Tag: Naylor

Noah Naylor selected in the first round of the 2018 draft

Major League Baseball’s first-year player draft began on Monday night and with the 29th pick of the first round, the Cleveland Indians made Ontario Blue Jays catcher and infielder Noah Naylor the highest Canadian Premier Baseball League player taken in the selection process in its three-year history. 

Ranking among the best high school players eligible for the draft throughout the months leading up to the event – also committed to the Texas A & M Aggies – the native of Mississauga and Team Canada mainstay was also the first player from the entire country taken in the 2018 process, and the only Canadian selected on the opening night of the draft.

“He’s really ready,” Baseball Canada’s director of national teams Greg Hamilton said of Naylor. “He plays the game with an ease to it, he doesn’t get too high and he doesn’t get too low…He plays very consistent and very determined and very level. There is a fire in there…

“He’s got everything that you’re looking for – he slows the game down offensively and defensively, he’s a special hitter, he’s a different hitter than his brother, but he’s going to be a really good hitter and a really good player.” 

Naylor’s first-round selection follows the 2015 draft, when the Miami Marlins took his older brother Josh – also a graduate of the Ontario Blue Jays and Canadian Junior National Team programs – in the first round with the 12th pick. 

“I have been gifted with some amazing coaches and amazing players as teammates to play with, so I’m definitely going to miss that, whichever way I go,” the younger Naylor said during the off-season. “I’m going to take the time I have with them and make the most of it and play every day like it’s my last with these guys.”


In the second season of the CPBL last year, Toronto Mets right-hander and native of Pickering, Ont., Landon Leach was the first Canuck off the board, selected with the first pick of the second round by the Minnesota Twins, 37th overall. The righty signed for $1,400,000 and is currently at extended spring training in Fort Myers, Florida. 

Great Lake Canadians shortstop Adam Hall quickly followed Leach in the draft, when the Baltimore Orioles chose the Bermuda-born Londoner with the 60th overall pick, also in the second round. Hall is also currently at extended spring training, in Sarasota, after signing for $1,300,000.   

Ontario Blue Jays outfielder and Mississauga’s own Cooper Davis was chosen by his hometown Toronto Blue Jays in the 25th round and was the 15th Canuck chosen, 759th overall. In the fall, Davis fulfilled his commitment to Vanderbilt University in Nashville and is currently headed to the super regional round of the College World Series with his team. 

Dondrae Bremner, a Toronto native and shortstop in the Mets program, was selected by the Cincinnati Reds in the 31st round of the draft, 917th overall, as the 17th player from north of the border whose name was called. Bremner fulfilled his commitment to Cincinnati, where he just finished his freshman season. 


The four CPBL players selected last year follows the inaugural season of the league, in which 12 Canadian high schoolers were chosen in the draft, and all six hailing from Ontario coming from the CPBL. Toronto Mets catcher Andrew Yerzy was the first one off the board in 2016, selected by the Diamondbacks in the second round, 52nd overall, and eventually signing for $1,214,100. 

Ontario Blue Jays righty Jordan Balazovic was taken in the fifth round two years ago, 153rd overall, by Minnesota, eventually signing for $515,000. OBJ catcher Luke Van Rycheghem was chosen by Arizona in the 23rd round and signed for $100,000. Mets southpaw Matt Jones was taken by the Twins in the 28th round and signed for $70,000. 

Great Lake right-hander Austin Shields was selected by the Pirates organization in the 33rd round of the 2016 draft and signed for $205,000 just before the deadline. His Canadians teammate and outfielder Jake Wilson was taken in the 39th round by the Red Sox, and opted to fulfill his commitment to Bowling Green State University, where he has already earned a number of accolades through his freshman and sophomore seasons. 

Noah Naylor enters final summer with Blue Jays and Team Canada

The final countdown is on for Noah Naylor.

Entering his last summer with the Ontario Blue Jays and Canadian Junior National Team programs, the country’s top high school position-playing prospect is grateful for everything he’s been afforded through the process and is excited about what more lay ahead. 

“I’m very thankful to have been part of such a special team,” Naylor said. “I have been gifted with some amazing coaches and amazing players as teammates to play with, so I’m definitely going to miss that, whichever way I go. I’m going to take the time I have with them and make the most of it and play every day like it’s my last with these guys. 

“As of now, I’m just playing my game, working hard, and trying to make the best future I can possibly make for myself. Whichever way I go, whatever happens after the draft, I know it’s going to be a positive decision on my part so I’m just looking forward to it. I’m not trying to put too much pressure on myself. I’m looking forward to the process.” 

It’s been multiple years – and a variety of high-profile showcase tournaments and games – since the 18-year-old got his start with Team Canada, and since he made his collegiate commitment to the Texas A&M Aggies, and now that the last few months before this year’s draft process, and next season’s college recruits report to their respective schools are here, it seems as though it’s gone by in a flash. 

“Looking back at it now, it’s definitely gone pretty quick,” the Mississauga native said. “But I’ve done a pretty good job of taking everything I can from all those showcases and just doing what I can to have fun. That’s something I like to do with my game, just make sure I’m having fun with it. So although it’s gone pretty fast, I’m thankful I got these opportunities and I’m glad I’m moving forward.” 

Three years ago, another Naylor was in the same position, when Noah’s older brother Josh was preparing for Major League Baseball’s selection process as Canada’s top high school position player. Before Josh was made the 12th overall pick in the draft by the Miami Marlins, however, the process was a painstakingly slow one for the older Naylor. 

“Honestly it was really slow; it wasn’t fast at all,” Josh said. “It was really slow and I wish every day was quicker than what it was, because I would think about it all day and night. That’s anything thing I would change. 

“I should have not – not necessarily not cared but – paid as much attention to it, and maybe paid more attention to being with my family or doing something else to take the time to get out of my head, because it will eat you away and kill you inside if you think about it too much.” 

This time around, time is flying for Josh as he watches every move his brother makes, from near when he can and from afar as he continues his journey up the minor league ladder, currently with the Double-A San Antonio Missions in the San Diego Padres organization. 

“It’s going very fast watching Noah, especially because I’m not in it,” Josh said. “It’s going very fast and I think he realizes that too, so he feels a lot of pressure. When I’m with him, I try not to take about anything baseball-related because I don’t want him to go down the wrong road and start thinking too much and then his baseball game goes bad, but it is going extremely fast with him.” 

Noah is grateful for the experiences his brother has had, and everything he has shared in an attempt to make things easier for the younger Naylor as he goes through a similar process. 

“My brother Josh always tells me to have fun with it; it’s the most important part of it all,” Noah said. “Just stick to your game and whatever happens, happens. You can’t control everything that goes on with your career, so the stuff that you can control, just make sure you’re doing whatever you can to make your game better on and off the field.” 

Added Josh: “I’m extremely excited for him. I don’t want to think about it too much or talk to him about it too much or bring it up in family conversations because I don’t want him to feel any pressure. I just want him, on the day of [the draft] to relax and not get too anxious or worry too much about the things that can happen and can’t happen, because you can only control what you can control. It’s all about relaxing and if he goes where he should, then he does, and if he doesn’t, it’s not the end of the world.” 

A mainstay in the Canadian Junior National Team lineup both behind the dish and at the hot corner, the catcher and infielder has left a strong impression on his teammates and coaches, who can’t wait to see what more is in store for the young Naylor. 

“He’s really ready,” Baseball Canada’s director of national teams Greg Hamilton said. “He plays the game with an ease to it, he doesn’t get too high and he doesn’t get too low…He plays very consistent and very determined and very level. There is a fire in there, it’s just not necessarily extroverted, but it’s there. 

“He’s got everything that you’re looking for – he slows the game down offensively and defensively, he’s a special hitter, he’s a different hitter than his brother, but he’s going to be a really good hitter and a really good player.” 

Spending time both with and around the Ontario Blue Jays program for the majority of his life, the staff and players within Naylor’s local organization are also patiently waiting for the upcoming season to unfold. 

“It’s been a long time, and probably the last four or five yeas have been kind of just waiting for this year,” OBJ president and director of player development Sean Travers said. “He’s always been a special player and a special kid, and nothing has changed. He works his butt off, he’s still a really humble and great kid, and it’s fun to watch him do all of these things. 

“I’m sure he feels pressure, but to be able to go out there with a smile on his face and compete and just be Noah, he hasn’t changed. I’ve known him for 10 or 11 years and he hasn’t changed at all; he’s the same Noah as when we started. He’s always been super confident but also super humble, and the hardest worker in the building.” 

With his time as a Blue Jay and junior team member coming to a close, Naylor is looking forward to making his mark and helping the next group of players as they move forward and into his shoes. 

“We’ve got a younger group of guys now, so I’m going to try to help guide them to be the best that they can be,” he said. “Obviously me being with the Junior National Team for quite some time now, I’ve definitely learned a lot of things, so passing that down to the next generation is definitely something I’m going to do, just try to make everybody better and understand that Baseball Canada is a very unique program, so it’s a gift to be a part of this whole process. Have fun with it and take whatever you can away from that experience.” 

Naylor comes home for Tournament 12

Noah Naylor is coming home.

Following a whirlwind summer of showcase baseball, travelling from coast to coast south of the border, matching up against some of the top competition for next year’s draft, and taking the spotlight on a number of major league stages, the 17-year-old catcher is finishing his season in front of friends and family right in his own backyard.

Highlighting the list of young players in attendance, the Mississauga native will take centre stage at the fifth-annual Tournament 12, an event Naylor will be participating in for the third time. The showcase will follow his first appearance at a U18 Baseball World Cup, where Team Canada plays host in Thunder Bay, Ont., to squads from around the world.

“I look forward to T12 every year,” Naylor said. “Playing at a big-league ballpark, Rogers Centre, I love the park. I’ve been around it for a while, but playing in that event, around some great talent, and being around some great coaches, it’s definitely something to look forward to each year, getting different opinions and advice, and meeting new people. I’m going to try to make the most of this one.”

The Blue Jays-hosted event will bring the backstop’s summer season to an end, after appearances at other big league stadiums like Wrigley Field for the Under Armour All-America Game, Petco Park for the Perfect Game All-American Classic, and Marlins Park for Major League Baseball’s High School Home Run Derby during the All-Star Game festivities, among an array of other events, games with the Ontario Blue Jays, and trips with the Canadian Junior National Team.

“This summer has been crazy,” Naylor said. “You’re on a plane every other day. I mean, I look forward to every event, and all of them were very fun and I was thankful to be a part of them. It was a great summer, and especially being able to just spend it with my dad [Chris], travelling with him, it’s something I’ll always remember.”

Away from the rest of his family for much of the summer, Naylor was grateful for the time with his father, as well as a visit from his older brother Josh – also a former Tournament 12 participant, and the Marlins’ 12th-overall pick in the 2015 draft – who ventured to Petco Park to see his little brother while he was close by playing in the California League. His mom Jenice, as well as his aunt, grandmother and cousin were all able to make it to Marlins Park for the derby, also there to see  Josh represent Canada and the Padres in the Futures Game at the same time.

“The only thing that they were able to go to was the home run derby in Miami,” Naylor said of his whole family, though his little brother Myles missed out on Marlins Park, playing in Cooperstown at the time. “That was about it. But that was great, having not just my whole family there, but my Canadian family as well, like [2015 first-rounder Mike] Soroka and [2016’s eighth-overall pick Cal] Quantrill [both Futures Game participants] behind me while I was hitting, hearing them yell and cheering me on. It was a great feeling.”

Among the events the left-handed hitting catcher experienced this year, Naylor most enjoyed taking centre stage at the home of the Marlins, where he led the first round of derby competition with 15 home runs, got to watch his brother and fellow Canadians compete in the Futures Game, and spent some time talking to big leaguers and all-stars Aaron Judge, Miguel Sano, Salvador Perez and Max Scherzer during MLB’s Home Run Derby.

“The home run derby was definitely a highlight of the summer, overall, that was just an amazing experience,” Naylor said. “And to be able to watch Josh play as well, in the Futures Game, that was fun. Also, I can’t really pick one over the other, but playing in both the Under Armour All-America Game, and at the Perfect Game [event in San Diego], I was very honoured to have been selected for that. Being part of that is something that I’ll take with me forever…

“I had never been to Wrigley or Petco before, and that was amazing. They gave us first-class treatment, and being part of that is indescribable. And going back to Marlins Park [after having been there when Josh originally signed with Miami], definitely reliving another moment, but this time it was for me. I loved everything about it. That was amazing. Being around the big league guys, it was unreal.”

Looking forward to finishing the summer on home soil in Thunder Bay and at Rogers Centre, Team Canada is equally excited to have the 5-foot-11, 190-pound hitter on the squad. And while comparisons have been and will continue to be drawn to his older brother, Greg Hamilton, Baseball Canada’s director of national team, appreciates both the similarity and differences the younger Naylor brings to the table.

“Noah brings a lot to the team,” Hamilton said. “He slows the game down, he plays under control, he plays with confidence, he’s a good, complete hitter, he gives you a good at-bat. I look at him as a good hitter with some power, as opposed to his brother, whose power kind of defined him but he was also so good hitter. I see the inverse with Noah, being a good hitter with some power. Your eyes don’t pop out with the power, where with Josh it was the power.

“They’re different personalities too. One’s going to run overtop of you and step on you to beat you, and the other competes very well. With Josh it was a vicious competitive streak, and a good kid outside of it but he was going to be a real tough, hard-nosed kid on the field. Noah plays pretty level, and plays with ease, and he has a more laid-back type personality, but he has a really good chance to be a really good hitter.”

While the younger Naylor enjoys having a sibling he can glean advice from, and who knows exactly the kinds of situations he is facing, he wants to forge a path of his own as he moves forward, though the Texas A&M commit isn’t quite sure what direction that might take him.

“I’m still in the midst of creating my own identity,” Naylor said. “Having Josh going through this whole thing before me has been helpful. He’s told me about all of his experiences, and I’m just trying to make it all my own and build my career around me, and give thanks to everybody who’s helped along the way.”

Growing up as a player with the Ontario Blue Jays, and entering his third year with Team Canada, Naylor is grateful to each program for its contributions to his evolution as a player, both on and off the field.

“I owe a lot to both teams, the Ontario Blue Jays and Team Canada,” he said. “The coaching staffs, they’ve definitely played a big part in my game and helping me become the player I am today. I’m very thankful for everybody who’s been a part of my journey, and I’ll always be thankful for that.”

Sean Travers, director of player development for the OBJ program, has seen firsthand the growth and progress in Naylor over the past decade, and couldn’t be more proud of the player and young man he’s become.

“Noah always shows people, if they say he can’t do something, he goes and does it,” Travers said. “He’s one of the most humble kids I’ve ever been around with this kind of fanfare, but his confidence is on another level. He’s thankful for every opportunity he gets, he takes advantage, and he doesn’t take things for granted. He really appreciates everything that happens for him…He’s just a special kid with special ability, who doesn’t take anything for granted, and he’s one of the hardest workers I’ve ever been around.”

Heading into next year as Canada’s top draft prospect, Naylor has been on the radar north of the border for some time, and has shown exactly what got him there and why that’s where he should stay.

“From the beginning, he received and caught the baseball well, relatively speaking for his age and this level,” Hamilton said. “He caught the ball with ease and soft hands and balance, and young catchers tend not to catch the ball. That’s the No. 1 prerequisite as a catcher, and right from the start he was able to catch the ball with balance and ease and comfort.

“It’s one thing to me that more than anything, shows that he could stay back there. And he’s got arm strength, he’s just working on the release and getting consistency as the arm strength is there. He works on release and consistency of throws, and doesn’t try to do too much, and the arm is going to play. It’s a position where you’d like to see him stay.”

Beyond his final Tournament 12, his last several months with the OBJ program, and as a member of Canada’s junior team, Naylor will look to continue impressing all those around him, and have a blast doing it.

“I’m just going to live day by day on the field and see what happens,” he said. “Every time I’m on the field I look forward to showing everybody what I have, and I’m just having so much fun playing the game.”