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Some familiar names taken in draft

6/12/2014

Ever wonder why baseball sees more father-son combos reach the highest level than the NFL or NBA? Two answers: Because baseball is harder to play, you have to start at a younger age and sons of major leaguers are obviously exposed to the sport as soon as they start walking; since size is an important attribute, at least at certain positions, to playing in the NFL or NBA, the group of eligible athletes is somewhat self-selective (although you would think the sons of NBA players would tend to be taller).

Anyway, learning baseball, especially the skills to hit a baseball, requires years of repetition. Those early advantages that sons of major leaguers have can pay off in the long run. This year's draft once again saw some familiar names selected. Witness:

--Nick Gordon, SS (son of Tom and brother of Dee), 5th overall pick by the Twins

--Brandon Leibrandt, LHP (son of Charlie), 6th round by Phillies

--Luke Dykstra, SS (son of Lenny), 7th round by the Braves

--Drew Stankiewicz, SS (son of Andy), 11th round by the Phillies

--Kevin Cron, 1B (son of Chris, brother of C.J.), 14th round by the Diamondbacks

--Ryan Ripken, 1B (son of Cal), 15th round by the Nationals

--Lukas Schiraldi, RHP (son of Calvin), 15th round by the Mariners

--Cliff Brantley, OF (son of Cliff), 19th round by the Blue Jays

--Dominic Jose, OF (son of Felix), 24th round by the Yankees

--Brandon Bonilla, LHP (son of Bobby), 25th round by the Orioles

--Mike Fitzgerald, C (son of Mike), 27th round by the Padres

--Mariano Rivera III, RHP, 29th round by the Yankees

--Elliot Cary, OF (son of Chuck), 32nd round by the Nationals

--Hunter Bross, OF (son of Terry), 34th round by Dodgers

--Dave Hollins, 3B (son of Dave), 35th round by Tigers

--Logan Browning, LHP (son of Tom), 36th round by the Reds

--Yan Rivera, SS (son of Luis), 36th round by the Blue Jays

--Patrick Mahomes, RHP (son of Pat), 37th round by the Tigers

--Gavin Sheets, 1B (son of Larry), 37th round by the Braves

--Jed Sprague, 1B (son of Ed, grandson of Ed), 37th round by the White Sox

--J.J. Franco, 2B (son of John), 38th round by the Braves

--Magglio Ordonez Jr., 1B, 38th round by the Tigers

--Benito Santiago Jr., C, 38th round by the Giants

--Grayson Byrd, SS (son of Paul), 39th round by the Braves

--James Lynch, OF (son of Ed), 39th round by the Blue Jays

--Dalton Guthrie, SS (son of Mark), 40th round by the Twins

Rivera Jr. went 2-5 with a 5.40 ERA for Iona College. He has not yet developed his dad's famous cutter.

We also had brothers of current pros, most notably Bradley Zimmer, the 21st overall pick, joining his brother Kyle as a first-round selection. Kyle is the Royals' top prospect, a pitcher, while Bradley is an outfielder drafted by the Indians. Tampa Bay selected Casey Gillaspie, brother of White Sox third baseman Conor, with the 20th overall pick. Also cool: In the second round, the Indians drafted pitcher Grant Hockin, grandson of the late Harmon Killebrew.

(Thanks to this article on MLB.com for help.)

As for next year: Daz Cameron, son of Mike, is apparently just like his dad: A toolsy outfielder with a power/speed combo. He could go in the first round.