In the 2012 MLB first-year players draft, the Baltimore Orioles selected local prep standout Ryan Ripken, otherwise known as the son of Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. Along those same lines—though significantly less notable—the Chicago Cubs seemingly tossed manager Dave Sveum a bone by drafting his son, Rustin, in the 39th round.
Well, the baseball bloodlines run especially deep in this year’s draft class. More importantly, unlike Rustin Sveum, several of these relatives of former superstars are expected to be early-round selections later this week, some possibly even in the first round.
Here’s a look at the top 10 prospects with baseball bloodlines in the 2013 draft class.
Rankings are based on draft upside.
1. Hunter Harvey, RHP, Bandys HS (N.C.)
Drafted by: Baltimore Orioles (No. 22 overall)
Hunter Harvey’s baseball bloodlines run deep, as his father, Bryan, spent nine seasons as a reliever in the major leagues.
A 6’3” right-hander, Bryan led the American League with 46 saves in 1991 and notched another 45 saves in 1993. In both seasons, he was named to the AL All-Star team and appeared within the top 10 in the league’s Cy Young voting. Overall, he registered a 2.49 ERA with 177 saves and a 10.4 K/9 while appearing in 322 games, but he was out of baseball by the 1996 season due to elbow problems.
Outlook: Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman have yet another dominant arm to hang out with, as Hunter Harvey now gives the Orioles their own 'Big 3'. He may take some time to develop, but he will absolutely be worth the wait.
Like his father, Hunter Harvey is an athletic right-hander with a projectable frame and lots of arm strength. However, unlike most of the other prep pitchers expected to hear their names called on June 6, his exposure in front of scouts was minimal last summer, as he chose to play locally (North Carolina) rather than pitch on the showcase circuit.
Furthermore, Harvey’s situation is unique in that he wants to begin his professional career immediately—so much so that he’s willingly uncommitted for the 2014 season.
But none of that will matter come Thursday night, as Harvey could be selected as early as the mid-first round.
2. Cavan Biggio, 3B/2B, St. Thomas HS (Texas)
The son of should-be Hall of Famer Craig Biggio, who collected 3,060 hits over his 20-year career with the Houston Astros, Cavan is one of the better prep hitters in this year’s class. A left-handed hitter, he has the potential for an above-average hit tool in the pros thanks to a combination of bat speed, barrel control and plate discipline.
The only thing preventing Biggio from being selected in the first round is his lack of a true defensive position; he’s serviceable at second and third base but currently lacks the speed and range to project at either spot long term. That being said, his bat and approach will likely warrant consideration from several teams as a sandwich pick, but it’s more likely he’ll come off the board sometime beyond the first round.
3. Jordan Sheffield, RHP, Tullahoma HS (Tenn.)
The nephew of Gary Sheffield, Jordan was regarded as one of the top right-handers in the 2013 draft class headed into the spring. However, after battling elbow discomfort to open the season, the 6’1”, 175-pound pitcher underwent Tommy John surgery in late April.
When he was healthy in 2012, Sheffield’s fastball registered in the mid-90s and scraped a few ticks higher. The hard-throwing right-hander also featured a sharp slider in the mid-80s with tight spin and depth, a curveball with downer bite, and a changeup that lagged behind the other offerings.
Considering that he won’t return to the mound until next spring, it’s a safe bet that Sheffield will honor his commitment to Vanderbilt. However, a flattering, over-slot signing bonus could get him to reconsider.
4. Jacob May, OF/2B, Coastal Carolina
Although he’s the grandson of Lee May, who amassed 354 home runs during his 18-year career in the major leagues, Jacob is anything but a slugger. At 5’10”, 175 pounds, his greatest assets are speed and athleticism, both of which led to his selection by the Reds out of high school in the 39th round of the 2010 draft.
Despite the fact that he’s fresh off the best season of his college career, May’s ability as a switch-hitter remains a concern, as he struggled to make adjustments during the spring. As a result, some scouts have soured on him, but he’s still a relatively safe bet to come off the board sometime within the first seven rounds.
5. Kacy Clemens, RHP/1B, Memorial HS (Texas)
The son of Roger Clemens, Kacy has put together an impressive prep career as a first baseman and right-handed pitcher for Memorial High School. As a left-handed hitter, Clemens projects to hit for power in the pros thanks to his advanced bat speed and fluid weight transfer through the baseball.
On the mound, the 6’2”, 200-pound Clemens was topping out at 91-92 mph last summer, but he has consistently sat in the upper-80s for a majority of the spring. Meanwhile, Clemens’ secondary stuff needs considerable refinement, which makes me believe he’d be better off honoring his commitment to the University of Texas next season.
6. Jacob Heyward, OF, Eagles Christian Academy (Ga.)
The younger brother of Braves outfielder Jason Heyward, Jacob is a 6’2”, 195-pound corner outfielder with a smooth right-handed swing and plenty of raw power. Although he’s only an average runner, his quiet athleticism plays up in games and is noticeable on both sides of the ball. Committed to the University of Miami next season, Heyward is the type of raw player who stands to benefit from a four-year program.
7. Mike Yastrzemski, OF, Vanderbilt
A four-year starter at Vanderbilt, Mike Yastrzemski, the grandson of Carl Yastrzemski, lacks a standout tool but is a well-rounded player who makes the most of his ability. The left-handed hitter features a quick, compact swing that yields line drives to all fields, while his speed and outstanding instincts also make him a threat on the basepaths.
However, at 5’10”, 185 pounds, Yastrzemski possesses below-average power and doesn’t fit the profile of a true corner outfielder. Provided that he can play center field in the pros, the lack of power should be less of an issue, but it may place additional pressure on the development of his hit tool.
8. Manny Ramirez, Jr., 1B, IMG Academy (Fla.)
The son of—you guessed it—Manny Ramirez, Manny Jr. is already physically strong at 6’4”, 215 pounds, with room to add strength. And much like his father, the youngster is a right-handed hitter with a quick bat and plus raw power.
Although he’s only 17 years old, Manny Jr. has a natural feel for hitting; he employs an aggressive approach at the plate and certainly isn’t afraid to cut it loose. Starting to sound familiar? However, the fact that he’s already being labeled as a potential first-base-only prospect is bad news.
Even though he got off to a hot start this spring playing for IMG Academy—a private school that specifically caters to student-athletes—Manny Jr.’s performance has been inconsistent overall. Regardless, his big-time power potential makes him a candidate to be selected within the first 15 rounds of this year’s draft.
9. Torii Hunter, Jr., OF, Prosper HS (Texas)
The son of Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter, Torii Jr. stands out for his all-around athleticism and collection of raw tools. Unfortunately, he didn’t have an opportunity to showcase his potential on the diamond this spring due to a leg injury sustained in January.
While there may be an organization willing to take a flier on him later in the draft, it’s doubtful that Torii Jr. will be selected high enough to pass on his football scholarship (wide receiver) to Notre Dame next year.
10. Josh Pettitte, RHP, Deer Park HS (Texas)
At 6’1”, 190 pounds, Josh Pettitte, the son of Andy Pettitte, doesn’t have his father’s size or handedness, though they do share the same mannerisms on the mound and a smooth, polished delivery.
Committed to Baylor University for the 2014 season, Pettitte is more of a finesse pitcher with a fastball that’s reached 88 mph. Beyond that, the right-hander has some pitchability thanks to his overall feel and present ability to command three secondary offerings.
With a fastball that's yet to crack 90 mph and the overall lack of a standout pitch, Pettitte isn’t much of a prospect—yet. However, after three seasons at Baylor, we may be talking about him as a potential high-round draft pick in 2016.
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