We expect some struggle in this situation.
It’s all in how a guy responds to early adversity.
Peyton Battenfield, RHP (Age 24)
2021 (A+): 31.0 IP, 6 GS, 42.2 K%, 4.3 BB%, 1.45 ERA, 1.93 FIP
2021 (AA): 72.0 IP, 13 GS, 29.1 K%, 5.0 BB%, 3.00 ERA, 3.47 FIP
Acquired from Tampa Bay in the Jordan Luplow trade, Battenfield has elite strikeout-to-walk ratios and helped lead Akron to a Double-A championship in 2021
Jorge Burgos, OF (Age 20)
2021 (CPX): 123 PA, .353/.463/.461, 0 HR, 4 SB, 14.6 BB%, 21.1 K%, 153 wRC+
2021 (A): 100 PA, .293/.350/.446, 1 HR, 2 SB, 8.0 BB%, 19.0 K%, 116 wRC+
A 2019 international free agent signing, made an immediate impact upon his assignment to Single-A Lynchburg.
Tanner Burns, RHP (Age 23)
2021 (A+): 75.2 IP, 18 GS, 28.9 K%, 9.2 BB%, 3.57 ERA, 4.35 FIP
A second-round pick in 2019 who put up a rock-solid season at High-A in 2021 with above average strikeout totals and a reasonable walk rate. A workhorse last year.
Xzavion Curry, RHP (Age 23)
2021 (A): 25.1 IP, 5 GS, 40.4 K%, 4.3 BB%, 1.07 ERA, 2.08 FIP
2021 (A+): 67.2 IP, 13 GS, 29.6 K%, 4.4 BB%, 2.66 ERA, 3.99 FIP
2021 (AA): 4.2 IP, 1 GS, 25.0 K%, 0.0 BB%, 3.86 ERA, 6.94 FIP
A 2019 seventh-round pick who made his pro debut in 2021, Curry soared through three levels of Cleveland’s system while posting elite strikeout to walk ratios along the way.
Oscar Gonzalez, OF (Age 24)
2021 (AA): 188 PA, .330/.367/.601, 13 HR, 1 SB, 5.5 BB%, 18.1 K%, 159 wRC+
2021 (AAA): 290 PA, .269/.305/.503, 18 HR, 0 SB, 3.6 BB%, 24.9 K%, 111 wRC+
He doesn’t walk, he strikes out at a decent clip, but he mashes. Led all Cleveland position players in both hits and home runs in 2021.
Isaiah Greene, OF (Age 20)
2021 (CPX): 191 PA, .289/.421/.368, 1 HR, 5 SB, 18.3 BB%, 22.0 K%, 120 wRC+
Acquired as part of the Francisco Lindor trade last year, made his pro debut in the Guardians’ Florida complex.
Angel Martinez, INF (Age 20)
2021 (A): 424 PA, .241/.319/.382, 7 HR, 13 SB, 10.1 BB%, 20.8 K%, 92 wRC+
An advanced switch-hitting middle infielder who has the potential to be the best of Cleveland’s many advanced switch-hitting middle infielders down the road.
Tobias Myers, RHP (Age 23)
2021 (AA): 59.2 IP, 10 GS, 34.2 K%, 4.2 BB%, 3.32 ERA, 3.08 FIP
2021 (AAA): 58.0 IP, 12 GS, 26.9 K%, 7.4 BB%, 4.50 ERA, 4.57 FIP
Acquired from Tampa Bay as a 40-man roster crunch casualty, Myers already found success at Triple-A at an age where several of Cleveland’s most advanced pitchers were in Single-A.
Doug Nikhazy, LHP (Age 22)
2021: Drafted 58th overall in the 2021 MLB Draft
Lefty with a fastball-curveball-cutter-changeup mix with a higher floor, but perhaps a lower ceiling.
Who should be the No. 17 prospect for 2022?
This poll is closed