Naylor goes DEEP twice for Triple-A Columbus

September 27th, 2022

With the game already out of hand in the eighth inning, asked teammate David Fry what he should do in his next at-bat. After a brief exchange of banter, Fry told the 22-year-old to look for something inside and hit it out of the park. The advice worked.

Naylor blasted a two-run roundtripper, his second of the game, part of a three-hit, five-RBI night as Triple-A Columbus romped Indianapolis, 17-1, at Huntington Park on Monday night.

"We were just kind of joking around before that at-bat and I told him, 'Hey, you're a good hitter. I trust you. What should my approach be next time I go up? Whatever you say I'll do it,'" Naylor said. "And when I came back to the dugout after that we had a moment, and I think that just kind of sums up the night."

The Clippers scored 17 runs on 19 hits and six home runs. Every Columbus starter recorded at least one knock and all but one scored at least one run.

"I think we all fed off of each other tonight," the fifth-ranked Guardians prospect said. "Especially me with all the guys."

In the opening frame, Naylor followed a two-run jack from Cleveland's fourth-ranked prospect with a hard-hit single into right -- quickly extending his hitting streak to five games. The backstop advanced to second on a wild pitch from Indians starter Osvaldo Bido, but Naylor was stranded there following a groundout and back-to-back strikeouts.

With a pair of runners on in the fourth, MLB's No. 76 overall prospect took a 1-2 hanging breaking ball from lefty Cam Alldred and hammered it the other way for a two-run dinger. The ball smacked off the scoreboard in right and started a six-run frame for the Clippers. Fry was up next and went back-to-back with his teammate.

"It definitely makes it a lot easier, mentally, when you see guys succeed. It makes you want to jump on that train and keep it going," Naylor said. "Every time I went up there, I just wanted to start something or keep something going, and I think we did a heck of a job keeping that rally going throughout the game and feeding off of each other."

In the eighth, Columbus posted another six-run inning. This time it wasn't Naylor who started the scoring but capped it. The 2018 first-round Draft selection, with his friend's advice, didn't just hit a home run, he hit a ball off the roof in right and it bounced into the Olentangy River for a three-run tater -- his 15th at Triple-A and 21st of the year.

"I think the biggest thing for me is not trying to get too big, just stay within myself, get a good swing and hit the ball hard," Naylor said. "But man, that was just an awesome moment. Things like that keep the game fun and keep it competitive for us, and it's definitely a story I'm going to have for a long time."

Through 65 games with Columbus, Naylor is batting .256/.361/.517 with 31 extra-base hits, 47 RBIs and 42 runs scored. Over 117 total contests on the year, the lefty-swinger has posted a .262/.390/.498 slash line with four triples, 26 doubles, 71 runs scored, 68 RBIs and 20 stolen bases on 24 attempts.

Naylor is 8-for-22 with three homers, one double, nine RBIs and four runs scored over his current five-game hitting streak. It was the second multihomer game of the month for the slugger, who went deep twice on Sept. 6 against Louisville.