July 02, 2009
So if you thought all the hype over 16-year-old Bryce Harper was a case of too much, too soon well then does the New York Daily News have a premature prospect story for you!
Thursday's editions of the paper carried an article on the big league dreams of Joe Dunand Jr., the 13-year-old nephew of Yankees star Alex Rodriguez(notes).
Shocked that the spotlight would find a new teenager this soon? The A-Rod to our right certainly seems to be, too.
But apparently Dunand has become used to it. Already standing an athletic 5-foot-9 and weighing 140 pounds, he's currently spending his summer in the Bronx, playing for the same youth team that A-Rod did. He's also said to look so much like A-Rod — read the article for a picture — that Dunand's father jokingly says "he looks more like (A-Rod's) son than mine." (Joe Dunand Sr. and A-Rod are half-brothers.)
Dunand Jr. doesn't want to be compared to his uncle, whom he calls Tio Alex, which means Uncle Alex in Spanish. And like any other 13-year-old playing baseball, he too wants to play in the majors one day.
He says kids in Miami and his teammates on Bort's Bergen Beach team are "surprised" when they find out that A-Rod is his uncle, but when you look at him, it makes sense. Joe Jr.'s resemblance to his uncle is so striking that he was selected to play a younger version of A-Rod in a Dick's Sporting Goods commercial two years ago.
Said A-Rod: "That's exactly how I used to look when I was 13."
Luckily, it seems that most of the people surrounding Dunand are keeping a level head over all of this. His coach says "it's too early to tell" if he'll be a pro prospect. A-Rod said he'd like to see his nephew just "play college ball" instead of saying he should shoot for the superstar ranks. Dunand himself said he's already "used" to all the attention.
So the next A-Rod? Heck maybe not even the next Bryce Harper. I gotta say, it's nice to see a family keeping things in perspective for once.