Cleveland Guardians slugger Josh Naylor is one of the most important players on the team.
When he is healthy, his ability to log extra-base hits and drive in runs is very much appreciated in an organization that doesn’t have too many above-average hitters.
When he is out with injury, you can see that the Guardians have a hard time scoring runs with any kind of consistency.
He became the most recent recipient of the James “Tip” O’Neill Award, the team announced via Twitter.
You’ve earned this, Nayls.
— Cleveland Guardians (@CleGuardians) December 7, 2023
The recognition is given every year to a Canadian baseball player who is “judged to have excelled in individual achievement and team contribution while adhering to the highest ideals of the game of baseball.”
The Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame was credited with its creation and has been given to players since 1984.
James “Tip” O’Neill was one of the true first Canadian stars in MLB, back in the 1880s and 1890s.
O’Neill played from 1883 to 1892 and hit .334/.399/.464 with 52 career home runs and a .863 OPS.
He scored 880 runs in his MLB tenure.
Naylor had a season to remember in 2023, even though injuries limited him to 121 games.
He slashed a cool .308/.354/.489 with 31 doubles, 17 home runs, 97 RBI, and a .842 OPS.
He also chipped in 10 stolen bases and became a noted middle-of-the-order producer in Cleveland.
Naylor is one of the few offensive building blocks currently on the roster, so keeping him healthy and productive should be one of the organizational priorities heading into the 2024 campaign.
It’s always glad to see his work recognized.