Nay­lor broth­ers al­ready looking like all-stars

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - MELISSA COUTO

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.

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