Famous family ties for 2021 Draft picks

July 13th, 2021

You don’t have to dig deep to see the role that family ties can play in baseball. and -- both sons of big leaguers -- are two of the game’s biggest stars, and among numerous second-generation players on MLB rosters.

The 2021 Draft is highlighting those connections yet again. If you kept track of all 20 rounds you saw plenty of familiar names get called, and perhaps noticed there are even more notable players still who will now either return to school, honor their college commitment or sign with a big league club as an undrafted free agent.

Here's a look at the 2021 draftees with legacies in baseball or elsewhere, and the other Draft-eligible players who could still join them in the professional ranks someday.


Player: Jack Leiter, RHP, Vanderbilt (No. 2 prospect)
Drafted: No. 2 overall, Rangers
Relative: (father, 19 MLB seasons)
Jack is a righty who went second overall to the Rangers, while Al is a lefty who was a two-time All-Star with 162 big league wins and World Series rings with the 1993 Blue Jays and '97 Marlins. He’s now an analyst at MLB Network. There are more Leiters, as well. Al’s brother and nephew also pitched in the Majors.

Player: Jackson Jobe, RHP, Heritage Hall (Okla.) HS (No. 7 prospect)
Drafted: No. 3 overall, Tigers
Relative: Brandt Jobe (father, PGA golfer)
Brandt was an NCAA champion at UCLA before turning pro. He first joined the PGA Tour in 1991 and since has won two tournaments on the PGA Tour Champions circuit. But his son has taken a different athletic path, thanks in part to a wipeout slider that enticed the Tigers to make him a top-three pick.

Player: Kumar Rocker, RHP, Vanderbilt (No. 6 prospect)
Drafted: No. 10 overall, Mets
Relative: Tracy Rocker (father, NFL player)
Kumar, the Mets' first-round pick, has football-player size (6-foot-5, 245 pounds) and comes by it genuinely. His dad was a star defensive tackle at Auburn, where as a senior he was a unanimous All-America selection while winning the Lombardi and Outland trophies. He’s now in the College Football Hall of Fame. Tracy played two NFL seasons for Washington before embarking upon a long coaching career. He’s now the Philadelphia Eagles’ defensive line coach.

Player: Will Bednar, RHP, Mississippi State (No. 32 prospect)
Drafted: No. 14 overall, Giants
Relative: (brother, Pirates pitcher)
David, nearly six years older, was not quite the collegiate prospect that Will became to make the Giants snap him up in the top half of the first round. David went to Lafayette College in Easton, Pa., and was a 35th-round pick of the Padres in 2016. But David beat the odds and made it to the Majors in '19. Traded to Pittsburgh in the Joe Musgrove deal, he’s enjoying a strong season out of the bullpen.

Player: Joe Mack, C, Williamsville East (N.Y.) HS (No. 19 prospect)
Drafted: Round CB-A (No. 31 overall), Marlins
Relative: (brother, Twins prospect)
Charles was drafted out of the same high school in 2018, when the Twins selected him in the sixth round. He’s been playing behind the plate this season for Low-A Fort Myers. His younger brother Joe will head to Miami.

Player: Tyler Black, 2B, Wright State (No. 57 prospect)
Drafted: Round CB-A (No. 33 overall), Brewers
Relative: Rod Black (father, Canadian sports broadcaster)
From announcing sports to playing them, the Blacks have it covered. Rod has enjoyed a highly successful career north of the border with TSN and CTV, taking both play-by-play and hosting duties for a variety of sports, including baseball. Among his past assignments: calling Blue Jays games. Tyler will get his pro baseball career started in Milwaukee.

Player: Peyton Wilson, 2B, Alabama (No. 68 prospect)
Drafted: Round CB-B (No. 66 overall), Royals
Relative: John Parker Wilson (brother, former Alabama quarterback)
Peyton's brother played for the Crimson Tide, too, but in their big sport: football. John Parker was a star quarterback at Alabama in the mid-2000s and later spent time on the Falcons, Jaguars and Steelers' rosters in the NFL.

Player: Denzel Clarke, OF, Cal State Northridge (No. 98 prospect)
Drafted: Round 4 (No. 127 overall), A's
Relatives: and (cousins); Donna Clarke (mother, Canadian heptathlete)
Clarke has plenty of athletes in the family. Not only is he a cousin of Josh and Bo Naylor (the Indians' No. 3 prospect), his mom was an Olympic heptathlete for Canada. Donna competed in the 1984 Olympics and is also a former Canadian long jump record-holder.

Player: Chayce McDermott, RHP, Ball State (No. 127 prospect)
Drafted: Round 4C (No. 132 overall), Astros
Relative: Sean McDermott (cousin, NBA player)
A small forward for the Memphis Grizzlies, McDermott's cousin Sean just finished his rookie season in the NBA. He averaged 2.2 points and 1.1 rebounds, with a high of 9 and 4.

Player: Zack Raabe, 2B, Minnesota
Drafted: Round 8 (No. 237 overall), Brewers
Relative: Brian Raabe (father, three MLB seasons)
Zack's dad, Brian, was a 41st-round pick of the Twins in 1990. He spent parts of three seasons in the Majors with the Twins, Mariners and Rockies.

Player: Shane McGuire, C, San Diego
Drafted: Round 9 (No. 278 overall), A's
Relative: Reese McGuire (brother, Blue Jays catcher)
Reese was the No. 14 overall pick in the 2013 Draft by the Pirates, was traded to the Blue Jays in ‘16 and has played with Toronto in each of the past four seasons.

Player: CJ Widger, LHP, Rowan College at Gloucester County
Drafted: Round 10 (No. 284 overall), Rangers
Relative: Chris Widger (father, 10 MLB seasons)
CJ has probably played a lot of catch with his dad, Chris, who spent 10 seasons as a catcher in the Majors. Chris played for six teams, had three seasons with double-digit home runs and won a World Series ring with the White Sox in 2005.

Player: Darren Baker, 2B, UC Berkeley
Drafted: Round 10 (No. 293 overall), Nationals
Relative: (father, 19 MLB seasons/Astros manager)
No longer only known for being rescued at home plate by J.T. Snow during the 2002 World Series while serving as a bat boy for his dad’s Giants club, Darren earned All-Pac-12 first-team honors for the Golden Bears this year.

Player: Blake Holub, RHP/1B, St. Edward's
Drafted: Round 15 (No. 435 overall), Tigers
Relative: E.J. Holub (NFL player)
Holub is a two-way player on the baseball diamond. E.J. was a two-way player in the early days of the AFL and NFL -- he was a linebacker and center and was the only player to start on offense and defense in more than one Super Bowl.

Player: Michael Sirota, SS, The Gunnery School
Drafted: Round 16 (No. 492 overall), Dodgers
Relative: Whitey Ford (great uncle, MLB Hall of Famer)
Sirota grew up in Queens and has a scholarship offer from Northeastern University in Boston. Ford spent all 16 years of his Hall-of-Fame career with the New York Yankees, winning the 1961 AL Cy Young Award along with six World Series.

Player: Dylan Neuse, SS, Texas Tech
Drafted: Round 17 (No. 519 overall), Twins
Relative: Sheldon Neuse (brother, Dodgers infielder)
Washington’s second-round pick in 2016, Sheldon was later traded to Los Angeles. He has hit his first three MLB home runs for the Dodgers this season.

Player: Adam Hackenberg, C, Clemson
Drafted: Round 18 (No. 545 overall), White Sox
Relative: Christian Hackenberg (brother, former NFL quarterback)
Adam's brother Christian was a star quarterback at Penn State who was drafted by the Jets in the second round in 2016. He spent two years in New York and some time with the Raiders, Eagles and Bengals, though he never played in an NFL game.

Player: Mariano Ricciardi, 2B, Dayton
Drafted: Round 18 (No. 548 overall), A's
Relative: J.P. Ricciardi (father, former Toronto GM)
Currently a senior adviser with the Giants, J.P. also served as general manager of the Blue Jays.


Player: Isaiah Thomas, OF, Vanderbilt (No. 97 prospect)
Relative: Tim Duncan (cousin, Basketball Hall of Famer)
Thomas has nearly the same name as a different NBA great (Isiah Thomas), but the one he's related to is The Big Fundamental. Duncan is one of the greatest power forwards of all time and a five-time NBA champion with the San Antonio Spurs … but could he play the outfield?

Player: Camden Hayslip, OF, Friendship Christian (Tenn.) HS (No. 174 prospect)
Relative: Ben Hayslip (father, country music songwriter)
This one's not your everyday baseball connection. Hayslip's dad has written hits for country stars Tim McGraw, Luke Bryan, Blake Shelton and more. He was named Country Songwriter of the Year by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers in 2011 and '12.

Player: Drew Christo, RHP, Elkhorn (Neb.) HS (No. 236 prospect)
Relative: Monte Christo (father, college quarterback)
Christo's dad was a member of three national championship-winning football teams at Nebraska (1994, '95 and '97), where he was a backup quarterback. He played in the Orange Bowl the last of those seasons, when Nebraska defeated Tennessee.


Player: Dante Baldelli, CF, Boston College
Relative: (brother, Twins manager)
Rocco, the No. 6 overall pick in the 2000 Draft and the 2019 AL Manager of the Year, is 16 years older than Dante, who hit .308 for the Eagles in 2021.

Player: Casey Dykstra, CF, Azusa Pacific
Relative: (uncle, 12 MLB seasons)
Two of Casey’s cousins were drafted, (second round, 2008) and Luke Dykstra (seventh round, 2014), and both played professionally, although neither reached the Majors. But the most famous Dykstra is Lenny, a three-time All-Star center fielder and 1986 World Series champion with the Mets.

Player: Mason Greer, INF, McLennan CC
Relative: (father, 9 MLB seasons)
Rusty was a slugging left fielder for the Rangers through the late 1990s. He was a .305 career hitter who hit 119 home runs in the big leagues, including a career-high 26 in 1997. Mason was already drafted once, by the D-backs in the 37th round in 2019.

Player: Bryce Martin-Grudzielanek, SS, Torrey Pines (Calif.) HS
Relative: (father, 15 MLB seasons)
Martin-Grudzielanek is a middle infielder like his dad, who played shortstop and second base in the big leagues from 1995-2010, collecting 2,040 career hits, making an All-Star team in 1996 and winning a Gold Glove at second base.

Player: Max McGwire, 1B/OF/RHP, Capistrano Valley (Calif.) HS
Relative: (father, 16 MLB seasons)
Max, the son of Big Mac and an Oklahoma commit, is a power-hitting righty like his dad. McGwire, of course, slugged 583 career home runs and won the great home run race of 1998 with Sammy Sosa, hitting 70 to break Roger Maris' single-season record.

Player: Jared Pettitte, LHP, Dallas Baptist
Relative: (father, 18 MLB seasons)
Jared is a lefty just like his dad, who was a three-time All-Star and five-time World Series champion with the Yankees. Fun fact: Jared played for in high school -- the former Astros slugger coached Pettitte at Second Baptist.

Player: Edinson Renteria, INF, Palm Beach State
Relative: (uncle, 16 MLB seasons)
Edinson is the nephew of Edgar, who was also an infielder and a five-time All-Star, two-time Gold Glover and three-time Silver Slugger at shortstop. Edgar also memorably won two World Series titles -- he had the Series-winning walk-off single in Game 7 for the Marlins in 1997 and was named World Series MVP with the Giants in 2010.


Player: Oraj Anu, OF, Kentucky
Relative: Oralee Fowler (mother, former Olympian track athlete)
Anu's mother was an Olympic sprinter for the Bahamas who competed in the women's 4x100 meter relay in the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.

Player: Erubiel Candelario, RHP, Marist
Relative: (cousin, Tigers third baseman)
The Candelarios are from New York City, but the family also has a baseball facility in the Dominican Republic, where Erubiel and Jeimer have both trained. Erubiel is a pitcher, unlike Jeimer, a switch-hitting infielder for Detroit.

Player: Brett Centracchio, 1B, Davidson
Relative: (godfather, Hall of Famer)
While not a blood relative, Bagwell is close with Brett’s father, Greg, his college teammate at Hartford, and has served as a resource in Brett’s career.

Player: Andre Duplantier, RHP/INF, Texas
Relative: (cousin, D-backs pitcher)
Andre's cousin Jon is a former Top 30 prospect for Arizona. He made his MLB debut in 2020 after being drafted in the third round out of Rice in 2016.

Player: Luke Eldred, RHP, Dallas Baptist
Relative: (father, 14 MLB seasons)
Cal, a first-round pick in 1989, logged nearly 1,400 big league innings and now is the Royals’ pitching coach.

Player: Gunner Halter, SS, Oklahoma City U.
Relative: (father, eight MLB seasons)
Gunner has already been drafted in both 2017 (Blue Jays, 22nd round) and ‘18 (Indians, 26th round). His dad held a utility role in Detroit in the early 2000s, most notably playing all nine positions in a game in 2000.

Player: Luke Heefner, SS/2B, Home school (Texas)
Relative: (uncle, 14 MLB seasons)
Heefner is a Dallas Baptist commit -- which is also where Zobrist went before he was drafted in the sixth round in 2004. Zobrist went on to become a three-time All-Star for the Rays and Cubs, and a World Series champion with the Royals and Cubs, including being named the World Series MVP for Chicago in 2016.

Player: Kyle Hess, OF, Pittsburgh
Relative: (cousin, eight MLB seasons)
Heisey, a 17th-round pick by Cincinnati in 2006, spent the bulk of his career with the Reds.

Player: Jamison Hill, RHP, Fresno State
Relative: Garry Templeton (step-grandfather, 16 MLB seasons)
While Templeton might be best known as part of the trade that sent Ozzie Smith to St. Louis, he was also a three-time All-Star shortstop who collected more than 2,000 hits and 200 steals.

Player: Brandon Hylton, 1B, Stetson
Relative: Devon White (cousin, 17 MLB seasons)
Hylton's cousin was a star center fielder whose best years came with the Blue Jays in the mid-1990s. White was a three-time All-Star, seven-time Gold Glover and three-time World Series champion.

Player: Kevin Madden, INF, Virginia Tech
Relative: Joe Flacco (cousin, NFL quarterback)
Madden batted .313 for the Hokies this season and tied for the team lead with 37 RBIs. Flacco, his cousin, is a Super Bowl-winning quarterback with the Ravens and has thrown 224 career touchdown passes.

Player: Jacob Maton, RHP, Coastal Carolina
Relatives: and (brothers)
Maton's older brothers have both already made it to the big leagues -- Phil is a reliever for the Indians and Nick is an infielder for the Phillies. Jacob was also drafted out of high school by the Mariners in the 39th round in 2018.

Player: Malachi Mitchell, SS
Relative: Dennis Mitchell (father, Olympic sprinter)
Mitchell's father was a gold medal-winning Olympian for Team USA, winning the 4x100 meter relay at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona. He also competed in the 1988 and '96 Olympics.

Player: Tora Otsuka, OF, San Diego
Relative: (father, four MLB seasons)
Akinori enjoyed great success as a reliever in Japan before finishing third in the 2004 NL Rookie of the Year Award voting. He posted a 2.44 ERA in four seasons for San Diego and Texas.

Player: Andres Pérez, C, North Georgia
Relative: (father, 11 MLB seasons)
Nobody caught more of Greg Maddux’s career than Eddie, who often served as the Hall of Famer’s personal backstop in Atlanta and was the MVP of the 1999 NL Championship Series.

Player: Mike Rosario, OF/LHP, Miami
Relative: (cousin, Indians SS/CF)
Rosario's cousin Amed is the former Mets top prospect and shortstop who was part of the Francisco Lindor trade in January and now plays for Cleveland.

Player: Jaren Shelby, CF, Kentucky
Relatives: (father, 11 MLB seasons); (cousin, Nationals infielder)
John, also a longtime coach, has also seen sons John, Jeremy and JaVon get drafted by MLB teams. Harrison is now on his 11th big league season and second with Washington.