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Saturday, June 04, 2011

Family tree: Sons of ex-players, athletes sprout in 2011 draft -

Family tree: Sons of ex-players, athletes sprout in 2011 draft -

Sons of former ballplayers, current managers and a hockey legend — not to mention the grand-nephew of baseball's most famous dwarf — could all be drafted with the hopes of making a significant impact in the game when Major League Baseball conducts its draft June 6-8.

It will be a mild surprise if any of those with baseball in their genes are drafted in the first round, but several have a chance to be in the top 100 selections.

A good bet to go in the top 50 is Dwight Smith Jr., an outfielder from McIntosh (Ga.) High School who committed to Georgia Tech. His father was a Chicago Cubs third-round pick in 1984 and played eight seasons as a major league outfielder.

In 1995, Smith was a member of the World Series champion Atlanta Braves.

Just as Smith credits his father for refining his skills, so does Shawon Dunston Jr., whose dad was the top pick in the 1982 draft and played 18 big-league seasons. Dunston, out of Valley Christian High School in San Jose, is a fleet outfielder who has signed to play at Vanderbilt.

Like his dad, who was a 12-game winner for the World Series champion Cincinnati Reds in 1990, Vanderbilt's Jack Armstrong Jr. is a right-handed pitcher on a talented staff. His teammate, Sonny Gray , has a chance to be a top-10 selection.

Dante Bichette Jr. — son of the slugger who led the National League with 40 homers and 128 RBI in 1995 — gained notice by starring in the Little League World Series. He is graduating from Orangewood Christian (Fla.) High and continues to get plenty of attention from scouts.

Though a shortstop in high school, Bichette, who has signed to play at Georgia, projects as a third baseman.

Former hockey superstar Wayne Gretzky's son Trevor is a hard-hitting first baseman at Oaks Christian High School in Westlake Village, Calif. Gretzky, who also played quarterback for Oaks Christian, has committed to play baseball at San Diego State, where he would be coached by Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn.

Valparaiso outfielder Kyle Gaedele, who was drafted out of high school in the 32nd round by the Tampa Bay Rays in 2008, stands 6-4. His great uncle, Eddie Gaedel, was 3-7 when St. Louis Browns owner Bill Veeck sent him to the plate in a 1951 game. Eddie walked on four pitches, but Kyle likes to swing the bat.

Then there's super-agent Scott Boras' son Trent, who draws notice as a third baseman for JSerra Catholic High School in San Juan Capistrano, Calif. He has committed to play at Southern California, possibly alongside his brother Shane, who was drafted in the 35th round by the St. Louis Cardinals last year.

One current big-leaguer might see his son's name called: Washington Nationals catcher Ivan Rodriguez's son Dereck is a draft-worthy outfielder for Miami's Monsignor Pace High School.

Among other sons of former big-leaguers who might get drafted: Brandon Bonilla (Bobby), a left-handed pitcher at IMG Academies, Bradenton, Fla.; Tyler Bream (Sid), a third baseman from Liberty University; and Ryan Garvey (Steve), a third baseman at Palm Desert (Calif.) High School.

Some notable siblings figure to get their names called, as well. Joe Ross, a fireballing right-hander from Bishop O'Dowd (Oakland) High School with a commitment to UCLA, is the younger brother of Oakland Athletics pitcher Tyson Ross .

Bryan Harper, a left-handed pitcher taken in the 26th round by the Cubs in 2010, is a pitcher at South Carolina and the brother of last year's first overall pick, Bryce Harper . Right-hander David Lucroy, who has signed to play at East Carolina, is the younger brother of Milwaukee Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy .

Some sons of current managers might be late-round selections. Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen's son Ozney is an outfielder at Miami-Dade Junior College. Brewers manager Ron Roenicke's son Lance is an outfielder at Cal-Santa Barbara, and Angels manager Mike Scioscia's son Matt is a catcher at Notre Dame.

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