MARLINS SIGN FIRST-ROUND PICK JOSH NAYLOR
Club Has Now Signed Top 15 Picks from 2015 Draft Class
MIAMI – The Miami Marlins today Thursday that the club has signed Canadian first baseman Josh Naylor, who was the 12th overall pick in the 2015 MLB First-Year Player Draft. The announcement was made by Marlins Vice President of Scouting Stan Meek.
Naylor, 18, is a graduate of St. Joan of Arc Catholic Secondary School in Mississauga, Ontario and played his baseball over the last four years with the Canadian Junior National team and the Ontario Blue Jays amateur program. He has been assigned to the Gulf Coast League Marlins.
His selection at 12th overall was the highest ever for a Canadian position player in Draft history, and the fifth-highest for any Canadian player. It was the first time the Marlins selected a Canadian player in the first round, and the first time overall since INF Terrence Dayleg (Surrey, BC) in Round 22 (#668 overall) in 2009.
With the Junior National team, Naylor traveled to play in Korea, Australia, Mexico, Taiwan, Cuba, Italy, the Dominican Republic, and the United States over the last four years. Traveling the United States with Ontario to play against Division 1 & 2 college programs in the fall of 2013 and 2014, he combined to hit .449 (83-for-185) in 56 games, with 23 doubles, 15 home runs, 62 RBIs, a .518 on-base percentage, and an .838 slugging percentage.
Naylor was named a 2015 Perfect Game 1st Team All-American this year, as well as a Canada/Puerto Rico All-Regional 1st Team selection. Last year, he was named to the Perfect Game Underclass 1st Team, and in 2013 he was an Underclass High Honorable Mention. He participated in the 2014 International Power Showcase Home Run Derby at Marlins Park, where he won the “Spirit of Babe Ruth” Award, presented to the participant who shows “Ability, Strength, Leadership, Passion and Respect for the game of baseball.”
Miami also announced the signings of RHP Reilly Hovis (Round 9, #266 overall) out of the University of North Carolina, and C Matthew Foley (Round 40, #1196) out of Rhode Island College. The Club has now signed 30 of the 40 players it selected in last month’s Draft, including its top 15 picks.
While Naylor showed power to the Marlins brass on a Miami layover on his way home from the Dominican with the Junior Team he also took batting practice earlier this month when the Colorado Rockies were in town.
Naylor hit five upper-deck homers in batting practice, causing Rockies right fielder Carlos Gonzalez to shout: “Stop hitting the ball so hard.”
Naylor sprayed line drives during his first turn in the cage, stepped in again to send three towering blasts into the seats and later sent some long drives to the opposite field that feel just short of the fence, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
“I had a great time. It felt pretty special. My heart rate is kind of going a little bit,” Naylor told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. “It’s amazing, everyone coming up and welcoming me and congratulating me. I feel so special. Hopefully I’m in this park one day permanently. I’m kind of comfortable here now. I feel good swinging here.”
He met slugger Giancarlo Stanton and others he hopes will one day be teammates.
“Just relax. It’s going to be a grind, so you’ve got to take your time every day,” Naylor said was the message from players. “Just have fun with it, don’t get nervous.”
Meek said Marlins scouts have seen him take more than 100 at-bats with a wooden bat and are confidence he will advance quickly in the system.
“Watching him there in that uni, he blends right in with the these guys,” manager Dan Jennings said before Naylor stepped into the cage. “He may hurt some of their feelings when they see him swing that bat a little bit.”