The baseball draft is not like the football or basketball drafts. With rare exceptions, no one in the baseball draft is a household name and few if any of them are even moderately well known outside of the fanbase of whatever high school or college team they played for. And, of course, most of them will never even make the big leagues, so the anonymity may be permanent.
But there are always some guys in the draft with family connections to well-known dudes. Like North Carolina State infielder Joe Dunand, who the Marlins selected with the 51st overall pick. He’s Alex Rodriguez’s nephew:
“I’m not saying he’s A-Rod,” said Marlins scouting director Stan Meek. “(But) you can see some of A-Rod in him . . . He’s got raw power,” Meek said. “He actually looks a little bit like A-Rod in the face. Actually, the swing has some similarities (with Rodriguez’s). The body is a little heavier. He’s not quite as tall.”
Not that Dunard was drafted on pedigree and vague, projection-fueled resemblances. He hit .289 with 16 home runs this season for N.C. State and set a high school record a few years back by homering in eight consecutive at bats. A-Rod used to throw batting practice to him and has frequently offered him tips and hitting advice. He could likely also help Dunand with his professional development as he, like his famous uncle, is a shortstop who many believe will shift to third base one day.
Still not too late to get involved in that Marlins sale, A-Rod. If you’re the owner, you could do so much more for your nephew’s future!
The Athletics followed Friday’s 3-0 shutout with a rookie-led home run derby on Saturday afternoon, watching not one, not two, but three rookies belt their first major league home runs off of the White Sox’ James Shields.
Right fielder Matt Olson was the first to strike, taking Shields deep on a first-pitch, two-run blast in the first inning for his first home run in 49 major league plate appearances:
Fellow outfielder Jaycob Brugman duplicated his teammate’s results in the second inning with a solo home run, his first extra-base hit of any kind since he made his debut on June 9:
In the third, with a comfortable 4-0 lead backing two scoreless frames from Oakland right-hander Daniel Gossett, Franklin Barreto took his shot at Shields. After getting the call several hours prior to Saturday’s game, he became the fastest of the three rookies to record his first big league homer, going yard on a 2-2 changeup and driving in Bruce Maxwell to give the A’s a six-run advantage.
The Athletics currently lead the White Sox 8-2 in the top of the sixth inning.
The Athletics called up their top prospect on Saturday, inserting shortstop Franklin Barreto into the lineup for their second game against the White Sox. Barreto was originally scheduled to make his major league debut on Sunday, but got a head start after Jed Lowrie sustained a minor knee sprain in Friday’s 3-0 win and was scratched from Saturday’s lineup.
Barreto, 21, has been rapidly climbing the rungs of the A’s minor league system after getting dealt by the Blue Jays in 2014. He got his first taste of Triple-A action late last year, going 6-for-17 with three RBI and getting caught stealing in two attempts. He fared little better this spring, slashing .281/.326/.428 with eight home runs and a .754 OPS through his first 309 PA in Nashville.
While his minor league production has been solid, if underwhelming for a prospect of his caliber, the A’s are expected to give the rookie infielder a long leash with both Marcus Semien and Chad Pinder sitting on the disabled list. Pinder landed on the 10-day DL after suffering a left hamstring strain on Friday. Semien, meanwhile, is still working his way back from the 60-day DL with a right wrist fracture and likely won’t rejoin the team until he completes a rehab assignment with High-A Stockton.