The Toronto Blue Jays selected a pair of familiar last names atop the 2016 MLB Draft
Drafting from MLB bloodlines is not a new phenomenon, and given the many thousands of names that have been drafted professionally, doing so is not nearly as rare an in other professional sports.
Often these are sentimental picks. We saw exactly that in round 24 of this past weekend’s draft when the Seattle Mariners drafted Trey Griffey, son of Ken Griffey Jr., despite him being a college wide receiver who hasn’t played competitive baseball since before high school. The Blue Jays took a different approach, however, seeing the bloodlines as a legitimate asset.
Speaking earlier this week on The Fan 590 in Toronto, general manager Ross Atkins admitted that these MLB bloodlines were not something the Jays actively chased. Nor should they be. They are considered, though, and it was especially interesting to hear Atkins speak about how these prospects with family members who have played professionally do not see making the majors as such an unrealistic or unattainable goal. Within their own families, they’ve seen the reality of it.
That’s not enough to turn an average prospect into a good one, but there’s more to that than drafting a player in the round of his father’s jersey number (which, for the record, is a very nice tribute to the Mariners’ great).
SS Bo Bichette – Round 2 (66)
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Bo’s father Dante Bichette was drafted by the California Angels in round 17 of the 1984 draft and went on enjoy a very productive 14-year MLB career. The elder Bichette finished runner-up to Barry Larkin in 1995 for the NL MVP as a member of the Rockies. While WAR and modern metrics don’t view his game as generously, Bichette hit 40 home runs with 128 RBIs that season, the first of five consecutive years in which he drove in 115 or more. He finished as a career .299 hitter with 274 home runs.
2B Cavan Biggio – Round 5 (162)
It’s hard to beat the bloodlines here. Hall-of-fame second-baseman Craig Biggio produced a career WAR of 65.8, peaking in 1997 at 9.3 where he finished fourth in AL MVP voting behind Larry Walker, Mike Piazza, and Astros teammate Jeff Bagwell. Biggio played 20 major league seasons, appearing in 140+ games in 16 of them and joining the 3,000 hit club at age 41 in 2007. He played such a strong all-around games, doing everything from stealing 50 bases in 1998 at 32 to launching 21 home runs in 2006 as a 40-year-old.
LHP Spencer Van Scoyoc – Round 19 (582)
Spencer’s father, Aaron, was drafted twice. First by the Orioles in 1988 (round 38), then by the Yankees the following year in the 21st round. He didn’t make it past Advanced-A ball, but the younger Van Scoyoc has another (less direct) family connection to the bigs. His grand-uncle is former MLB All-Star Mike Boddicker, who finished fourth in AL Cy Young voting in 1984 with Baltimore. Boddicker pitched 14 seasons in the majors, holding a record of 134-116 with a career ERA of 3.80.
RHP Ben Anderson – Round 26 (792)
MLB bloodlines still count even if they’ve only existed for a day and a half, right? Ben’s twin brother Ian Anderson was drafted in the first round, third overall, by the Atlanta Braves on Thursday. The brothers pitched this past season for Shenendehowa High School in New York.