The Dodgers selected 20-year-old Devon as a left fielder in the 32nd round of the First-Year Player Draft on Wednesday, giving him a chance to follow in Andre's steps.
"I think a lot of the front office and medical staff were happy to get an Ethier that won't give them problems," Andre said.
Andre was approached by Dodgers assistant general manager of scouting Logan White about the idea and had an inkling the pick could come. Devon had no clue.
"I think it was the last thing he expected," Andre said. "I didn't say anything. I just let it be a surprise."
"I was actually just playing summer ball [in New Hampshire], sitting at the table eating lunch," Devon said. "I got a text message saying I got drafted, I go 'Oh wow, really?' Kind of a big surprise for me. I didn't believe it."
Devon and the Dodgers are a comfortable match. Andre has told his brother how much he likes the organization, which has a proclivity for drafting relatives of current and former ballplayers. And Devon already knows White, who is close with the Ethier family.
The brothers talk on the phone once a week and they'll sometimes text, usually about what's going on on the field. Andre's been instructive for Devon, but separated by eight years, it was hard for them to be too close growing up.
Until recently, their paths in baseball had been different, too. Devon went to a different high school, a different junior college. But this summer, after Devon's sophomore year at Gateway Community College in Arizona ended, he joined the Keene Swamp Bats, the same team in the wood-bat New England Collegiate Baseball League that Andre had played for in 2001.
And now, as White pointed out to Devon on the phone, he's actually one-upped Andre. Andre, too, was drafted for the first time in the summer after junior college, but five rounds later than Devon was this year.
"He told me that out of junior college, Andre got drafted in the 37th round," Devon said. "He said that's one thing I can up have up on my brother."
Andre said he saw his brother possibly going further as a pitcher, while Devon said he saw himself at his best in the outfield. Devon went 1-2 with a 4.70 ERA in 23 innings at Gateway this season, and hit .315 with 34 runs scored and 21 steals in 24 attempts. Waiting around to pitch, Devon says, makes him restless.
"He's a low-line-drive, singles-type guy, bunts to get on base," said Andre, who got to see his brother play five or six times this spring with the Dodgers also in Arizona. "I think he has decent stuff pitching, but hasn't been coached really well. Maybe this will give him a decent opportunity to try his hand."
"He's a little like Andre was at a younger age," White said. "He's thinner, got to get stronger, but he's got a pretty good arm and a chance to hit. He's a young kid that's just getting better. Once he gets stronger and everything, he's got potential down the road. I think anybody who knows Andre and their family, they've got that desire to win and that great makeup."
Devon isn't sure yet whether he'll continue his education at a four-year school or turn pro. Andre and Devon's parents, Sandye and Byron Ethier, will be visiting Devon this weekend. They'll discuss it then.
"Someday getting a chance to play on the same field as my brother, that just totally blows my mind," Devon said. "There's no words for that. ... Both situations, going to play with the Dodgers right away or going to school, both sound very appealing to me."
A rundown of the Dodgers' Day 3 picks:
Round 31, Derek Cone, RHP, Mesa (Ariz.) C.C.: A teammate of Dodgers' seventh-round draft pick Ryan Christenson, the 6-foot-5 Cone was 6-4 with a 1.93 ERA and 105 strikeouts in 84 innings.
Round 32, Devon Ethier, LF, Gateway (Ariz.) C.C.:
One of Dodgers right fielder Andre Ethier's three siblings, the 20-year-old is currently playing in the wood-bat New England Collegiate Baseball League.
Round 33, Brett Lee, LHP, Bishop State (Ala.) C.C.:
The 6-foot-4 southpaw's fastball has been clocked at 92 mph.
Round 34, Joe Lincoln, C, Missouri Southern:
The junior led the Lions and ranked second in their conference with a .434 batting average. His 53 RBIs were a team-high and he was third with 11 home runs.
Round 35, Brett Beau, 1B, Southern Cal:
The left-handed hitter is the son of Bobby Brett and nephew of Ken Brett and George Brett. Brett hit .300 in 22 games, five starts.
Round 36, John Fasola, SS, Walsh Jesuit (Ohio) High:
The Kansas State recruit is a hard-throwing right-hander. According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Walsh was hitting .570 with 10 doubles and nine home runs on the season going into the first week of June.
Round 37, Calvin Vogelsang, 2B, College of Canyons (Calif.) C.C.:
The freshman, who played right field for the Cougars, hit .380 with 11 home runs and a .712 slugging percentage.
Round 38, Lucas Witt, CF, Lexington Christian (Ky.) Academy:
In 2009, Witt committed to play quarterback for the University of Kentucky. He battled a hamstring injury at the end of LCA's baseball season.
Round 39, Steven Matre, RHP, College of Mount Saint Joseph:
The senior missed his final season after undergoing Tommy John surgery on his throwing arm in 2009. "I figured since I hadn't played in a year I was probably not going to get drafted at this point," Matre said in a press release.
Round 40, Kaleb Clark, RHP, Riverton (Kans.) High:
The 6-foot-3, 200-pounder was clocked at 89 mph according to Perfect Game. He has an easy delivery and throws both a curve and slider.
Round 41, Kevin Williams, 2B, Crespi Carmelite (Calif.) High:
Williams will likely stay in the area even if he doesn't sign. He's committed to UCLA.
Round 42, Miles Williams, CF, Windsor (Calif.) High:
The 5-foot-11, 185-pound Williams is also a standout wide receiver.
Round 43, Chad Wallach, RHP, Calvary Chapel (Calif.) High:
The third son of Triple A Albuquerque coach Tim Wallach to be drafted by the Dodgers, Wallach is leaning toward attending Cal State Fullerton, his father's alma mater, where he is likely going to be a two-way player.
Round 44, Nicholas Baker, RHP, Palm Desert (Calif.) High:
Four days before he was drafted, Baker pitched a four-hitter to lead Palm Desert to a Southern Section Division 4 championship, according to the L.A. Times.
Round 45, Logan Gallagher, SS, Louisburg College:
Gallagher hit .388 with 39 RBIs in 152 at-bats this season. He went deep six times.
Round 46, Bret Montgomery, RHP, California State Dominguez Hills:
The senior threw five consecutive complete games at one point in his career. At 6-foot-7, 250-pounder also played at Moorpark College.
Round 47, Cody Martin, 1B, Chipola (Fla.) J.C.:
The brother of 2008 Dodgers' first-rounder and cousin of Dodgers' 2010 second-rounder Ralston Cash, Martin received media attention in 2008 for throwing a pitch in high school that his catcher reportedly did not attempt to catch, letting it hit the umpire in protest of the strike zone.
Round 48, Anthony Garcia, 2B, Cesar Chavez (Ariz.) High:
Garcia is the son of Leo Garcia, who had 174 at-bats for the Reds in 1987-88.
Round 49, Robert Shultz, RHP, Eastside Catholic (Wash.) High
Round 50, Taylor Kaczmarek, RHP, Desert Ridge (Ariz.) High:
Kaczmarek went 11-1 with a 2.16 ERA and 78 strikeouts in 62 innings. He was named Arizona Player of the Year by two groups, Gatorade and the Arizona Baseball Coaches Association, according to the Arizona Republic.