By Bob Elliott
Canadian Baseball Network
What are the odds of two players from the same Canadian household growing up to be selected in the first round?
Well, since 1991 only 12 Canadians have been chosen in the first 30 picks of the annual major league draft of high schoolers and collegians.
The 13th was selected Monday night when Noah Naylor was chosen 29th over-all. Older brother Josh Naylor was selected three years ago. There will be 1,217 players selected when the Los Angeles Dodgers make the final pick in the 40th round Wednesday afternoon.
We don’t know the exact odds of one Canadian player being drafted in the first round, yet we have a handle on two brothers going in the first.
We asked a numbers expert about the chances that two players from the same Canadian family would both be drafted in the first round of the draft. The answer was shocking.
Just over 1-in-25 billion, according to Paul Bessire of PredictionMachine.com, an analytics-based web site in Cincinnati. Bessire pointed out he did not include sandwich picks - just the first 30 picks. If we do top 50 picks, the odds would be more like 1-in-10 billion.
Josh Naylor went 12th over-all to the Miami Marlins three years ago and younger brother Noah Naylor went 29th to the Indians on Monday ... 1 in 25 billion, we repeat.
That’s 25,000,000,000 -- nine zeros if you are calculating along at home -- like a Roy Halladay complete-game shut out.
The Naylors became the 11th set of brothers in North America to be selected in the first round.
* * *
Mom Jenice and father Chris Naylor are talking about their three sons -- Josh, Noah and Myles -- in a Mississauga coffee house a week before the draft. It is the exact same table that Josh and I sat at three years ago in May. Except this time Chris was sitting in the same chair his son Josh did in 2015. Noah was in the Dominican Republic with the Canadian Junior National Team.
Now, what are the odds of that?
In May of 2023, a week before the draft, will everyone gather at the same place when it is Myles’ draft year? Myles plays for the Ontario Blue Jays 13U, who are coached by his father.
“Myles has excellent composure,” said Jenice. “If you walked into the park, you wouldn’t know if he had walked 12 or struck out 12.”
* * *
Proud mom and pop talked about their sons and how hard that they have worked to get where they are. Josh and Noah actually played hockey too.
They used to play upstairs with mini hockey sticks as brothers are wont to do. At age 5 1/2 Josh usually won against Noah, 3. When the game became close he could use his physicality to win.
Until one night ...
Josh came down the stairs blood streaming from his forehead.
“He looked like wrassler Ric Flair did in the old WCW days,” said Chris. “Noah came down on his rear end one stair at and time complaining that his brother got blood on his hands.”
Flair was a wrestler who won 16 championships. Only the New York Yankees (27 championships), Montreal Canadiens (24) and the Boston Celtics (17) have won more.
They had a couple of nets, one for hitting into, the other for pitching in the back yard. Josh pitched with the Mississauga North Tigers and until he was 16U. Despite the nettings, the Naylors garage door took a beating.
Jenice cut out a piece which showed “all the dents,” as the door was replaced.
The brothers used to play computer games against each other: Home Run Derby, plus football and NBA games.
Now, Josh and Noah play Fortnite together on the same team.
* * *
Ontario Blue Jays coach Sean Travers actually knew Noah before he knew Josh. He met Noah as an eight-year-old at the Blue Jays indoor facility. Chris Naylor had taken Josh’s Mississauga North Tigers to another indoor facility to work out.
“I told Chris I liked Josh, but Josh needed to care more,” Travers said. At age 12 Josh showed at the Blue Jays first fall workout. Dan Bleiwas thought it was a bad idea to have someone so young on the field playing against graduating high schoolers.
“We had a grade 12 pitcher throwing something like 81-83 MPH,” Travers said. “Josh is in there with his baby fat he used to have. It’s strike one. Dan is umping from behind the mound and calls a ball in the dirt, strike two, to get him out of there. Josh hits the next pitch, a missile past the pitcher’s head, steals second and steals third. After the game Dan says ‘We’re good.’”
Noah was shut down after the Canadian Junior Team returned from the Dominican. Yet, he was at every game when his Ontario Blue Jays played at the University of Toronto cheering on his teammates, coached by Dino Roumel and Joey Ellison.
“Noah was always afraid to ask for special privileges,” Travers said. “One showcase I heard he wanted Kyle DeGrace to throw (batting practice) to him, but Noah was afraid to ask me. I said, ‘Dude whatever you want. This is your year. You wanna hit third? Fine. You wanna hit fourth? Fine. You want to hit off Kyle DeGrace? Fine.'”
Brothers in the first round, odds of 1-in-25 billion. You know how parents send sons off to boarding schools? The Naylors may be soon getting requests to host ball players.
Brothers drafted in the first round
Three Drew brothers
J.D. Drew Phillies 1997 (second-round over-all)/Cardinals ’98 (5)
Tim Drew Indians ’97 (28)
Stephen Drew, Diamondbacks ’04 (15)
B.J. Upton Devil Rays ’02 (2)
Justin Upton, Diamondbacks ’05 (1)
Dmitri Young, Cardinals ’91 (4)
Delmon Young, Devil Rays ’03 (1)
Two Lansfords, but not Carney Lansford
Phil Lansford, Indians ’78 (10)
Joe Lansford, Padres ’79 (14)
Two Weeks brothers
Rickie Weeks, Brewers ’03 (2)
Jemile Weeks, Athletics ’08 (12)
Two Weaver brothers
Jeff Weaver, Tigers ’98 (14)
Jered Weaver, Angels ’04 (12)
Two Benes brothers
Andy Benes, Padres ’88 (1)
Alan Benes, Cardinals ’93 (16)
Two Clark brothers
Isaiah Clark, Brewers ’84 (18)
Phil Clark, Tigers ’85 (18)
Two Zimmer brothers
Kyle Zimmer, Royals ’12 (5)
Brad Zimmer, Indians ’14 (21)
Two Davis brothers
Ben Davis Padres ’95 (2)
Glenn Davis, Dodgers ’97 (25)