For those of you living under a rock, or maybe hiding behind Scott Van Slyke’s mustache, the MLB amateur draft starts tomorrow. While it lacks the glitz and glam of the NFL draft (thank god), and bust potential is very high with so many picks (where ARE you Tim Beckham?), it’s still an exciting event for baseball nerds like us.
The stars of tomorrow (if you’re Bryce Harper…but more likely the stars of 2016) are all waiting in the wings of this draft. Follow along on MLB Network or MLB.com tomorrow, starting at 6 p.m. EST, to see which young player you need to know as he tears up your farm system over the next couple seasons.
So what is this nonsense we are spamming your timeline with tonight? Oh, just the dream team of MLB family genes! Using this article as a reference, we’re picking the all-bloodline team of the prospects who could get drafted this week, purely based on how said family member performed in his career. We probably won’t find the next Barry and Bobby Bonds or either of the Griffey’s, or any of the Boone’s, but it will be fun either way.
Catcher: Kean Wong (brother of Cardinals #3 prospect Kolten Wong)
As much as this Warriors/Dodgers fan wanted to pick Ryan McCarvel (nephew of former NBA first-round pick Chris Mills) or Chad Wallach (son of current Dodgers third base coach Tim Wallach), you can’t deny the exceptional talent that is evident in the Wong family. Kolten is one of the best prospects in baseball, and that alone made this an easy choice. We’ll see if Kean (I’ll give you a bag of corn nuts and a fist bump if you can tell me how to pronounce this name) lives up to his brother’s reputation.
Honorable Mention: Ryan Lidge (brother of former reliever Brad Lidge)
First base: Cameron Berra (“relative” of Yankees legend Yogi Berra)
I almost went with Manny Ramirez (yes, it’s the dreaded one’s son) here, but word on the street is that he’s joining pops in Taiwan to ensure that the family dominance continues there. That’s a completely made up rumor. But how can you pass on the relative–even if the connection looks sketchy–to one of the greatest personalities and players in baseball history? I mean, the man has a World Series ring for each finger. And, yes, he has all 10 fingers. If Cameron is even one-fifth as successful, somebody made a good draft selection.
Honorable Mention: Preston Palmeiro (son of former slugger Rafael Palmeiro)
Second base: Cavan Biggio (son of snubbed Hall of Famer and lifelong Astro Craig Biggio)
Dad joined the 3,000 hit club, retired, and was immediately left out of the Hall of Fame this year. I’m over that. Totally. Can’t you tell? Anyway, I’m less concerned about why Craig named his son “Cavan,” than I am about the offspring actually matching Dad’s success. It’s a tall order, but even if he plays good defense and is a HBP magnet, we’ll be saying “like father, like son.” Too bad the ‘Stros already have a franchise second baseman. It would have been nice to see that name on the back of an Astros uni again.
Honorable Mention: JJ Franco (son of former reliever John Franco)
Third base: Luke Borders (son of former catcher Pat Borders)
To be honest, I was never a huge follower of Pat Borders’ career. I knew who he was and it seemed like he was around forever. So at the very least, if Luke can give that longevity, he’s worthy of this spot. His dad was extremely average, but enjoyed two rings and some good years defensively in Toronto. And with all apologies to Ruben Amaro and his hot-corner-handling nephew, I had to give the ‘stache potential points to the Jones family in the honorable mention category.
Honorable Mention: Alex Jones (son of former reliever Todd Jones)
Shortstop: Dillon Moyer (son of MLB’s father time Jamie Moyer)
Imagine my disappointment when I found out Jay Buhner’s son Gunnar qualified here but was not the kid on the epic SI cover shot. He gets the axe. We already gave JJ Franco, who can play both middle infield positions, an honorable mention elsewhere. And as much as I like BJ Surhoff (nephew Colin Moran is the #6 prospect in the draft and has an outside chance to go first overall), the rest of the group is better. Carl Crawford’s cousin J.P. is hanging around, but won’t quite make the cut. And because Walt Weiss has too many w’s in his name, his son Brodie is out (sorry not sorry). It’s simple subtraction, people. Plus, Jamie Moyer rules.
Honorable Mention: Ali Rodriguez (nephew of
Left Field: Jacob Heyward (brother of talented Braves outfield Jason Heyward)
Topping his older brother’s first at-bat heroics is not going to happen, but Jacob could eventually become an All-Star and Gold Glove winner, too. Maybe the Braves can just move Jason to centerfield and replace another member of a brotherly duo in B.J. Upton, with the younger J-Hey. But if Braves GM Frank Wren has his choice between another Heyward and either of his sons, will he really slap family in the face like that? Spoiler: he definitely should.
Honorable Mention: Kyle and Jordan Wren (sons of Frank)
Center Field: Torii Hunter, Jr. (son of Tigers outfielder and notorious badass Torii Hunter)
Anyone else not realize until now that Torii Hunter was Torii Hunter, Sr.? The only reason I chose baby Torii over the bloodline of a Hall of Famer (see: Yount, Robin) is because there is a more direct DNA track between the two. If Hunter, Jr. is even a shell of his father, the team that drafts him is not going to be sorry. Hunter, Sr. has been one of the elite outfielders in baseball for almost two decades, and has been a helluva hitter as well.
Honorable Mention: Cody Yount (nephew of Robin)
Right Field: Mike Yastrzemski (grandson of Red Sox legend Carl Yastrzemski)
Please don’t tell Paul O’Neill that his nephew is merely an honorable mention for this position. But…really? What do you want me to do? NOT start a relative of the great 19-time All-Star? I don’t care how good this Mike kid is — if the Red Sox draft him, people are going to go absolutely nuts in Boston. But now that I jinxed him, the Yaz of the younger variety is probably going to get picked up by the Yanks. Uh-oh.
Honorable Mention: Mike O’Neill (nephew of hot-headed Yankee Paul O’Neill)
1. Kacy Clemens, RHP (son of genetically-enhanced strikeout machine Roger Clemens)
2. Dalton Saberhagen, LHP (son of two-time Cy Young winner Bret Saberhagen)
3. D.J. Sylve, RHP (grandson of Bay Area and MLB legend Willie Stargell)
4. Ben Verlander, RHP (brother of best-pitcher-in-baseball Justin Verlander)
5. Chad Hockin, RHP (grandson of Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew)
There were plenty of good options for the rotation, and you can see how clotted the bloodlines are (I should really work on that word choice) if the Leiter and Pettitte families get snubbed. Despite any steroid allegations, you can’t ignore the Clemens family dominance at the top of the rotation, followed by the studly southpaw in Saberhagen (really the only lefty worthy of consideration). Even though Killebrew and Stargell were hitters–very, very good hitters–it made sense to include their relatives here, as both are in the Hall of Fame. And naturally, even if he can never live up to big brother’s successes, leaving the name “Verlander” out of the starting rotation would be blasphemous.
Honorable Mentions: Mark Leiter, Jr. (nephew of Al Leiter), Josh Pettitte (son of Andy Pettitte),
Closer: Jordan Sheffield, RHP (nephew of free-swinging hero Gary Sheffield)
As far as I know, all the pitchers on the list are starters anyhow, but I had to find a way to get Gary Sheffield’s DNA into this group. I’m just imagining his nephew Jordan having a violent arm waggle when he’s in the stretch before a pitch. With the violence that uncle Gary played with, I expect Jordan to at LEAST touch 123 MPH on average with his fastball. Really, Quantrill or Hunter Brothers (Rockies’ reliever Rex’s little bro) would have been the more sensible choice, but it’s GARY SHEFFIELD, people!
Honorable Mention: Cal Quantrill (son of former reliever Paul Quantrill)
What do you think? Will any or all of these guys get drafted today? Who would YOU include on your all-bloodlines team for this year’s draft? Did I include too many mustache pics in this blog? Follow along with Three Up, Three Down on Facebook or tweet us @3u3d with input.
– Jeremy Dorn (@Jamblinman)
I won’t lie – I have a soft spot for the Mariners. That seems a bit strange because I live near Oakland and root for the A’s in my free time. Let me explain: I went to Washington State University and spent four years surrounded by sad, wandering M’s fans.
There’s that, and the fact that they have an awesome stadium, badass jerseys, and a slew of fan-favorite heroes (A-Rod, Randy Johnson, Ken Griffey, Jr., Edgar Martinez, Felix Hernandez, Ichiro, etc.). Anyway, it’s been disappointing to see GM Jack Zduriencik not really pull the trigger on any big moves in which Seattle was set up perfectly to do so.
The Mariners have a decently sized payroll, plenty of minor league depth, and a desperate need for hitters. Despite a lack of offensive punch, the Mariners managed to finish just a handful of games short of .500 in 2012, albeit still in fourth place.
With Hernandez leading the rotation, and a plethora of young pitching talent in Triple-A, the Mariners have the pieces to move to acquire a big bat. Today, this theory finally came to fruition. They went out and traded 14-game winner Jason Vargas to Anaheim for Kendrys Morales.
Let’s break this thing down:
SP Jason Vargas
1B/DH Kendrys Morales
It’s hard to decide who wins this trade, but my gut tells me both teams come out pretty hot. The Angels, with the losses of Zack Greinke, Ervin Santana and Dan Haren this winter were in dire need of a pitching upgrade (and no, Joe Blanton doesn’t count). They made a nifty move in acquiring Tommy Hanson from Atlanta, but it wasn’t enough.
I’m not sure if you can say Vargas is the final piece they need, but it surely won’t hurt. This gives the Angels a pair of very good lefty starters in Vargas and C.J. Wilson to pair with Cy Young candidate Jered Weaver. We know Los Angeles added Josh Hamilton to the lineup, making Morales expendable.
But is it enough? Can the Angels improve on a 90-win ball club and return to A.L. West supremacy? Having Vargas in the third spot in that rotation will help them inch closer. And you have to expect a full season of Mike Trout, plus Hamilton, Albert Pujols and Mark Trumbo, that they will be a better team.
For the Mariners, who are chasing the Angels (and everyone else for that matter) in the division, this should spell the end of the long-drawn out Justin Smoak experiment. Morales is an instant upgrade in all departments over Smoak, and will provide a good source of punch to the lineup.
With the emergence of Kyle Seager and a likely improvement next season from Dustin Ackley and Jesus Montero, the Mariners could be a sneaky dangerous team in 2013. As long as the rotation can pick up the slack left by Vargas, I expect an improvement for Seattle, though I don’t think they are quite ready to be a contender yet.
That being said, Zduriencik knows he needs another bat or two, and may be chasing an Andre Ethier or Michael Bourn-type player as the winter evolves. If they can pair one more veteran power bat like Ethier’s, or a good top-of-the-order guy like Bourn, without giving up too much pitching, I see no reason why the Mariners can’t make like the 2012 A’s and take the league by surprise.
As for grading this trade, I’m giving a slightly higher mark to the Mariners, simply for going out and being aggressive in adding a bat to a flat lineup. They have pitching depth and are on the right track with getting some power in there with Morales and Jason Bay (well…you know…maybe). Mariners Grade: B+
The Angels got an underrated starting pitcher, but still haven’t made up for lost talent in the rotation. Not to mention, Morales was as good a hitter as they could ask for in that DH/1B slot. The offense did downgrade with the loss of Morales and Torii Hunter, even after the Hamilton signing. Overall, it’s a good move, but they better make a World Series run before 2014 when Vargas is a free agent or be prepared to shell out a pretty hefty extension. Angels Grade: B
– Jeremy Dorn (@Jamblinman)