Rivera, Matheny, Gibson also among dads of draftees
By Paul Casella
A famous last name can be a boon or a burden to a Major League prospect, but one thing is certain: It will never go unnoticed. Several players with notable surnames were taken over the 40 rounds of the MLB Draft, including the son of a Hall of Famer and a few sons of prominent big league executives.
Conor Biggio, the son of 2015 Hall of Fame electee Craig Biggio, will get to ply his trade in the same Houston organization that nurtured his father's standout career. That's hardly the only example. Jeff Conine is so esteemed in Miami that he was given the nickname "Mr. Marlin," and he still works for the team, as an executive in the front office. On Wednesday, Conine got to see his son, Griffin Conine, drafted by the team he has served so faithfully for so long.
Mariano Rivera Jr. had a chance to follow in his father's footsteps last year when the Yankees selected him in the 29th round. Rivera instead elected to return to Iona for his senior season with the hope of moving into the first 10 rounds of this year's Draft. That wish came true on Tuesday, when the Nationals took him in the fourth round with the 134th overall pick.
The selection of Rivera comes on the heels of the elder Rivera retiring at the end of the 2013 season. Mariano Rivera racked up a Major League-record 652 saves during his 19-year career and will now hope to pass the torch to his 21-year-old son.
"I'm happy for him," the elder Rivera said, while speaking at a Delta Dugout event in New York shortly after his son was selected. "He has worked hard. He has a dream. Everything that he has, he's just content and asking the Lord, playing to go all the way. That's our goal."
"Good kid, good kid -- he comes from a great family, so we're excited for him," Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia said. "I think he can learn everything from his dad. His dad is one of the best pitchers to ever pitch, so he's got that as his advantage. I heard he's throwing 95, 97 [mph], so you know he's got everything working for him."
The Riveras, however, are far from the only baseball family that will extend its ties to MLB in this year's Draft. In fact, Rivera's selection came in the same round that the Red Sox selected outfielder Tate Matheny, the son of Cardinals skipper Mike Matheny. One round later, the Tigers selected Cam Gibson 37 years after they selected his father, Kirk Gibson, with the 12th overall selection in 1978.
Here's an alphabetical look at some of the other selections with well-known relatives in the athletic community.
Andrew Amaro (OF, University of Tampa)
Amaro has two big league family ties. His grandfather, Ruben Amaro Sr., is a former Gold Glove Award winner, and his uncle, Ruben Amaro Jr., is the general manager of the Phillies. The youngest Amaro was taken by the Phillies in the 35th round (1,044th overall).
Brantley Bell (SS, State College of Florida)
Son of former All-Star and Gold Glove shortstop Jay Bell. He was taken in the 11th round (No. 325 overall) by the Reds.
Conor Biggio (OF, Notre Dame)
Son of Hall of Famer and Astros great Craig Biggio is following his father's footsteps to Houston. The younger Biggio was drafted by his dad's team in the 34th round (1,009th overall).
Daz Cameron (OF, Eagle's Landing Christian Academy)
Son of former Major League outfielder Mike Cameron, selected in Competitive Balance Round A (37th overall) by the Astros.
Ryan Castellanos (RHP, Nova Southeastern)
Castellanos got a great treat on Wednesday. His brother, Tigers third baseman Nick Castellanos, was able to make the announcement of the Draft pick. The younger Castellanos was taken by the Tigers in the 25th round (760th overall).
Kody Clemens (SS, Memorial HS, Texas)
Son of seven-time Cy Young Award winner Roger Clemens, was drafted in the 35th round (1,039th overall) by the Astros. The elder Clemens had a 38-18 record and a 2.40 ERA in three seasons with Houston.
Griffin Conine (Pine Crest HS)
Mr. Marlin may be a hereditary title. The son of former big leaguer Jeff Conine, now an executive with the Marlins, was drafted by Miami in the 31st round (No. 926).
Nick Dalesandro (C, Joliet Catholic Academy)
Dalesandro, a 33rd-round selection (No. 1,000) of the Tigers, is the son of former backup catcher and pinch-hitter Mark Dalesandro, who hit .240 in 79 games in the Major Leagues.
Jonah Dipoto (RHP, Newport Harbor HS)
Drafted by his father, Jerry Dipoto, a former big league reliever and current Angels general manager. Jonah Dipoto was taken in the 38th round (1,155th overall).
Drew Finley (RHP, Rancho Bernardo HS)
Son of Dodgers vice president of amateur and international scouting David Finley, selected in the third round (92nd overall) by the Yankees.
What better place to play than my own backyard!!! LOVE YOU DETROIT! GO TIGERS!!!!
Cam Gibson (OF, Michigan State)
Son of former big league outfielder and manager Kirk Gibson, selected in the fifth round (160th overall) by the Tigers. The elder Gibson, who is best known for his pinch-hit walk-off home run in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series, spent 12 seasons of his 17-year career with Detroit.
AJ Graffanino (SS, Northwest Christian HS)
Son of Tony Graffanino, a utility man who played for seven big league teams. On Wednesday, he saw his son get drafted by Cleveland in the 26th round (No. 784).
Ke'Bryan Hayes (3B, Concordia Lutheran HS)
Son of former Major League infielder Charlie Hayes, selected in the first round (32nd overall) by the Pirates.
Bret Helton (RHP, Utah)
Son of former NFL punter and two-time Super Bowl champion Barry Helton, selected in the ninth round (277th overall) by the Pirates.
Drew Jackson (SS, Arizona)
Brother of 2009 first-round pick Brett Jackson, selected in the fifth round (155th overall) by the Mariners.
Jake Jefferies (2B, Cal State Fullerton)
Son of Gregg Jefferies, a two-time All-Star who batted .289 with 1,593 hits in the Major Leagues. Jake Jefferies was drafted in the 39th round by Washington (1,184th overall).
Luke Leftwich (RHP, Wofford)
Son of former Major League pitcher Phil Leftwich and grandson of former big league hurler Tom Timmerman, selected in the seventh round (204th overall) by the Phillies.
Luis Lopez (2B, Colegio Catolico Notre Dame, Puerto Rico)
Son of former big league infielder Luis Lopez, who is employed as a roving infield instructor with the Braves. Father and son may soon get to work together; the younger Lopez was drafted by Atlanta in the 36th round (1,080th overall).
Nick Lovullo (SS, Holy Cross)
Lovullo, an infielder like his father, Torey Lovullo, was drafted by the Red Sox in the 34th round (1,011th overall). Torey Luvullo batted .224 in 303 games in the Major Leagues.
David Lucroy (RHP, East Carolina)
Someday, Lucroy might get to throw to his brother, Milwaukee catcher Jonathan Lucroy. David Lucroy was drafted by the Brewers in the 20th round (601st overall).
Elih Marrero (C, Coral Gables HS)
Son of Eli Marrero, who spent a decade in the Majors as a backup catcher and now serves as a Minor League coach with the Reds. His son was drafted by Cincinnati in the 29th round (No. 865).
Tate Matheny (OF, Missouri State)
Son of current Cardinals manager -- and former Major League catcher -- Mike Matheny, selected in the fourth round (111th overall) by the Red Sox.
Griffin Morandini (CF, Garnet Valley HS)
The Phillies nabbed Morandini, the son of former big league infielder Mickey Morandini, in the 39th round (1,164th overall). The father was an All-Star for the Phillies during the 1995 campaign.
Hutton Moyer (2B, Pepperdine)
Son of former All-Star left-hander Jamie Moyer, selected in the seventh round (225th overall) by the Angels.
Tyler Nevin (RHP, Poway HS)
Son of former No. 1 overall pick Phil Nevin, selected in Competitive Balance Round A (38th overall) by the Rockies. The elder Nevin was taken first overall by the Astros in 1992, and he went on to hit 208 career homers, including a career-best 41 in an All-Star campaign in 2001.
What a day...Thank you to the @Rockies for giving me the opportunity to make my dream come true!
Andy Pagnozzi (RHP, Fayetteville Senior HS)
Son of former big league catcher Tom Pagnozzi, who played a decade for the St. Louis Cardinals. Andy Pagnozzi was drafted by Colorado in the 36th round (1,067th overall).
Nathaniel Pecota (LF, Blue Springs South HS)
Son of former Royals utlity man Bill Pecota, he'll be working out for the Giants after being drafted by San Francisco in the 38th round (1,146th overall).
Jeremy Pena (SS, Classical HS, Rhode Island)
Pena's dad, Geronimo, batted .262 with 30 homers in 378 games at the big league level. The younger Pena was drafted by the Braves in the 39th round (1,170th overall).
Mitch Piatnik (SS, State College of Florida)
Son of longtime D-backs scout Mike Piatnik, selected in the eighth round (235th overall) by the Reds.
Christopher Powell (RHP, Cal Poly Pomona)
Son of Dennis Powell, who pitched mainly in relief across eight big league seasons. Christopher Powell was drafted by the Dodgers, his dad's first team, in the 39th round (1,182nd overall).
Joseph Reinsdorf (2B, New Trier HS)
Now, that's a familiar last name. The grandson of Jerry Reinsdorf, who is the longtime owner of the White Sox and Chicago Bulls, was drafted in the final round (1,192nd overall) by the White Sox.
Dante Ricciardi (Worcester Academy)
Son of former big league general manager J.P. Ricciardi, he was taken by the Mariners in the 39th round (1,175th overall). The elder Ricciardi currently works in the Mets' front office.
Mariano Rivera Jr. (RHP, Iona)
Son of all-time saves leader, selected in the fourth round (134th overall) by the Nationals.
Blaise Salter (1B, Michigan State)
The last name wouldn't help you here. Salter, drafted by the Tigers in the 31st round (No. 940), is the grandson of 11-time All-Star Bill Freehan, who played his entire career in Detroit.
Josh Sborz (RHP, Kentucky)
Brother of former Major League pitcher Jay Sborz, selected in Competitive Balance Round B (74th overall) by the Dodgers.
Tyler Servais (C, Princeton)
Son of Scott Servais, a longtime catcher in the Majors who now serves as assistant general manager for the Angels. Tyler Servais was drafted in the 27th round (No. 820) by Detroit.
Nick Shumpert (SS, Highlands Ranch HS)
Son of former Major League second baseman Terry Shumpert, selected in the seventh round (220th overall) by the Tigers.
Brett Siddall (RF, Canisius College)
Son of former big league catcher and current Toronto broadcaster Joe Siddall. The younger Siddall was drafted in the 13th round (398th overall) by the A's.
Tanner Stanley (OF, Richmond)
Son of former big league catcher and first baseman Mike Stanley, who was an All-Star in 1995. The younger Stanley was drafted by Kansas City in the 36th round (1,089th overall).
Cade Tremie (C, New Waverly HS)
Son of Chris Tremie, who played 22 games in the Majors and is currently a Minor League manager with the Indians. Cade Tremie was drafted by Cleveland in the 35th round (1,054th overall).
Kyle Tucker (OF, H.B. Plant HS)
Brother of current Astros outfielder Preston Tucker, selected in the first round (5th overall) by the Astros.
Yomar Valentin (SS, Puerto Rico Baseball Academy)
Son of Jose Valentin, who hit 249 home runs in the Major Leagues. The younger Valentin, a shortstop like his dad, was taken in the 20th round (591st overall) by Boston.
Jose Vizcaino Jr. (3B, Santa Clara)
Son of former Major League shortstop Jose Vizcaino, selected in the seventh round (216th overall) by the Giants.
Luke Wakamatsu (SS, Keller HS)
Son of former Seattle manager and current Kansas City bench coach Don Wakamatsu. The younger Wakamatsu was drafted by Cleveland in the 20th round (604th overall).
Tucker Ward (RHP, Mobile)
Son of Turner Ward, a former big leaguer who now serves as the hitting coach for the D-backs. Tucker Ward was drafted by Arizona in the final round (1,186th overall).
Matt Withrow (RHP, Texas Tech)
Son of former Minor League pitcher Mike Withrow and brother of 2007 first-round pick Chris Withrow, selected in the sixth round (180th overall) by the Braves.
Paul Casella is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.