The Top MLB Draft Prospects In Canada
1. Noah Naylor, C/3B, St. Joan of Arc Catholic SS, Mississauga, Ont. (BA Rank: 20)
HS • 6-0 • 195 • L-R •
The younger brother of current Padres prospect Josh Naylor, Noah is an impressive draft prospect in his own right, albeit a different sort of hitter than his brother. Whereas Josh showed immense power as an amateur, the younger Naylor is more hit over power, handling the offensive game from foul pole to foul pole but with the same long track record of success that Josh was afforded as a member of the Canadian Junior National Team. There are some scouts who would say Naylor has the best hit tool among all prep hitters in the 2018 class, led by a pure swing and the ability to adjust pitch-to-pitch, while also manipulating the barrel in each part of the strike zone. While he doesn’t have the elite power his older brother possesses, he does have present pop—it just doesn’t always show up in games. Many scouts think the power will continue to develop and improve, however. How high a team has Naylor on their board will depend on where they see him defensively. He’s a good enough athlete to catch and has a strong arm, but he can get lazy at times behind the dish and needs a lot of refinement. Some teams think he can turn into a solid third baseman, where he’s played frequently with Canada and over the showcase circuit while making all the routine plays. If neither of those work out, Naylor’s bat should still be good enough to play in a corner outfield position.
2. Eric Cerantola, RHP, Holy Trinity Catholic SS, Oakville, Ont. (BA Rank: 323)
HS • 6-5 • 200 • R-R •
A projectable Canadian righthander who stands 6-foot-5, 200 pounds, Cerantola might be a more polished hockey player than baseball player, and he was selected in the eighth round of the Ontario Hockey League draft in 2016. The OHL is one of the three major junior hockey leagues in Canada and a training ground for future NHL players. Cerantola has his sights set on baseball, however, and the Mississippi State commit has tremendous potential on the mound thanks to fantastic feel for a massive, 12-to-6 breaking ball that is a plus pitch or better at times. He touches 92-93 mph with his fastball, though he sits a few ticks below that and struggles to throw strikes and locate his breaking ball regularly. Because of his athleticism and relative inexperience on the mound—he’s only been pitching for a few years—he has significant upside remaining, especially as he continues to fill out a frame that can easily add 20 more pounds of strength.
3. Denzel Clarke, OF, Everest Academy, Pickering, Ont. (BA Rank: 384)
HS • 6-4 • 190 • R-R •
An immensely athletic outfielder, Clarke gets his natural physical ability from his mother, Donna, who was an Olympic heptathlete. Likewise, Clarke has also competed in other sports, including track and field, soccer, basketball and tennis. He is also cousins with Josh and Noah Naylor. On the baseball field, Clarke’s athleticism is apparent in the outfield, where he has the speed and body control to be a plus defender. He will likely move from center field to one of the corner outfield spots as he continues to add muscle to his 6-foot-4, 190-pound frame. Clarke has a hit-over-power profile right now, although he has some timing issues and a lack of strength that prohibits him from finishing his swing with authority. He has the hand speed to develop into a solid hitter with more reps, but he is still raw with the bat. Those who know him compare him to fellow Canadian Tristan Pompey at the same age.
4. Ben Abram, RHP, Georgetown District HS, Georgetown, Ont. (BA Rank: 440)
HS • 6-8 • 230 • R-R •
Abram is a huge, 6-foot-8, 240-pound righthander who has all of the physicality needed in the pro game and then some. Playing with Team Canada’s junior national team, Abram has developed a track record of getting professional hitters out over the past two years, though he has a below-average fastball in the 86-89 mph range. He touches 92 mph here and there, but his success comes because he can really pitch and he commands a three-offering repertoire well. He throws a solid curveball for strikes and also mixes in a changeup. He’ll flash a occasional slider, but his curveball is his go-to breaking ball at the moment. He has a simple and repeatable delivery and used his entire arsenal to throw five, no-hit innings against the Braves’ instructional team last fall. An Oklahoma commit, Abram could step onto campus and make an impact right away if a pro team doesn’t draft and sign him.
5. Jacob Kush, RHP, Guelph Collegiate Vocational Institute, Guelph, Ont. (BA Rank: N/A)
HS • 5-10 • 165 • R-R •
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6. David Rhodes, RHP/OF, Langley (B.C.) SS (BA Rank: N/A)
HS • 6-2 • 190 • L-R •
7. Tate Dearing, RHP, Earl Marriott SS, Surrey, B.C. (BA Rank: N/A)
HS • 6-2 • 210 • L-R •
8. Declan Dutton, RHP, St. George's SS, Vancouver, B.C. (BA Rank: N/A)
HS • 6-3 • 180 • R-R •
9. Daniel Carinci, SS, Pickering SS, Ajax, Ont. (BA Rank: N/A)
HS • 5-10 • 175 • R-R •