Monday, March 20, 2023

A Word on Second-Generationers


We're...we're really at a larger peak of sons of MLB players right now than we were in 1989, when Ken Griffey Jr., Moises Alou and Barry Bonds were running around. How insane is that?

I think this new wave of second generation major leaguers was most evident during the draft last year, when Baltimore's choice for the top 2 picks were between Jackson Holliday, son of Matt Holliday, and Druw Jones, son of Andruw Jones. Either way, a second-generationer is going first, and so soon after Jack Leiter as well. We are really well in this, and it only seldom occurs to people.

Hell, prepping a custom post today I realized the next two I had ready were Cal Quantrill and Ke'Bryan Hayes, whose dads probably squared off at some point in the 90s. 

All this at the point where Hollywood is having a nepotism crisis, saying that people are succeeding because they have famous parents, all while one of the few *good* nepo babies, Jamie Lee Curtis, just won an Oscar. In the MLB it's different because we've obviously seen people be prized because of their name basis but struggle while making their own luck, like Tony Gwynn Jr., Tony Armas Jr., Josh Barfield, Eric Young Jr, etc. The second-generationers that become huge, like your Ken Griffey Jr's, your Fernando Tatis Jr's, your Vladimir Guerrero Jr's, they only bring so much from their father and they come into their own as different, intriguing players themselves. 

As is custom for a lot of Spring Training posts, I went through the rosters and tried to find a second-generationer for each team. Let's see how well I did.

Astros: Lance McCullers Jr., he of the tipped pitches and April injuries. 

Blue Jays: Your 2019 big three, Guerrero, Bichette and Biggio. Bo and Vlad have done a nice job outrunning the legends of their fathers, Biggio has struggled. There is now the addition of Daulton Varsho, whose dad Gary played for a bit.

Braves: Just Ronnie Acuna

Cubs: Just Cody Bellinger. He's at the very least eclipsed his dad's MLB work, but man is he in danger of losing his late-2010s clout..

Diamondbacks: I learned very recently that Buddy Kennedy is Don Money's grandson, which is honestly pretty cool. Way too soon to say if he eclipses that benchmark, though.

Dodgers: Does Trayce Thompson count if his brother's in the NBA? Probably not but it's definitely important.

Giants: Little known fact, Mike Yastrzemski's dad was drafted by the Braves, and played a few years for Durham and Birmingham. Even without the Carl factor he'd be a second-generationer by proxy, though having your grandfather be a Sox hero is a plus. Also, Joc Pederson's dad had a cup of coffee with the Dodgers.

Guardians: Plesac and Quantrill, though Plesac's uncle was the reliever, not his dad.

Padres: Tatis, but also Ryan Weathers, whose dad was a reliever in the 90s and 00s. 

Phillies: Most notably Kody Clemens, who is amusingly a decent pitching option despite probably not being credited as a two-way player [thanks a bil, Manfred]. 

Pirates: Just Ke'Bryan Hayes, but that's still a pretty awesome second-generationer

Red Sox: I keep forgetting Adalberto Mondesi is with the Sox now. Like I saw some BP at Fenway South and was surprised that Mondi was there. That's how low-key that trade was.

Rockies: C.J. Cron's dad famously had a few cups of coffee in the 90s. 

Royals: Bobby Witt Jr., of course, and he's looking like he's here to stay. 

Twins: Similar to Thompson, does it count if Jose Miranda's related to Lin-Manuel Miranda? If not, you've got Nick Gordon, son of Tom.

So that is 15/30 with second-generationers in the bigs that I know about, though there are probably a bunch I'm not aware of. That is a great deal, though a lot less than I figured. With all the prospects waiting to jump in, that number's probably gonna grow in the next few years anyhow.

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