When in doubt, take a player with a well-known relative, usually a former ballplayer but sometimes famous for something else. It's been a tried-and-true mantra of major league teams since the June draft began in 1965 and the Boston Red Sox made Billy Conigliaro the fifth overall pick. His brother Tony had established himself as a Red Sox star the previous season.
In this week's draft, bloodlines linked draft picks not only to former major league stars, but to a hockey legend, a super-agent, an inspirational football figure and a famous midget.
10. Johnny Ruettiger
Eighth round, Baltimore Orioles. Outfielder, Arizona State. He's fast enough that teammates called him "Johnny Lightning," but it's only the second-best nickname in the family. His uncle is Dan "Rudy" Ruettiger, the subject of the movie classic "Rudy," about a walk-on football player at Notre Dame who made his only appearance in the last game of his career and recorded a sack.
9. Trent Boras
30th round, Milwaukee Brewers. Third baseman, Juniper Serra High, San Juan Capistrano, Calif. Boras' father, Scott, was a minor leaguer, but that's not his claim to fame: Scott is the premier agent in baseball and perhaps the most powerful man in the game. Trent has made a commitment to attend USC, where his brother plays, and likely won't sign with the Brewers. Expect a negotiation, though. It's in the Boras bloodlines.
8. Kyle Gaedele
Sixth round, San Diego Padres. Outfielder, Valparaiso. His great-uncle is the late Eddie Gaedel, who dropped the second 'e' from his last name for show biz. The 3-foot-7 Gaedel had a pinch-hit at-bat for the St. Louis Brows in 1951 as a publicity stunt and walked on four pitches. Unlike his great-uncle, Kyle swung the bat: He became the highest pick ever of a Valpo player by batting .326 with 17 home runs.
7. Alex Santana
Second round, Los Angeles Dodgers. Third baseman. Mariner High. His father, Rafael Santana, signed out of the Dominican Republic and became the everyday shortstop for the Mets from 1984 to 1987, including their 1986 World Series championship. He also played for the Yankees in 1988. The 6-4 Alex is much bigger than his dad and hits for power, although the Dodgers could convert him to the mound.
6. Dante Bichette Jr.
Supplemental first round, New York Yankees. First baseman, Orangewood Christian High, Maitland, Fla. His father was only a 17th-round pick in 1984 but hit 274 home runs during a 14-year career including a league-leading 40 in 1995. Several experts have questioned whether Bichette Jr. should have gone as early as
he did, but the Yankees love his power and could buy out his scholarship from Georgia.
5. Shawon Dunston Jr.
11th round, Chicago Cubs. Center fielder, Valley Christian High, Dublin, Calif. His father was the first pick of the 1982 draft, going to the Cubs, and had an 18-year major league career that included two All-Star appearances. Dunston Jr. has a scholarship from Vanderbilt but has indicated that he would sign if the offer is right. His dad works in the Giants' front office but the Cubs nabbed him first.
4. Ryan Garvey
15th round, Philadelphia Phillies. Center fielder, Palm Desert (Calif.) High. His father Steve was a 10-time All-Star in a 19-year career with the Dodgers and Padres. Ryan projects as a power hitter and he also runs well, something his father didn't do. Ryan was originally projected as about a third-round pick, and he has a scholarship to USC, so it would take much more than 15th-round money to sign him.
3. Trevor Gretzky
Seventh round, Chicago Cubs. First baseman, Oaks Christian High, Thousand Oaks, Calif. His father, Wayne, known as the "The Great One," is considered perhaps the best hockey player ever. Trevor is a football-baseball guy, and he backed up Joe Montana's son, Nick, at quarterback for Oaks Christian. He has a scholarship to San Diego State and some scouts believe he isn't polished enough yet for pro ball.
2. C.J. McElroy
Third round, St. Louis Cardinals. Center fielder, Clear Creek (Texas) High. He earned this lofty perch on the All-Bloodlines list because of three relatives: His father, Chuck (pictured), pitched in the big leagues from 1989 to 2001, making more than $8 million. His grandfather Sylvester played in the Negro Leagues. And his uncle is Cecil Cooper, who had more than 2,000 hits. C.J. is leaning toward signing rather than take a combination football-baseball scholarship to Houston.
1. Ivan "Dereck" Rodriguez
Sixth round, Minnesota Twins. Center fielder-pitcher, Monsignor Edward Pace High, Plantation, Fla. His father, Ivan, has caught more games than anyone else in major league history, won 13 Gold Gloves and is closing in on 3,000 hits. Dereck is a different sort of athlete, lean, fast, and blessed with an arm that throws 95 mph. The Twins plan to start him out as an everyday player and if he hits, he'll stay that way. If not, he could transition to the mound and make life easier for catchers who grew up idolizing his father.
-- Honorable mention: Pitcher Joe Ross, first round, Padres. His brother Tyson is a pitcher on the Athletics. ... Outfielder Dwight Smith Jr., supplemental first round, Blue Jays. His father played eight major league seasons. ... First baseman Cameron Seitzer, 11th round, Rays. His father, Kevin, was a two-time All-Star and is the Royals' hitting coach. ... Pitcher Ryan O'Sullivan, fourth round, Dodgers. His brother Sean pitches for the Royals. ... Bryan Harper, 30th round, Nationals. His brother is Bryce, the top prospect in baseball. ... First baseman C.J. Cron, first round, Angels. His father, Chris, has a brief big league career and is a minor league coach. ... Catcher Matt Scioscia, 45th round, Angels. His dad, Mike, is manager of the Angels. ... Pitcher Travis Henke, 22nd round, Nationals. His father, Tom, had 311 career saves. ... Third baseman Travis Shaw, ninth round, Red Sox. His father Jeff was a closer for the Reds and Dodgers. ... Pitcher Jack Armstrong Jr., third round, Astros. His father was a pitcher who helped the Reds win the World Series in 1990. ... Shortstop Deion Williams, 16th round, Nationals. His grandfather, George Scott, was an eight-time Gold Glove Award winner at first base in the 1970s. … Second baseman Colin Kaline, 26th round, Tigers. His grandfather Al was a Hall-of-Fame outfielder for the Tigers. ... Second baseman Stefan Jarrin, 40th round, Dodgers. His grandfather Jaime is the Dodgers' longtime Hall-of-Fame Spanish language broadcaster. ... Pitcher Michael Marshall, 30th round, Phillies. His father, Mike, was a Dodgers first baseman best known for dating Belinda Carlisle, lead singer of the Go-Go's.
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