After three days, 40 rounds and 1,215 names were called, the 2014 First-Year Player Draft reached its conclusion early Saturday evening.
Obviously, not all of those names will make an impact in MLB. In fact, the vast majority will never make it out of the minor leagues, and many of them will never even suit up in a professional uniform — see, Manziel, Johnny. But it can still be worthwhile to watch the names scroll by because you never know where a future superstar will fall, and you never know when a recognizable name will surface.
It keeps things interesting, and there's no doubt many fans only watch the later rounds for just those reasons, and especially to watch for names with MLB lineage. With that said, here's a look back at a few names from this year's draft with connections to current or former players in MLB, in some cases dating back generations.
Minnesota Twins selected Nick Gordon, shortstop, Olympia High School in Orlando, Fla. (Round 1, Pick 5): And sometimes it doesn't take long at all for a recognizable name to come off the board. With a trio of pitchers and power-hitting catcher/outfielder Kyle Schwarber off the board, Minnesota selected the consensus top infielder in Nick Gordon. The 18-year-old shortstop is the son of former All-Star closer Tom "Flash" Gordon and the brother of Dodgers second baseman Dee Gordon (4th round, 2008), who leads MLB in stolen bases this season with 36.
Speed is also a big part of the youngest Gordon's game, but he combines that with defensive skills, a strong arm and impressive bat speed, which has led to notable power at a young age despite his 6-foot-2, 170-pound frame. He'll have time to fill out and bulk up as he works through the minor leagues, which will obviously be key to his development, but he'll also have the wisdom and experience of his father and brother to draw upon.
Detroit Tigers selected Derek Hill, outfielder, Elk Grove High School (Calif.) (Round 1, Pick 23): The son of Los Angeles Dodgers scout Orsino Hill and a cousin to former major leaguer Darryl Strawberry, Hill has a strong lineage and stronger skill set to work with. Baseball America even touts him as the top defensive center fielder in the draft, and he's already drawing comparisons to a young Torii Hunter, who currently plays for Detroit.
Offensively, Hill has decent upside thanks to his quick stroke from the right side and notable strike zone awareness. If his offense ever catches up to his defense, he'll be an excellent all around player and possible building block. If not, his defense still makes him a good bet to become a regular in the big leagues.
Cleveland Indians selected Grant Hockin, right-hander pitcher, Damien HS (Calif.) (Round 2, Pick 61): The name may not sound familiar, but the lineage is impressive. Hockin is the grandson of Minnesota Twins legend and baseball Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew. However, unlike his legendary grandfather, Hockin makes his name on the pitching mound with a fastball that tops out around 92 mph. Hockin has committed to UCLA, so it's entirely possible he'll pass on signing to continue his education and perhaps improve his draft position. Then again, the end of Round 2 isn't a bad spot. His pick slot is valued at $928,700.
Washington Nationals select Ryan Ripken, first baseman, Indian River State (Round 15, Pick 454): The son of Cal Ripken is a large kid at 6-6 and 205 pounds, with even larger shoes to fill. It would be unfair to expect such production or longevity, but his selection here suggests the Nationals believe he has tools to work with. If he makes it, he'll become a third generation of Ripkens to appear in MLB. In addition to his father and his uncle, Billy Ripken, his grandfather Cal Sr. managed the Orioles from 1985-89.
Ripken was selected in the 20th round by the Baltimore Orioles in the 2012 draft, but accepted a scholarship to play at the University of South Carolina. Ripken ended up redshirting his freshman season before transferring to Indian River State. He hit .321 in 41 games.
New York Yankees selected Mariano Rivera III., right-hander pitcher, Iona (Round 29, Pick 872): The void left in the Yankees organization following the retirement of Mariano Rivera will never be filled in quite the same way, but the Yankees figure there's no harm in going to that well one more time. Rivera is the son of the all-time saves leader, and to be honest he's probably an extreme long shot to make an impact in MLB. At 5-11 and 155 pounds, he doesn't have an ideal frame, but as a 20-year-old he still has time to fill out. His dad didn't make his MLB debut until he was 25.
Control is another factor working against him. And the fact is he doesn't a dominate pitch to turn like his father's cutter. Still, the Yankees did the family a favor by drafting the next generation of Rivera, and at least give the satisfaction of saying they both represented the same organization. A cool gesture, and a name to file away just in case.
Other notable selections:
Cleveland Indians selected Justus Sheffield, left-handed pitcher, Tullahoma High School (TN) (Round 1, Pick 31): The nephew of Gary Sheffield is following in his footsteps as a pitcher, and he's a pretty good one at that. He was recently named the Gatorade National Player of the Year.
Atlanta Braves selected Luke Dykstra, shortstop, Westlake High School (Calif.) (Round 7, Pick 223): The son of former Mets and Phillies outfielder Lenny Dykstra.
Baltimore Orioles selected Brandon Bonilla, left-hander pitcher, Grand Canyon University (Round 25, Pick 751): He's the son of six-time All-Star Bobby Bonilla and godson of Barry Bonds.
Colorado Rockies selected Hunter Brothers, pitcher, Lipscomb University (Round 30, Pick 893): The Brothers brothers could reunite in Colorado. Hunter is the younger sibling of Rockies reliever Rex Brothers.
Boston Red Sox selected Bradley Wilpon, right-haned pitcher, The Brunswick School (Conn.) (Round 36, Pick 1,094): This one truly is interesting. Wilpon is the son of Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon. It's unknown if he had any plans to select his son in one the last rounds, but he never got the chance.
Philadelphia Phillies selected Tom Flacco, outfielder, Eastern High School (N.J.) (Round 32, Pick 952): No MLB bloodlines, but he's the brother of Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, which means it's only a matter of time before Philadelphia sports radio hosts start debating whether or not he's elite.
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