Naylor was acquired as part of the deal that sent and then reacquired Colin Rea. The 2015 first round pick was the highest ever drafted Canadian position player, and the highest drafted Canadian player since Adam Loewen was drafted fourth overall in 2002. While Naylor did not equal the success he had before the trade he was also the youngest player in the California League (turned 19 in June).
Naylor was nice enough to spare a few minutes to discuss the trade, his offseason plans, and next year with us.
San Diego is about as far away from Canada as possible. How have you adjusted to being so far away?
Josh Naylor: Canada is my home but this is my job. This is the best job in the world to have, and I don’t take it for granted. My goal is to make it to San Diego as quick as I can, and while I miss home, this is my job and where I play isn’t going to change the way I go about reaching my goal.
How did you feel when you first found out about the trade?
Josh Naylor: I was shocked at first. It is a total shock to your body. You hear about players being traded but when it happens to you, you quickly start thinking about where you’re going to go, move to, meet an entire new staff… But now that it has all happened, I couldn’t be happier to be a Padre, and am really excited for the future.
Not only did you come over here in a trade, but you were also promoted a level. What was it like for you adjusting to not only a new organization but a new league?
Josh Naylor: The one great thing is that baseball is baseball. You might face better pitching as you move through the levels, but the game is the same. I know I struggled early on with the Storm, but I kept telling myself that I am lucky to be getting paid to play a game that I would play for fun. I need to keep having fun and remember that it’s a job and the best way to get better is to practice.
Overall how would you grade your year?
Josh Naylor: I think it went ok. I could have done better, but I continued to improve. Even if the results were not always there, I was able to stay healthy and it was a great learning experience.
Based on your albeit gigantic stature you have first base locked up. Have you played other positions? How do you evaluate your defense at first?
Josh Naylor: In high school I would also pitch and play some outfield, but for the most part I have always played first. As far as defense is concerned, I have always been good at first, and I pride myself on my defense. I know there is hate, well more just like negative comments about me, saying that because of my weight I would not be able to continue to be as quick as I am defensively at first. So far though I am showing them that I am great defensively.
Because of your stature is speed part of the “every aspect of the game” that you wanted to work on?
Josh Naylor: Yes… It is not my main goal, but I have some speed. I stole 11 bags this past season, so pitchers know they have to respect my speed on the bases. It isn’t just about catching pitchers off guard, but if you know their move and can get a good jump… I have deceptive speed.
Is it more of a power aspect? Lifting weights? Seeing as how your biceps are bigger than my head how much do you bench?
Josh Naylor: Power is something that I really want to be a bigger part of my game. I know I have the power, but learning to hit the ball more with that power is probably my biggest goal for the offseason. As far as bench I will every once in a while but that is not my go to exercise. I really like doing dumbbell curls where I will do reps with 110 lb dumbbells in each arm.
What are your offseason plans?
Josh Naylor: Return home, and really work on getting better at every aspect of my game. I am not playing winter ball, but instead will use the time to hit the gym and get better. I have a trainer at home, and my brother’s work with me often to help get me better. I just really need to continue to get better at every aspect of my game.
Have a happy and safe offseason and we look forward to talking to you in Peoria for Spring Training.