MLB Network has been publishing its series of Top 10 players right now: a positional overview of some of the best talent in the league.
They analyze the top players at a specific position, and then they conduct fan surveys to see what they think.
The fans then rank their top 10 players at a specific position.
It’s a fun offseason exercise as we wait for breaking news, impact trades, and free-agent signings.
The Cleveland Guardians haven’t been extremely popular in these exercises, even though they have perennial MVP candidate Jose Ramirez and Platinum Glove winner Andres Gimenez, among others.
Another omission on these lists prove that the Guardians’ hitters are unappreciated around the league.
Here are our 🔟 best first basemen right now!
— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) January 19, 2024
We had to check twice, but it’s true: Josh Naylor’s name is not on the list for first basemen.
He should, at the very least, appear on the backend of that group.
He is not better than Freddie Freeman, Bryce Harper, Matt Olson, Paul Goldschmidt, Yandy Diaz, Pete Alonso, or Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
That much is clear.
However, there is a strong case to be made that he could appear anywhere from No. 8 to 10.
Most numbers suggest he is at least as good as Brandon Belt, Christian Walker, and Triston Casas, even though the four are very close.
Belt has a long track record of success but doesn’t have a team.
Casas is about as productive as Naylor, but has only 2023 as his calling card.
Naylor was good in 2022 and great in 2023, with a .842 OPS, 31 doubles, 17 home runs, 10 stolen bases, and 97 RBI.
Perhaps if the Guardians offense improves as a unit, fans can start turning their attention to Naylor.