Naylor brothers already looking like all-stars
Noah Naylor found himself rubbing elbows with Major League Baseball’s biggest stars while waiting to compete in the high school home run derby at Marlins Park on Monday.
The 17-year-old catcher from Mississauga was in awe as he chatted up Max Scherzer, Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and Salvador Perez. But as he stepped to the plate to take his home run hacks, he was more excited that his older brother, San Diego Padres prospect Josh Naylor, was there to cheer him on.
The older Naylor, in Miami to compete in Sunday’s MLB Futures Game, had been in Noah’s shoes three years earlier in the high school derby at Target Field.
“Josh was basically coaching me the whole way through,” Noah said from Miami a day after losing to Arizona’s Nolan Gorman in the derby final. “He helped make sure I enjoyed the experience, soaked it all in, just helped me understand that the most important part is to have fun and recognize where you are.
“This doesn’t come around every day, and he told me to just appreciate that.”
Noah was the third Canadian ever to compete in the high school version of the derby after Josh’s 2014 appearance and Toronto-born catcher Andrew Yerzy’s in 2015. All three made it past the eight-player semifinal and into the final round, which takes place during TV breaks at the MLB home run derby. Josh lost his final; Yerzy tied his.
Noah hit two homers Monday after crushing 15 in the semi at Marlins Park a day earlier. Josh was there for both rounds.
“I got chills from the bench,” Josh said Tuesday night from San Antonio, the home of San Diego’s double-A affiliate. “I was recording him and just saw his whole future in front of him. I’m so incredibly proud of him. It’s insane, he’s so special.”
The 20-year-old Josh, selected 12th overall by the Marlins in 2015 before being traded to the Padres, was the first Naylor to crack the professional ranks but likely not the last.
Noah, a standout on the junior national team and Ontario Blue Jays, is shaping up to be the top Canadian selected at the 2018 draft. Then there’s 12-year-old Myles, who had to miss his brothers’ allstar events for his own baseball tournament in Cooperstown, N.Y.
The Naylors inherited their passion for the sport from their father Chris, who coaches Myles’s team. Chris never played at a high level but made sure to enrol his kids in baseball when they were just three years old.
For Noah, the next big thing is playing in the Perfect Game AllAmerican Classic at Petco Park in August, the same premier high school event his brother competed in in 2014.
Josh will keep busy, too. The Padres promoted the burly first baseman from high-A to double-A Tuesday afternoon.