MLB's 10 Best Legacies

Brian Belko@@BrianBelkoContributor IIIMarch 20, 2012

MLB's 10 Best Legacies

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    Second-generation MLB players are few and far between, but every once in a while, a player comes along who had a father who also played professional baseball.

    There are currently 43 active second-generation baseball players either in the majors or in a team's minor league system. Among the second-generation players who are in the majors, several have the opportunity to have a big impact on their team's success this season.

    Those players may have made it to the majors in part because of the wisdom of their fathers, but how well they play in the 2012 season is up to them.

1. Prince Fielder

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    The Detroit Tigers made a huge splash in free agency when they signed Prince Fielder to a nine-year deal valued at $214 million.

    The addition of Prince Fielder immediately made the Tigers' lineup very imposing, as he now will be joining the dangerous Miguel Cabrera.

    Fielder's father, Cecil, also played for the Tigers. They are the only father-son combination to have both hit 50 home runs in a season.

    Fielder's talent should allow him to have another stellar offensive season for the Tigers. Last season, Fielder hit .299 with 38 home runs and a slugging percentage of .566.

2. Robinson Cano

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    The sweet-swinging second baseman of the New York Yankees, Robinson Cano is currently one of the best infielders in the American League.

    Last season, Cano hit .302 with 28 home runs, 118 RBI and a .533 slugging percentage. Cano also has three All-Star game appearances, three Silver Slugger awards and a Gold Glove to his credit.

    Cano's father, Jose Cano, pitched in six games for the Houston Astros in 1989. Jose Cano also pitched to his son when he won the 2011 Homerun Derby by crushing 12 home runs in the final round, which was a new record.

    Cano should have no problem having another stand-out season for the Yankees in 2012.

3. Nick Swisher

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    Nick Swisher, the former Ohio State Buckeye, is a New York Yankees fan favorite. He has an outgoing personality as well as a powerful bat. Last season, the right fielder clubbed his way to a .260 average, 23 home runs and 85 RBI.

    In addition to his bat, Swisher also brings quality defense to the Yankees' outfield. He ranked second in the American League among right fielders with a .996 fielding percentage in 2011.

    Swisher's father, Steve Swisher, played in 590 games in the major leagues with the Chicago Cubs, St. Louis Cardinals and the San Diego Padres. He was only a .216 career hitter after being a first-round draft pick in the 1973 draft.

    Nick Swisher is a big part of the Yankees' lineup and makes their already loaded roster that much better when he is raking.

4. Ike Davis

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    Ike Davis is an exciting, young player in the New York Mets' system. In 2010, he earned the starting first base job for the Mets after being called up from the minors in April. By the middle of May, Davis was hitting cleanup in the Mets' lineup.

    Davis is also an outstanding defensive first baseman. Unfortunately, Davis injured his ankle early in the 2011 season and was limited to only 36 games. In those 36 games, Davis hit .302 with seven home runs and 25 RBI.

    Davis' father, Ron, pitched in 481 games in the major leagues during his 11-year career. Ron Davis was a power relief pitcher and was an All-Star in 1981.

    The Mets have a great young player to be excited about in Ike Davis, who will look to have another solid season in 2012.

5. Jayson Werth

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    After signing a seven-year, $126 million contract with the Washington Nationals in December of 2010, outfielder Jayson Werth had a disappointing 2011 season. He only managed to hit .232 with 20 home runs and 58 RBI. Needless to say, the Nationals expected better after committing so much money to him.

    However, Werth still has the talent to be an imposing hitter in the middle of the Nationals' lineup. As recently as 2010, Werth hit .296 and crushed 27 home runs.

    Werth's father, Jeff Gowan, never made it to the majors, but he did play for an affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals. However, Werth's stepfather, Dennis Werth, played in parts of four seasons for the Kansas City Royals and the New York Yankees.

    Werth will be a pivotal part of the Nationals' lineup and a rebound season on his part will go a long way towards making the Nationals competitive in 2012.

6. Shelley Duncan

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    Throughout his career, Shelley Duncan has mostly been a bench player, getting inconsistent playing time and little opportunity to prove himself as a starter. However, after a blistering month of September last year, he is the favorite to win the Cleveland Indians' starting left field position.

    During that hot month of September, Duncan hit .265 and added in seven home runs and 23 RBI in only 83 at-bats.

    Duncan's father, Dave, was a major league catcher and has also been a pitching coach. He played for the Kansas City Royals, Oakland Athletics, Cleveland Indians and Baltimore Orioles, and he coached for the St. Louis Cardinals.

    Shelley Duncan has the potential to be the right-handed power-hitting outfielder the Indians have been looking for. If he is given the chance to start everyday, he could be a huge part of the Tribe's 2012 season.

7. Michael Brantley

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    Cleveland Indians center fielder Michael Brantley was acquired as a player to be named later in the CC Sabathia trade in 2008. He is slated to be the Indians' leadoff hitter and starting center fielder in 2012.

    While Brantley has been around the major leagues for several years, he is still only 24 years old. He is being given a great chance to show his talent this coming season.

    Brantley's father, Mickey, played parts of four seasons with the Seattle Mariners. His best and only full season came in 1988 when he hit .263 with 15 home runs and 56 RBI in 149 games.

    Michael Brantley was originally slated to play left field for the Tribe, but he was moved to center after Grady Sizemore underwent back surgery. Brantley will play a pivotal role in the Indians' 2012 season and must perform well if they want to keep pace with the Detroit Tigers in the American League Central Division.

8. Peter Bourjos

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    Peter Bourjos is a speedy, young outfielder for the Los Angeles Angels who showed surprising pop in his bat last season when 54 of his 151 hits went for extra bases. Overall, Bourjos hit .271 with 12 home runs and 43 RBI along with 22 stolen bases.

    Peter's father, Chris, played part of one season with the San Francisco Giants, collecting five hits and one RBI.

    Peter is expected to get the majority of starts in center field for the Angels in 2012. Look for him to improve on his stolen base total from last season as he also gets better at the plate.

9. Dee Gordon

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    Dee Gordon, the young shortstop of the Los Angeles Dodgers, may be one of the fastest players in the major leagues. Between the minors and majors last year, Gordon swiped 54 bags.

    Through 56 games in the majors last season, Gordon hit .304 with 11 RBI and picked up 24 stolen bases.

    Dee's father, Tom, pitched in 890 games for several different major league teams over a 21-year career. He owns a won-loss record of 138-126 with a 3.96 ERA and 1,928 strikeouts.

    Dee Gordon could start the year with the Dodgers. Given a full season in the majors, Gordon should be able to post some impressive stolen base totals.

10. Kyle Drabek

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    Although Kyle Drabek may start the season in the minor leagues, he has the potential to quickly be recalled by the Toronto Blue Jays. Drabek was the big prize in the Roy Halladay trade between the Blue Jays and Phillies in 2009.

    Last season, Drabek made 14 starts for the Jays. He went 4-5 with a 6.06 ERA and 51 strikeouts.

    Drabek's father, Doug, played for five different teams, but he enjoyed his best years with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Doug Drabek won the National League Cy Young Award in 1990. That year, he went 22-6 with a 2.76 ERA.

    Kyle Drabek will look to get to the majors as quickly as he can in 2012. He should be a fixture in the Jays' rotation for years to come.