The Next Wave of Players' Sons Who Will Be Impact Names in MLB
Major League Baseball has been blessed over the years with a bevy of father/son combinations that have starred in back-to-back generations.
Ken Griffey and Ken Griffey Jr., Felipe and Moises Alou and Bobby and Barry Bonds are just some of the paternal pairings that have made an impact on baseball through the years.
And now, other sons of former major league stars threaten to add their names to the father/son list.
Last Friday, Josh Pettitte, son of current New York Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte, fired a no-hitter for Deer Park (TX) High School, striking out 10 batters and walking just one.
Pettitte has committed to Baylor University and could very well have a decision to make when the MLB draft rolls around in June.
While the younger Pettitte is still a ways away from forging his own career in MLB, several other sons of former players are currently toiling away in the minors, hoping for the chance to match their fathers' exploits.
Here are eight sons who could soon become great players in their own right.
Cameron Seitzer: Tampa Bay Rays
Throughout his 12-year career in the majors, third baseman Kevin Seitzer could handle a bat. He ended his career with a .295 average and finished second to Mark McGwire in Rookie of the Year Award balloting of 1987.
His son Cameron is now determined to follow in his father's footsteps.
Drafted in Round 11 of the 2011 MLB draft by the Tampa Bay Rays, the young Seitzer has impressed thus far with the bat, hitting .299 over his first two minor league seasons.
Seitzer is not listed among the top 20 prospects in the Rays organization, but the former University of Oklahoma star will look to continue wielding a hot bat and further impress with his play.
Ryan Garvey: Colorado Rockies
As a slugging and slick-fielding first baseman, Steve Garvey helped lead two teams to the World Series, was selected to 10 All-Star teams and won the 1974 NL MVP Award.
His son Ryan is looking to make his own mark.
The younger Garvey was drafted by the Colorado Rockies in Round 33 of last year's MLB draft. Unlike his father, Garvey roams the outfield but showed off the same hitting prowess as his dad in a brief stint last year in the Pioneer Rookie League.
Garvey hit .304 with five HR and 19 RBI in 29 games last season for Grand Junction. While his goal of playing in the majors faces long odds, he's certainly gotten off to a solid start.
Shawon Dunston, Jr.: Chicago Cubs
For much of his 18-year career, shortstop Shawon Dunston plied his trade for the Chicago Cubs, earning two All-Star selections along the way.
Son Shawon Jr. is trying to forge the same path.
Drafted by his father's former team in 2011, the Dunston Jr. started out slow, hitting .257 with three homers and 26 RBI in his first professional season.
At 6'2" and 170 pounds, Dunston will likely fill out a bit more and develop some more power. Scouts like his overall makeup—a strong arm, speed with good range in the outfield and a solid baseball IQ, which can never be understated.
While he has a long journey ahead of him, Dunston is fortunate to be with an organization that has re-committed itself to developing its homegrown talent. Dunston will be the given the time he needs to see if he can in fact follow in his father's footsteps.
Jordan Hershiser: Los Angeles Dodgers
At 6'8" and 245 pounds, 24-year-old prospect Jordan Hershiser is an imposing presence on the mound.
But whether or not he can match his father's lofty achievements in the majors remains to be seen.
The son of Cy Young Award-winner Orel Hershiser, Jordan was drafted by his father's former team, the Los Angeles Dodgers, in Round 34 of last year's MLB draft.
Jordan Hershiser has already endured hardship, undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2009 and missing large chunks of time due to injury in 2010 and 2011.
Nonetheless, the Dodgers saw enough to select him. In 18 appearances last year in the minors, Hershiser registered a solid 2.78 ERA and 8.7 K/9 rate.
Unlike his dad, Hershiser's future likely rests in the bullpen. Already 24, Hershiser's odds of making it all the way to Dodger Stadium are long.
However, if he can avoid injury and continue to make a mark in relief, he could one day make that leap and make his father proud.
Scott Van Slyke: Los Angeles Dodgers
Over the past two seasons, prospect Scott Van Slyke has raked at the minor league level.
Son of former center fielder Andy Van Slyke, Scott hit .348 with a 1.022 OPS for Double-A Chattanooga in 2011. He followed that up by hitting .327 with a .982 OPS at Triple-A Albuquerque last season.
The Los Angeles Dodgers gave Van Slyke a look last year, where he hit just .167 in 27 games. The Dodgers designated him for assignment in December, but no team offered to pick him up.
Time is running out for Van Slyke, who will be 27 in July, and it's a stretch to call him a prospect. With the Dodgers spending millions to reload their roster, Van Slyke's future in LA doesn't look promising.
However, as spring training winds down, it's entirely possible teams will be in the hunt for a powerful bat.
Van Slyke could be the bat they're seeking.
Dante Bichette, Jr.: New York Yankees
Outfielder Dante Bichette made his mark with the Colorado Rockies, joining forces with the Andres Galarraga, Vinny Castilla and Larry Walker to form the powerful hitting quartet, the "Blake Street Bombers" in the mid-1990s.
Now, his son is attempting to carry on the family tradition in New York City.
Already ranked the No. 9 top prospect for the Yankees by MLB.com, young Bichette is already considered to be a solid defensive third baseman and could arrive in the Bronx sometime between 2014 and 2016.
Drafted by the Yankees in the supplemental round of the 2011 MLB draft, Bichette hit .248 with three HR and 46 RBI last year for the Charleston RiverDogs in Single-A ball. At just 20 years of age, the Yankees will take their time with Bichette.
But at some point, he could make fans forget all about Alex Rodriguez as he takes his place at the hot corner in Yankee Stadium.
Lance McCullers: Houston Astros
Lance McCullers forged a solid career as a reliever in the 1980s, posting a career 3.25 ERA before retiring in 1992.
Now, he can sit back and watch as his son rapidly rises through the Houston Astros organization.
Selected by the Astros in the supplemental round of last year's MLB draft, the younger Lance is already their sixth-highest ranked prospect according to MLB.com.
With a fastball that reaches the high-90s and a plus slider, Lance's future, unlike his father, is likely as a starter. McCullers posted a 3.46 ERA and 10.0 K/9 rate in just eight starts last season and will likely start this year in the lower levels.
Many experts project great things from the fireballing right-hander, as he joins Jarred Cosart, Kevin Comer and Brad Peacock in Houston's promising starting rotation.
Delino DeShields Jr.: Houston Astros
Delino DeShields was a terrific baserunning threat throughout his 12-year career in the majors, finishing with 463 total thefts.
His son, Delino DeShields Jr., has the potential to be just as prolific on the basepaths as well.
Selected by the Astros with the eighth overall pick in the 2010 MLB draft, DeShields stole 101 bases between Single-A and Advanced Single-A ball last season.
He showed proficiency at the plate as well, hitting .287 with a robust .389 on-base percentage.
While he's still developing defensively, DeShields is the No. 2 ranked second base prospect in all of baseball according to MLB.com.
It will be a couple of years before DeShields makes his way to the majors, but when that time comes he will look to obliterate the family stolen base record before his career is over.