First-rounder visits Miami, hits 'em out in BP
Naylor, drafted 12th overall on Monday, reaches second deck in first action at future home
MIAMI -- Whatever jitters Josh Naylor may have experienced in his early round of batting practice Saturday, they quickly disappeared when he started smashing baseballs into the second deck at Marlins Park.
Miami's first-round pick in the MLB Draft, Naylor joined the Marlins during their pregame workout before Saturday's game against the Rockies. As advertised, the left-handed-hitting first baseman showed plenty of power.
So much so that when he was completing his last round, Rockies All-Star outfielder Carlos Gonzalez joked with the 12th overall pick in the Draft.
"Stop hitting the ball so hard," Gonzalez quipped to Naylor.
Naylor, who turns 18 on June 22, is an example that immense power has no age limit.
Several of Naylor's drives soared over the right-field wall at Marlins Park, with a few reaching the second deck. He even drove a ball into the flowers beyond the 418-foot marker in center field.
"I think it was great he came out and did kind of what he did," Marlins vice president of scouting Stan Meek said. "He's got a long way to go to be what we want him to be. But it's nice, at least from a scouting perspective, when he walked in, guys weren't saying, 'Ah, wasn't too good.'
"We like that he did what he did. That's what he does. He's got power and he can hit."
It's been a hectic month for Naylor, still a senior at St. Joan of Arc Catholic School in Canada. He graduates on June 25. At that time he will be eligible to sign professionally.
A deal is expected to be finalized with Miami right around that time.
For now, the business side of baseball is on hold. Saturday was a chance for Naylor to get a taste of the big leagues. He was accompanied by his father, mother and brother at Marlins Park. Wearing a No. 1 Marlins jersey, Naylor fielded grounders at first in addition to taking BP.
"It's an honor and I'm blessed that I'm here," Naylor said. "It's special for all of us [family] to be here. I'm very thankful to the Marlins' organization for picking me 12th. I'm just humbled."
Naylor's bat speed and power were obvious. But the Marlins are confident the young first baseman will blossom into a complete hitter.
"Great kid. He's young," Meek said. "It was exciting to see him put the ball in the upper deck.
"But he can hit. He's not just a power hitter. He's a hitter and he's got big power. That will bode well for him as he goes up the ladder. I think he can use the whole field."