Don’t expect that type of response from Josh Naylor, the big first baseman from Mississauga, Ont., who was probably just thrilled to be participating in Monday night’s Junior Home Run Derby at Target Field in Minnesota.
Despite a 54-minute rain delay at Target Field, Naylor managed to hit a combined four home runs in a two-round battle against Luken Baker, a catcher/right-handed pitcher from Oak Ridge High School in Conroe, Tex.
Naylor's first three homers sailed well past the 23-foot wall in right field to the upper deck, but in the end Baker prevailed 7-4.
In Monday’s competition, Naylor and Baker got 10 outs or four mintues (whichever came first) in Round 1 and 10 swings on a maximum 15 pitches in Round 2. Baker led 6-3 after the first round and they each went deep in Round 2.
Naylor and Baker won the preliminary portion on Sunday, each hitting six home runs using metal bats. Baker then defeated his 17-year-old opponent 2-0 in a three-swing tiebreaker.
Naylor, who attends St. Joan of Arc Catholic Secondary School, had a chance to rub shoulders with fellow Home Run Derby competitors Jose Bautista of the Toronto Blue Jays, Colorado teammates Justin Morneau (pictured below) and Troy Tulowitzki and Miami’s Giancarlo Stanton, among others.
On Friday, Naylor returned from Cuba with Canada’s junior national team after hitting .455 in eight games against the Cuban under-18 national squad.
He’s in his third year with the national program after joining as a 15-year-old in 2012 at the IBAF under-18 World Cup in Seoul, South Korea, where Naylor helped Canada win a silver medal.
At 15, Naylor also competed in the 2012 International Power Showcase High School Home Run Derby.