Smart fantasy owners will pay attention to familiar names in the minors, as often the spawn of former major leaguers turn out to be pretty damn good themselves, and in many cases much better (see Bonds, Barry; Griffey, Ken Jr.; and Fielder, Prince for just a sampling).
So it is with great interest that I pour over some of the names of players drafted this year, which include over 20 sons of former or current big leaguers.
Some of the highlights:
Austin Yount is the son of Larry (who got hurt warming up, but is credited with one major league appearance) and nephew of Hall of Famer Robin. A 21-year-old outfielder, Yount was taken by the Dodgers in the 12th round out of Stanford, and has enjoyed a strong pro debut at Rookie-level Odgen, batting over .290 through 29 games.
Cutter Dykstra (how’s that for a perfect baseball name?) is the son of Lenny, one of my personal faves growing up. An infielder in high school, as a pro Cutter has been moved to centrefield, the same position his dad played. Taken by Milwaukee with the second of its three second-round picks (54th overall), Dykstra started his pro career with ten games for the Arizona League Brewers, scoring five runs and showing good patience at the plate. He was moved up to Helena of the Pioneer League, and the 19-year-old has started to show his power potential, while maintaining a decent BA.
The Pirates drafted a couple of offspring of former big leaguers. In the 22nd round, they took Patrick Palmeiro, a third baseman from a Texas high school who has yet to sign. Unfortunately, he has a legacy to live down, not to live up to. In the eighth round, the Bucs grabbed Jeremy Farrell, son of former Indian hurler and current Red Sox pitching coach John. Unlike his father, 21-year-old Jeremy is an infielder, and he wasted no time making a splash, batting .306 with 20 RBI in 46 games, good enough to earn a berth in the NYPL All-Star game.
Kyle Hurst, son of former Red Sox lefty Bruce, was taken by the Angels in the 36th round out of an Arizona community college. The 23-year-old righty was assigned to Oregon of the Pioneer League, but after struggling badly in a couple of games there, was demoted to the Arizona League. Hurst has fared much better, striking out 40 and walking just five in 34 1/3 IP.
Jesse Orosco Jr. was selected by the Diamondbacks in the 38th round, and the 21-year-old right-handed reliever is doing fairly well in his pro debut, pitching for the Missoula Osprey of the Pioneer League. His command needs refinement, but after a rough start, Jesse Jr. is definitely looking much stronger over the past month.
Jeremy Barfield was taken by the A’s in the eighth round and he’s the second son of Jesse to play professionally (Josh, of course, was a top prospect in the Padre organization, but his career is fizzling now that he’s with the Indians). Anyways, we have our doubts about how fuzzy and warm Jesse’s relationship is with Jeremy. You may recall that just over two years ago, Jeremy was arrested after pushing Jesse down a flight of stairs. At any rate, Jeremy has enjoyed a somewhat productive debut with the Vancouver Canadians of the Northwest League. He’s shown decent on-base skills, but the 20-year-old doesn’t appear to have his father’s power quite yet, unless, of course, you factor in family squabbles.
San Francisco selected Tyler Thompson, son of former Giant Robby, in the 42nd round, but the outfielder hasn’t signed and plans to head to the University of Florida to improve his draft stock down the road. Tyler was projected to go in the first five rounds, but signability was a big issue, as apparently the outfielder wanted first or second round money.
Although he was a decent player in his time, Robby was apparently far more prolific in the bedroom than he was on the diamond. Tyler’s twin brother Logan was also taken in the 42nd round, by the Indians. Logan is also currently unsigned. Older brother Drew was selected by the Twins in 2005 and is toiling in their system.
Kenny Williams Jr., son of Chisox general manager Kenny, was taken by his dad’s team in the sixth round (wouldn’t you have loved to be a fly on the wall for those contract negotiations?). Anyways, “Kenneth,” as junior is now known, is struggling as a 22-year-old outfielder in the Pioneer League. He was batting just .114 through his first 11 games, and is assumedly hurt (although he’s listed as active on MiLB.com), as he hasn’t played since late-June.
Speaking of negotiations that would have been fun to watch, how about those between the St. Louis Cardinals and their 35th round pick, Shane Boras, son of the beloved Scott Boras? Shockingly, Shane has yet to agree to a deal. It appears the second baseman has committed to USC next year and I wouldn’t be holding out for him to sign if I were a betting man.
Among active major leagues, Phillie reliever Tom Gordon’s son, Devaris Strange-Gordon, was selected in the fourth round by the Dodgers. The 20-year-old shortstop is turning heads at Rookie-level Ogden, batting .320 with good on-base skills through his first 55 professional games. He’s currently riding an eight-game hit streak, batting .432 during over this stretch.
Boras the Bastard Update
In other matters, as a followup to our article about Pedro Alvarez failing to report to the Pirates, Pittsburgh has now placed its first-round pick on the restricted list as Boras is attempting to renegotiate a deal that’s already been verbally agreed to.