Naylor Has Talent To Smooth Rough Spots

Drew Naylor has had back-to-back rough starts for Williamsport, but no need to worry. The Australian right-hander has plenty of weapons to pull himself past the obstacles.

Drew Naylor was almost too dominating at Williamsport early this season. You just figured that someone eventually had to get to him, especially based on the fact that his 2006 numbers in the Gulf Coast League weren't overly impressive. Well, finally, Naylor has hit a rough spot in his last two starts.

After posting a 0.62 ERA through his first four starts with the CrossCutters this season, Drew Naylor has watched his ERA jump over three points to 3.73 on the season. "I didn't have the fastball control that I did in my first few outings," said Naylor about his first taste of trouble in 2007. He was also victimized by balls that seemed to find the slightest of holes anywhere on the diamond, helping contribute to the rough night against Aberdeen as Naylor failed to go seven innings for the first time this season, lasting 5.2 innings. The same tough luck and fastball control continued this past Monday night when Naylor battled through six innings, giving up three earned runs before trouble really hit in the seventh when a couple of hard hit balls combined with a bunt single and a walk to give Hudson Valley four earned runs and end Naylor's night.

One of the Phillies celebrated signings out of Queensland, Australia, Naylor has had a lot to adjust to. First, is simply pitching. He pitched just four innings before signing with the Phillies, but was scouted heavily as a pitcher even though he had a batting average of over .400 as a first and third baseman. In fact, there were three other teams scouting Naylor as a pitcher and the Phillies beat out Toronto, Florida and Cleveland to sign Naylor. "The money factor is always a big part of it," said Naylor about why he signed with the Phillies. "I had a look around and saw the facilities they had and I really liked the Phillies, so I went with them."

The scouting report on Naylor is that he throws a fastball in the low 90s and has a strong curve that he uses to get hitters out. His location is generally good and he has the ability to be a pretty high strikeout pitcher, but with his control wavering in his last two starts, he's walked seven hitters in his last 12 innings. Scouts like Naylor's attitude and approach to the game. He's constantly poised and believes that it helps him on the mound. "It helps a lot. When you're the pitcher, everyone on the whole field is looking at you. If you look like a wreck then your teammates are going to have a little bit of doubt," believes Naylor. "If you look confident, then your team is going to be confident and you'll get those plays in the hole made for you."

Whether it's his Australian accent or his talent on the mound, fans in Williamsport have taken to Naylor this season. "The fans have been great," said Naylor. "If you're doing well, they really like you and if you're doing bad, they seem to like you, too." That will change should Naylor reach the big leagues and he knows it. "That's how this game is, so let's hope we can keep it going good."

Audio Extra: Drew Naylor was a guest on Philly Baseball News Radio heard on AM 1230 and 1320 in Easton, Pennsylvania. Hear his interview with Chuck Hixson, which was conducted on Saturday July 14, 2007.

Philly Baseball News Radio can be heard Saturday mornings at 9 on AM 1230 and 1320 in Easton, PA.

So, facing a struggle on the mound, does Naylor want to grab a bat and help contribute to the CrossCutters offense? "I'm happy where I am right now and have no regrets [about signing as a pitcher]. I would love to get in there, but I'm not so sure the coach would be real happy about that," laughed Naylor.

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