06/09/10 5:30 PM ET
Family trees spread across Draft boards
By Spencer Fordin / MLB.com
And in this Draft, he'll have plenty of comparable company. Santiago, who played both basketball and baseball during his two-year tenure at Lon Morris Junior College in Texas, is just a part of several father-son combinations that came out of this year's Draft. Santiago's name may well be the most familiar, but at least he won't be playing the same position -- catcher -- that his father did.
Delino DeShields Jr., for instance, will end up playing second base, just like his father and namesake. Houston selected the younger DeShields with the eighth overall pick in the Draft on Tuesday, setting off endless comparisons between himself and his father, who was selected 12th overall in 1987. Two decades later, the elder DeShields can take his son's scouting reports to heart.
major league bloodlines
|Delino DeShields Jr.||Delino (father)||HOU||1|
|Cam Bedrosian||Steve (father)||LAA||1|
|Chance Ruffin||Bruce (father)||DET||1A|
|Kellen Sweeney||Ryan (brother)||TOR||2|
|Mel Rojas Jr.||Mel (father)||PIT||3|
|Cory Vaughn||Greg (father)||NYM||4|
|James Baldwin||James (father)||LAD||4|
|Connor Narron||Jerry (father)||BAL||5|
|Drew Cisco||Galen (grandfather)||CIN||6|
|Roberto Pena||Bert (father)||HOU||7|
|Patrick Leyland||Jim (father)||DET||8|
|Benjamin Gamel||Mat (brother)||NYY||10|
|Reggie William||Reggie (father)||STL||10|
|Hunter Jones||Tracy (father)||CLE||11|
|Josh Magee||Wendell (father)||HOU||18|
|Garrett Buechele||Steve (father)||TEX||18|
|Brett Bochy||Bruce (father)||SF||20|
|Ozney Guillen||Ozzie (father)||CWS||22|
|Dillon Moyer||Jamie (father)||MIN||22|
|Mark Tracy||Jim (father)||COL||22|
|Shawn Teufel||Tim (father)||DET||25|
|Benito Santiago||Benito (father)||CHC||31|
|Andy Fermin||Felix (father)||TOR||32|
|Devon Ethier||Andre (brother)||LAD||32|
|Logan Thompson||Robbie (father)||CLE||33|
|Andrew Benes||Andy (father)||STL||35|
|Beau Brett||George (uncle)||LAD||35|
|Bobby Geren||Bob (father)||OAK||36|
|Jeremy Shelby||John (father)||BAL||38|
|Logan Davis||Mark (father)||COL||38|
|Jacob May||Lee (father)||CIN||39|
|Bo McClendon||Lloyd (father)||DET||39|
|Aaron Fields||Bruce (father)||CLE||42|
|J.J. Franco||John (father)||NYM||42|
|Trey Nielson||Scott (father)||CHC||42|
|Michael O'Neill||Paul (uncle)||NYY||42|
|Michael Benjamin||Mike (father)||COL||45|
|Ben Verlander||Justin (brother)||DET||46|
|Gabriel Romero||Rickey (brother)||TOR||47|
|Cody Martin||Ethan (brother)||LAD||47|
|Kenneth Sigman||Lee (father)||ARI||48|
|Audry Santana||Rafael (father)||CWS||48|
|James Mahler||Mickey (father)||ATL||48|
|Anthony Garcia||Leo (father)||LAD||48|
|Tad Barton||Shawn (father)||ARI||49|
|Colton Keough||Matt (father)||SEA||49|
|Joseph Jackson||Joe (uncle*)||KC||50|
That's a characterization you'll hear often of second-generation players, who have all but grown up in the game. And sometimes, teams don't even need to wait a generation. The Dodgers have been so thrilled with Andre Ethier that they drafted his younger brother Devon in the 32nd round on Wednesday.
The Blue Jays and Tigers followed the Dodgers' lead, hoping to get another productive player simply by tapping a familiar bloodline. Detroit chose Benjamin Verlander, younger sibling of ace Justin Verlander, in the 46th round. One round later, Toronto pulled the same maneuver by drafting prep pitcher Gabriel Romero, younger brother of southpaw and former first-round draftee Ricky Romero.
Two other brothers -- Kellen Sweeney and Benjamin Gamel -- will see their big-league dreams framed by their sibling's accomplishments. Sweeney, younger brother of Oakland outfielder Ryan Sweeney, was drafted in the second round by Toronto on Tuesday. Gamel, brother of Milwaukee's Mat Gamel, was taken in the ninth round by the Yankees, giving him an interesting path of his own.
There's also Bryan Harper, who was taken in the same Draft as his celebrated younger brother. Harper, older brother to Bryce, the top pick in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, was selected in the 28th round by the Cubs on Tuesday. Harper, unlike most older brothers, will spend most of his career trying to live up to his younger brother's press clippings and expected accomplishments.
Dillon Moyer can trump that concern, considering that his dad, Jamie Moyer, is still an active player. The younger Moyer, selected in the 22nd round by Minnesota, is hoping to make it to the Majors as a slick-fielding infielder. And if he can do it within the next three or four years, he may have the extraordinarily rare opportunity of playing alongside, or facing, his father. But the elder Moyer, 47 years old, has been the oldest player in the National League for three seasons and may need to survive in the league until he's 50 to play with his son.
And if you think Moyer is feeling pressure, consider the cases of Patrick Leyland, Ozney Guillen, Brett Bochy, Mark Tracy and Bobby Geren. All of those players were drafted by teams that employ their fathers as the manager at the big league level, inserting a conflict of interest into the family dynamic. Leyland, son of Detroit manager Jim Leyland, was drafted in the eighth round -- the highest among this group.
Guillen, son of Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen, was taken by the White Sox in the 22nd round. And Tracy, son of Colorado manager Jim Tracy, was selected later in the same round. Perhaps the best perspective comes from Bochy, son of Francisco manager Bruce Bochy. The younger Bochy, a 30th-round draftee, admitted that baseball has been the common bond between father and son.
"Obviously, he never got to catch all my games like a normal dad, but growing up and spending time in the clubhouse and seeing how everybody went about their business was great," said Brett Bochy on Tuesday. "That was always what drove me to want to play pro ball."
And if you sampled many members of the next generation, you'd probably hear the same story. The names are so familiar -- Mel Rojas Jr., James Baldwin, Dickie Thon Jr. -- that it can't be a coincidence. And if you recall the pitching career of Rojas Sr. or Baldwin, you might be surprised to learn that their namesakes both plan on playing the outfield as professionals.
That confusion aside, you may be comforted by knowing that Thon Jr. plays the infield just like his father did. Cam Bedrosian, a first-round draftee by the Angels, is a hard-throwing reliever just like his dad, former Cy Young Award winner Steve Bedrosian. There's also Andy Fermin, son of former infielder Felix Fermin, who will take his glove skills to the Blue Jays after being taken in the 32nd round.
Former first-rounder Tracy Jones -- selected first overall in 1983 by Cincinnati -- got the pleasure of seeing his son Hunter taken by Cleveland in the 11th round on Tuesday. The same goes for former outfielder Wendell Magee, whose son. Josh. was drafted by Houston in the 18th round. Cory Vaughn, son of fearsome slugger Greg Vaughn, was selected by the Mets near the top of the fourth round.
The Mets dove further into the legacy business by drafting shortstop John Franco, son of former closer John Franco, in the 42nd round. Their hometown rivals, the Yankees, tried to recapture past brilliance by drafting outfielder Michael O'Neill, nephew of former Yankee great Paul O'Neill, later in the same round. But those weren't the only teams comfortable choosing a familiar name.
Prep infielder Connor Narron, son of former Texas manager Jerry Narron, was chosen in the fifth round by Baltimore. And Logan Thompson, son of former first-round draftee and career Giant Robby Thompson, was picked by Cleveland in the 33rd round.
The Dodgers may have taken the whole trend to a new level by attempting to employ the entire Wallach family. Former All-Star Tim Wallach is the manager at Triple-A Albuquerque, and his sons Matthew and Brett are both playing within the organization. Los Angeles went further toward completing the set on Wednesday by drafting right-handed prep pitcher Chad Wallach in the 43rd round.
Still, it's likely that no father was prouder than former Dodger and Angel Reggie Williams, who had two sons drafted in the 10th round on Tuesday. Williams' younger son, prep shortstop JaDamion Williams, was selected by Minnesota with pick No. 315 in the Draft. His older brother, outfielder Reggie Williams Jr., was taken just four picks later by the Cardinals out of Middle Georgia College.
Baseball's roots go back so far that two draftees -- Drew Cisco and Jake May -- have had grandfathers that had big league careers. Cisco, drafted by Cincinnati in the sixth round, is the grandson of former big league pitcher and pitching coach Galen Cisco. May, taken in the 39th round by the Reds, is the grandson of three-time All-Star Lee May, who finished his career with 354 home runs.
Perhaps no player is no more indicative of the interrelated trend than Andrew Benes, son of former top overall pick Andy Benes and nephew of former first-round draftee Alan Benes. The youngest Benes -- drafted in the 35th round by the Cardinals -- will attempt to distinguish himself as a third baseman, and while he may not be following directly in his father's footsteps, he has a chance to stick in the family business.
And if you think teams don't take the bloodline aspect seriously, consider this: With their 50th-round pick, the Royals selected a young man named Joseph Jackson, whom they identifed as the great-great grandnephew of all-time great "Shoeless" Joe Jackson.
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.