The 2018 MLB Draft is right around the corner, and a number of players will soon face a tough decision. Some college players will have to decide on leaving school early for the pros or returning to school. However, many high school players will face the choice of signing a pro contract or heading to college to refine their games.
For MLB decision makers, the draft is a crucial time as they look to restock a farm system with elite talent. It is true that MLB talent can come from any round of the draft, but teams must maximize their top picks in order to have a solid draft. One player on many radars ahead of the draft is Noah Naylor.
Noah Naylor 2018 MLB Draft Profile
Naylor is a catcher out of Mississauga, Ontario who has seen action with the Canadian Junior National Team. Listed at 6-foot-1 and 195 lbs., Naylor has impressive mobility for a backstop with elite arm strength. He has also seen some time in the infield with mixed reviews, but it is arm behind the plate that scouts love. MLB Pipeline lists Naylor as the No. 28 prospect available in this year’s draft.
The biggest thing that stands out with Naylor is an impressive power bat. He is arguably the best high school hitter in the draft and captured the High School Home Run Derby in Miami last season. It is the power and the bat that draws people in, but it his potential behind the plate that puts him over the top. Naylor’s physical build and athletic ability behind the plate are very similar to that of star Chicago Cubs catcher Willson Contreras. His arm will play at any level, and his bat should help him along as he continues to work on his receiving skills.
The only weakness in Naylor’s defense is whether or not his receiving will ever develop into MLB caliber. Some scouts already see Naylor as a third baseman, a position that will allow his bat and arm to shine. With that being said, he possesses enough raw talent behind the plate that most teams will want to see if he can stick at the position.
Most scouts see a professional hitter down the road in Naylor. One concern some may have is his use of a leg kick to generate power. It should be noted it is not an extremely high leg kick as seen in some hitters, but there is always the potential for it to cause timing issues against better pitching down the road. Still, any concerns about Naylor’s bat are generally small as he has fared well against multiple levels of competition.
The Contreras comparison is likely the best one defensively as Naylor fits the bill as an athletic, strong-arm catcher. Offensively, Naylor has unlimited potential with a solid comparison putting his profile somewhere between that of Contreras and Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez. This is of course if Naylor sticks at catcher, but there is always the possibility that the team that drafts him sees him as a third baseman.
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