With their first round (29th overall) pick, the Cleveland Indians have selected C-3B Noah (Bo) Naylor.
Hometown: Mississauga, Ont.
Height/Weight: 5’ 11” 190 lbs.
College Commitment: Texas A&M University
Teams: Ontario Blue Jays, Canadian Junior National Team
Coaches: Mike Steed, Greg Hamilton
Previous teams: New York Yankees Scout Team, Canada PG Gold, Mississauga North Tigers
Previous coaches: Ray Fagnant, Chris Naylor, Shawn Travers
Most influential person in his baseball life, besides his father, Chris: His brother, Josh
Nickname: His big brother, Josh, a San Diego Padres prospect, used to call Noah "Noah-Boah" it was shortened to "Boah" and when he started playing baseball, Josh switched to "Bo" and the name stuck to the point where teammates, coaches and friends call him "Bo."
Twitter Handle: @NoahNaylor12
Slot Money: $2,332,700
Scout: Mike Kanen
Scouting grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 55 | Run: 40 | Arm: 55 | Field: 45 | Overall: 50
The younger brother of Padres first base prospect Josh Naylor, Noah has a similar offensive profile to his sibling, but with one difference in his overall game: his ability to catch. His combination of a power bat and power arm were on display over the summer and was watched carefully when the Canadian high schoolers started playing this spring.
The power bat was definitely on display at Marlins Park in Miami as Major League Baseball’s All-Star Break commenced. On the Sunday morning before the Futures Game his brother would play in, Naylor out-homered top prospect Nolan Gorman in the annual High School Home Run Derby and got to take hacks in between rounds of the big league derby. In game action, he’s shown an advanced feel to hit, giving him the chance to hit for average and power. His defensive game is a bit behind his bat, outside of his arm, which is a plus tool that helps control a running game. To show he can stick behind the plate, he’ll have to improve his overall receiving skills, with many scouts seeing strides in his defensive work this spring.
Naylor did play some third base during the Area Code Games and showed some agility there, and there’s always the chance he could join his brother among the first base ranks. The team that takes him early will likely give him every chance to catch at the next level.
This year's high school draft class features three potential first day picks in Canada's Noah Naylor and the Georgia duo of Will Banfield and Anthony Seigler, all three 2017 Perfect Game All-Americans. That is a rarity for the draft, where teams tend to shy away from the high school catcher demographic due to complexities of the position.
The key for all three of these catchers is that they are premium athletes in addition to their playing catcher and none is more athletic than the 6-foot, 195-pound lefthanded hitting Naylor. One senses that that distinction has put him in position to be the first high school catcher to hear his name on June 4.
The big question with young catchers, and also shortstops, is whether they can stay at the position defensively as they mature physically and as the game speeds up. Because of Naylor's exceptional athleticism and lefthanded hitting ability, that doesn't seem to be an issue and there is plenty of talk that Naylor might actually be better suited to play third base in order to preserve that offensive potential and athleticism.
Although his physique certainly fits that of a young catcher, Naylor is surprisingly quick in his lower body actions and light on his feet. His 6.62-second 60-yard dash time at the 2017 PG National Showcase was eye opening but really not as eye opening as watching him take infield drills at shortstop at multiple events last summer. Naylor brings that athleticism to his work behind the plate but watching his infield actions made it obvious to any observer that he was more than a catcher.
Being able to swing a potent lefthanded bat certainly helps, too. Naylor has a very adjustable swing that enables him to both turn on balls to the pull side with authority or to drive them to the middle and left side of the diamond. He sees the ball extremely well at the plate and has that ability to be patient and yet explosive at the same time.
Bloodlines certainly don't hurt in this sport, either. While his older brother, Josh, is a very different type of athlete with a much bigger frame and less pure athleticism, they are not dissimilar as hitters. Josh Naylor was always known for his big lefthanded power at the same age but he also had that ability to see the ball, wait on balls then explode to all fields . . . While the odds are against younger brother going 12th overall like older brother, the odds are much better than they were a couple of months ago.
2018 season: Dominican Summer League Trip with Junior National Team (JNT): Single and a walk against DSL Rays ... Two-run double facing DSL Twins ... Doubled against DSL Brewers ... Singled against DSL Brewers ... Two-run triple against DSL Mets ... Singled against the DSL Phillies ... Singled against DSL Tigers ... Extended Spring with JNT: Singled against Astros ... Doubled against independent Fort Lauderdale Stars ... Doubled, singled in intra-squad contest ... Batted .176 with two doubles, .612 OPS ... Spring Training with JNT: Doubled in two runs in intra-squad game ... Hit .176 (3-for-17) with six walks, .770 OPS, two strikeouts ... Had two hits and knocked in a run against the Tigers ... Four at-bats against Toronto Blue Jays with three walks ... Best player at The Athlete's Matrix in Mississauga
2017 season: World Juniors in Thunder Bay with JNT: Two doubles, one RBI batted .313, with .838 OPS ... JNT Selection camp series at Ajax: Doubled, knocked in five runs and hit .321 with a .941 OPS ... National Showcase: 1.78 pop time (tied for second) ... Ran 6.62 60 (7th) ... 1.49 10-yard split (tied for 3rd) ... 82 catcher velocity (3rd) ... INF velocity 91 MPH (tied for 9th) ... All-American Games: Single, stolen base ... Two run double ... Exit velocity 92 MPH (13th tied) 1.85 pop time ... 82 catcher velocity (1st) ... Perfect Game WWBA National Championship: In a 2-2 count he shortened his swing, got the barrel to the ball and shot a pitch up the middle for a line drive single ... Jr. National Showcase: Had booming triple to centre ... Ran 6.93 60 (52nd) ... 1.87 pop time (tied for 5th) ... Competed at Area Codes Games in Long Beach ... Dominican summer trip with JNT: Two RBIs against the Mariners ... Run-scoring single against the Astros ... Batted .195 (8-for-41) with a double, triple, 10 RBIs and a .582 OPS ...Extended Spring Training with JNT: Hit .379 with three doubles, seven RBIs and a .983 OPS ... Spring Training with JNT: Threw out a Braves runner and had two hits ... Run-scoring single against the Blue Jays ... Singled facing the Jays ... RBI single vs. the Braves ... Hit .136 with .208 OPS.
2017 Honours: Under Armour All-American (one of first nine named to July game at Wrigley Field) ... PG Underclass All Americans/All Regions First Team ... All Tournament Team Ontario Blue Jays 2017 WWBA 2018 Grads or 17U National Championship ... All Tournament Team Ontario Blue Jays 2017 WWBA World Championship
Honours 2016: PG Underclass All Americans/All Regions High Honorable Mention ... Earned all-tourney honours at World Wood Bat in Jupiter hitting.286 (4-for-14) with a double, .732 OPS