Brother of Padres prospect is creating buzz in amateur circles
By Keegan Matheson
TORONTO -- Tournament 12 means different things to different players. Some of the young Canadian amateurs at Rogers Centre this weekend are looking to put their name on the map for the first time, while others, like Noah Naylor, are padding an already-stacked resume.
Even in his third T12 and coming off a year of high-profile baseball experiences, the 17-year-old Mississauga, Ontario, native still cherishes the opportunity to take the field in Toronto.
"Being at Rogers Centre, I've been here all my life, but every time I play on the field it seems like a new experience," Naylor said Saturday. "I'm back to being a little kid again watching the Blue Jays play."
Naylor has generated plenty of buzz ahead of the 2018 MLB Draft. In 2015, his older brother Josh Naylor was selected in the first round, 12th overall, by the Marlins and has since joined the Padres as their No. 10 prospect. Noah is also committed to Texas A&M, and has made headlines on both sides of the border in 2017.
He's appeared in the Under Armour All-American Game at Wrigley Field, the Perfect Game All-American Classic at Petco Park, and was a key member of Canada's Junior National Team at the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup in Thunder Bay. Naylor's personal favorite, though, was participating in the High School Home Run Derby at Marlins Park over MLB All-Star Weekend.
"Definitely the Home Run Derby," Naylor said. "That was definitely a major highlight this summer, playing in front of an amazing crowd and being on a field with a whole bunch of other big leaguers is an experience that I can't describe."
So what's left for Naylor to accomplish at his age? He's quick to highlight the value of being around T12's alumni coaches, including tournament commissioner and Hall of Fame second baseman Roberto Alomar, who preaches the importance of capitalizing on every opportunity.
"It's great having them around us and teaching us as we play the game," Naylor said. "They've been through the whole process. They've been in the Majors and been in some serious games. It's great that they're here giving back."
Naylor also believes that these high-level competitions, including T12 and his Canadian Junior National Team play, will leave him better equipped for whatever comes next in his career.
"It definitely gets you seeing all of the types of baseball around," Naylor said. "I feel like I will be able to adjust to any level of baseball. It only helps my game."
Keegan Matheson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Toronto. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.