The rest of the world is about to find out what the Ontario Blue Jays have known for years.
Noah Naylor is special.
Like really special.
Like potential first overall pick in the 2018 MLB Draft special.
Sean Travers’ Blue Jays program has kept it in the family with Naylor; his older brother, Josh, played for Ontario, and went on to become the 12th overall pick by the Miami Marlins in the 2015 MLB Draft. In a recent phone interview, Noah recalled how he got started with Travers.
“I started out really early, it actually started with an old recreational team, locally,” he said.
“My team would practice at the OBJ facility, and that’s how I got to meet Sean and some of the other coaches that have been with me for some time. I started off when I was about seven years old, and that’s where Sean and I formed the relationship. A couple years later, my older brother had the chance to join the Ontario Blue Jays, and that started the whole process for us to join the program. My little brother is in it now. It’s an amazing program, and I love everything it’s done for me.”
Naylor is one of the most coveted amateur players in North America, frequently selected for international showcases and tournaments, such as the Program 15 and New Balance Future Stars Series upcoming national events in Houston. But there’s never been a thought of leaving the Blue Jays program.
“Just the fact that I’ve been able to be around that type of great baseball environment with great people and great coaching, I felt like that place is meant for me,” Naylor said. “They help to ensure that not only do I get better as a baseball player, but as a person overall. They care about makeup on and off the field, and they help us be great players and people.”
P15 and NBFSS CEO Jeremy Booth offers an assessment you can’t help but agree with: Naylor is fun to watch.
“The last high school player that excited me like this was Sonny Gray,” Booth said. “Middle of the diamond defender, impact bat, Future 80 arm. He’s obvious and you can check the boxes. Baseball rat with aptitude to make adjustments. Exceptional makeup. Special kid. Pure hitter with easy game changing power.”
Naylor, who is currently a catcher, excels behind the dish in part because of that arm, but also with the way he approaches the game.
“I’m a catcher, and I feel like my job is to take control of the game and to be very vocal and aware of everything,” he said. “I feel that as a catcher, it’s my job to know where everybody is to help set everybody up and help them stay in the game, just be a step ahead of everybody. My defense, I feel I’m a great defender and my teammates trust me back there whether it’s in the field or behind the plate.”
Naylor is well aware his future is a bright one, but instead chooses to remain humble and stay focused on the present with the help of older brother Josh.
“Everybody daydreams and thinks ahead, but I’ve been fortunate enough to have a brother who’s been through this whole thing, and he’s given me some tips on how to deal with it,” he said. “He’s helped with my mentality from a day-to-day basis; not necessarily rushing to do anything or to get anywhere, and just have fun with it every day and play my heart out every time I can.”
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