Josh Naylor said he couldn’t stop smiling.
Naylor, the Marlins’ 19-year-old first baseman prospect, thoroughly enjoyed every minute of his experience participating in the annual All-Star Futures Game on Sunday night at Petco Park.
Naylor, the No. 2 overall prospect in the Marlins’ farm system, according to MLBPipeline.com, recorded a pair of hits and an RBI that contributed to the World Team’s 11-3 victory over Team USA. It was the World Team’s first win in seven tries against the USA team in the annual showcase of minor-leaguers.
“It was everything I thought it would be and more,” Naylor said. “I had too much fun. It was phenomenal.”
Never miss a local story.
Naylor, the Marlins’ lone representative in the game, was born in Mississauga, Ontario, and represented Canada on the World team.
He started the day by putting on an impressive power display, smacking seven home runs during batting practice, which was the most by anyone on the World Team’s roster.
In 74 games this season at Single A Greensboro (North Carolina), Naylor has hit only .254. But he’s put up good power numbers with nine home runs, 47 RBI and 18 doubles.
The Marlins drafted Naylor with the 12th overall pick in the 2015 amateur draft.
“My confidence is through the roof right now,” Naylor said. “I know who I am, and I know what I can do. I try not to get down on myself too much. Today I just tried to enjoy it, and I couldn’t stop smiling. It was such an incredible experience.”
Naylor entered the game defensively in the bottom of the fifth inning with the World Team trailing 3-0.
He came to bat in the sixth and cut the World’s deficit to 3-2 by getting a hold of a high fastball and sending it to center field for a single. Naylor advanced to second on the throw home. He appeared to be shaken up at first when the ball caught him in the back, but he quickly got up and stayed in the game.
“I wanted to get a hit so bad I couldn’t think of anything else,” Naylor said. “I just saw it and swung.”
Naylor failed to tie the game moments later, however, when he was thrown out at the plate trying to score on a single by Padres prospect Carlos Asuaje.
Naylor said he enjoyed interacting with Astros Triple A prospect Alex Bregman, who nearly hit for the cycle, missing only a home run.
Bregman’s bid for the cycle ended when he popped up in foul territory on the first-base side to Naylor.
“That guy, he’s special,” Naylor said. “At first, I was thinking, should I drop it? I had the most fun watching him play.”
Red Sox prospect Yoan Moncada, who smacked a go-ahead, two-run homer as part of a seven-run eighth inning for the World squad, was named the Futures Game MVP.