Tue Jun 07 06:33pm EDT
The second day of the MLB draft usually brings some fun with it in the form of familiar surnames. Many times, the selections are good-natured nepotism. Maybe a team's manager has a son who plays baseball. Last year provided some good examples of that.
But selecting amateur talent with famous pedigree can also just be a coincidence. The best player available may happen to be the son of a world-class athlete, such as one of the greatest hockey players of all time.
Trevor Gretzky, the son of Wayne Gretzky, was selected by the Chicago Cubs in the seventh round on Tuesday. He's a 6-foot-4 first baseman from California and committed to play for Tony Gwynn at San Diego State next season. But Trevor's father has said they'll sit down as a family and evaluate whether going to school or turning pro is the best decision.
That enthusiasm (or lack there of) looks familiar. It reminds me of me when the dentist's office calls to confirm I have a cleaning scheduled for 10:30 a.m. tomorrow. We kid, of course. Maybe Trevor Gretzky is just a low-key dude. Must be that even-keel lineage.
Moving along, several other players with baseball bloodlines were selected on Tuesday. Teams may have been aided in the process by fathers passing their established names down to their sons. Easy to draw a connection that way.
• Dante Bichette Jr., a high school third baseman from Florida, was selected by the New York Yankees with the 51st overall pick. Yankees manager Joe Girardi and Dante Bichette Sr. are good friends, so much so that Girardi named his son after the former Colorado Rockies slugger and Bichette Jr. calls Girardi "Uncle Joe." But Bichette Jr. is also committed to play baseball at the University of Georgia, so he has a decision to make.
• Dwight Smith Jr. was drafted two picks later by the Toronto Blue Jays. Smith is a prep center fielder from Georgia, playing ball about four hours away from Atlanta, where his father spent two seasons with the Braves. Smith Jr. has a scholarship to Georgia Tech also on the table.
• Twelve seasons with a Shawon Dunston in their lineup apparently wasn't enough for the Cubs. Drafting Shawon Dunston Jr., a high school outfielder out of California, in the 11th round (his father was the No. 1 overall pick in 1982) may give them more Dunston (and more Shawon-o-Meter!) The Cubs will have to convince him not to play baseball at Vanderbilt, however.
• Ivan Rodriguez(notes) was selected by the Minnesota Twins in the sixth round. But the prep star from Miami is choosing to go his own way, going instead by the name "Dereck." And unlike his father, who's still playing catcher for the Washington Nationals, the younger Rodriguez plays center field.
• One more player worth noting is Johnny Reuttiger, nephew of Notre Dame football legend Rudy Reuttiger. (Rudy!) The junior Arizona State outfielder was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the eighth round.
Other legacy picks include Alex Santana (Dodgers), son of Rafael Santana; Jack Armstrong (Astros), son of Jack Armstrong; Ryan Garvey (Phillies), son of Steve Garvey; and C.J. McElroy (Cardinals), son of Chuck McElroy. Also selected was Kyle Gaedele, the great-nephew of Eddie Gaedel, shortest player in baseball history.
Still waiting to be picked as we write this: Brandon Bonilla, son of Bobby Bonilla; Tyler Bream, son of Sid Bream; David Lucory, brother of Jonathan Lucroy(notes); Matt Scioscia, son of Mike Scioscia; and Ozney Guillen, son of Ozzie (and disappointed with his late selection last year).
Also available is Scott Boras' son, Trent. I bet a team gleefully anticipates that negotiation. The younger Boras is already committed to play baseball at USC, just like his older brother, Shane, was when the St. Louis Cardinals drafted him in 2008.