High school catching is a risky demographic on draft day; a player with the right combination of offensive and defensive ability is rather rare at that position and the history of prep catchers in the past doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence. The top three high school catchers this year are Noah Naylor, Will Banfield, and Anthony Seigler. We’ll cover all three, beginning with Naylor out out of St. Joan of Arc Secondary School in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.
Naylor is a left-handed hitter and right-handed thrower, born February 21, 2000. Listed at 6-1, 195, Noah is quite different physically than his older brother Josh Naylor, a top first base prospect in the San Diego Padres system. Josh is 5-11, 250; Noah is taller, thinner, and a better natural athlete.
Offensively, Noah has a good sense for the strike zone and at least average power potential; he doesn’t have as much pure sock as his brother but is hardly punchless and is rated as one of the top pure hitters in the draft by most observers. He’s performed well against high-level competition and even got in some at-bats against major leaguers during this past spring training, which included working a walk off of Toronto Blue Jays right-hander Marcus Stroman.
Scouts are confident in Naylor’s bat but the thing that makes him more interesting than a typical high school hitter is the defense.
His arm works well behind the plate and he has plenty of natural mobility; indeed, he moves well enough to be an infielder. He needs to improve his receiving and blocking behind the plate but given his age (he doesn’t turn 19 until next February) and athleticism, there’s every reason to be optimistic about his future defense.
Naylor is committed to Texas A&M but should be signable as an early pick. He will challenge Banfield and Seigler for the honor of being the first prep catcher off the board.
Prospect Pipeline video
Some nice defensive highlights in this Perfect Game video