Corey Seager on a path to become one of Dodgers’ best shortstops

Corey Seager’s major-league career started with a bang, earning National League Rookie of the Year honors in 2016. He followed up with another all-star season in 2017.

After being sidelined for most of 2018 with elbow and hip surgeries, he rebounded last season to lead the National League with 44 doubles and hit a personal-best 87 RBIs.

One of the few positions the Dodgers organization haven’t been flush with all-stars during their long history has been shortstop. Pee Wee Reese, Maury Wills, and Bill Russell are the names that come to mind first when Dodgers fans think about their stars at shortstop, but the list stops after them. Seager aims to be the next Dodgers superstar at the position.

Seager is the brother of Kyle Seager, a third baseman who has played nine major-league seasons with the Seattle Mariners. Their brother, Justin, was a 12th-round pick of the Mariners in 2013, and he played five minor-league seasons.

To read more about Seager’s Dodgers’ career, click here.

There’s no confusing which Wander Franco is the best

Wander Franco comes from a baseball family, but it has sometimes been confusing identifying him, relative to his two brothers, also named Wander Franco.

However, Tampa Bay Rays fans surely know which Wander Franco will be the next star in their future. Wander Samuel Franco is currently the No. 1 rated prospect in baseball after playing only two seasons in the Rays organization. The 19-year-old shortstop may be only a couple of seasons away from getting his chance in the big leagues.

Wander’s brother, Wander Javier Franco, is a seven-year veteran of the minors, last playing for the San Francisco Giants organization in 2018 and playing in the independent leagues last season.

Their other brother, Wander Alexander Franco, is currently in the Giants minor-league system, after beginning his career with the Houston Astros organization.

The family ties for the three brothers doesn’t end there. They are the nephews of former major league brothers Willy and Erick Aybar.

For more information about Wander’s career and projections, click here.

Braden and Hunter Bishop are opponents for the first time

During Spring Training this year, brothers Braden and Hunter Bishop competed against each for the first time in their lives.

Braden made his major-league debut with Seattle in 2019, while Hunter played his first pro season in the San Francisco Giants organization last season after being a first-round draft pick out of Arizona State.

Click here to read more about the Bishop brothers.

Yoelkis Cespedes aims to join brother Yoenis in the majors

Yoelkis Cespedes has played professionally in Cuba, appearing in the 2017 World Cup and the Caribbean Series. He defected from the Cuban National Team and has been biding his time to be eligible for signing by a major-league organization. The 22-year-old player is reportedly a five-tool player.

His brother, Yoenis Cespedes, has played seven seasons in the major, most recently with the New York Mets. However, he sat out all of the 2019 season due to an injury. He was runner-up for AL Rookie of the Year with Oakland in 2012, and has been an All-Star outfielder in 2014 and 2017. He has a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Award to his credit.

For more information about Yoelkis Cespedes, click here.

Luis Rojas adds to family’s baseball heritage

Luis Rojas was recently named the manager of the New York Mets, filling the vacancy created when Carlos Beltran stepped down as manager for his involvement in the Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal.

Rojas is the son of Felipe Alou, a long-time major-league player and manager. They become only the sixth set of father-son combos to manage at the major-league level. The others include Buddy and David Bell, Bob and Aaron Boone, Bob and Joel Skinner, George and Dick Sisler, and Connie and Earle Mack.

Rojas is also the brother of Moises Alou, who was a major-leaguer from 1990-2008.

Rojas’s uncles include Matty Alou and Jesus Alou, who also played during the same timeframe as brother Felipe.

Read more about Rojas’s new managerial job and family background at the below links:

https://nypost.com/2020/01/25/mets-luis-rojas-earning-place-in-family-dynasty-had-to-be-a-manager/

https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/mlb/2020/01/24/new-mets-manager-luis-rojas-thanks-famous-father-brother/41060079/

https://nypost.com/2020/01/22/who-is-luis-rojas-new-mets-manager-is-rising-star-with-baseball-in-his-blood/

https://nypost.com/2020/01/22/felipe-alou-my-son-luis-rojas-is-ready-and-wont-cheat-the-game/

https://nypost.com/2020/01/22/mets-hiring-luis-rojas-gets-seal-of-approval-from-bruce-bochy/

Family Ties Flourishing in Baseball: New York Yankees

Baseball has more family relationships than any other professional sport.  They existed in the earliest days of the sport in the 1870s, and they are abundant in today’s game, perhaps more so than ever before.  Baseball has been called a “generational” sport for several reasons.  One is that multiple generations of families have been active in the game–grandfathers, fathers, sons, and brothers.  And now even some great-grandsons are starting to show up on rosters.  Uncles, nephews, cousins and in-laws are part of the extended family of baseball relatives, too.

Baseball bloodlines aren’t limited to just the players.  Family trees with a baseball background have commonly included managers, coaches, scouts, owners, executives, front office personnel, umpires, and broadcasters.

Indeed, families with a heritage of baseball are like those with military, medical, jurisprudence, and agricultural backgrounds.  Their professions are often passed down from one generation to the next.  Likewise, professional baseball fathers generally want their sons to follow in their footsteps.  Brothers grow up pushing each other to excel on the diamond.  Once one brother gets drafted by a major league team, then it’s often the case his brother will try to follow.

A look back in history shows many fascinating stories about baseball families.  For example:

  • the Hairston family, which included a major league father (Sam), three sons (two in the majors—John and Jerry Sr.), and five grandsons (two in the majors—Jerry Jr. and Scott), collectively had professional careers that spanned from 1945 to 2014.
  • three Alou brothers (Felipe, Matty, and Jesus) played for the San Francisco Giants in the same game in 1963.  The trio had two cousins who followed them in the big leagues, and one of the trio, Felipe, also had four sons to play professionally.
  • the Boyer brood included seven brothers that played professionally, including three major leaguers (Cloyd, Ken, and Clete).  They then produced three sons who played in the minors.

Numerous players of the 1960s New York Yankees teams had offspring who wound up playing professional baseball.  Follow the link below to an article entitled “Sons of the 1960s Bronx Bombers Had Big Shoes to Fill.”

https://baseballrelatives.wordpress.com/2016/02/16/sons-of-the-1960s-bronx-bombers-had-big-shoes-to-fill/

Fast-forwarding to more recent times, here are some highlights of baseball relatives in the New York Yankees organization during 2019.

Gary Sanchez was an all-star selection in 2019.  He had the most home runs in his career (34) despite spending several stints on the injured list.  He had been the runner-up for the AL Rookie of the Year Award in 2016 when he hit 20 home runs in only 53 games.  Gary’s brother Miguel had played in the Seattle Mariners organization for six seasons (2009-2014) as a catcher and pitcher.

Austin Romine had one of his best years with the Yankees with a slash line of .281/.310/.439, with 8 home runs and 35 RBIs.  He filled in very capably when regular catcher Gary Sanchez was on the injured list.  Romine is in one of those rare families that had a father and a brother in major-league baseball.  His father Kevin was a major-league outfielder in the Red Sox organization from 1985 to 1991, when he was also a backup player to regulars like Jim Rice, Dwight Evans, and Mike Greenwell.  His brother Andrew is a nine-year major-league veteran who played at the Triple-A level with the Philadelphia Phillies last season.

Aaron Hicks was in his fourth season with the Yankees but was one of several regulars who spent most of the season on the injured list.  In 59 games he hit 12 home runs and 36 RBIs.  He had signed a seven-year contract extension worth $70 million before the season began.  Hicks is the son of Joseph Hicks, who reached the Double-A level with the San Diego Padres and Kansas City Royals organizations before retiring in 1981.

Luis Severino missed all the 2019 season except one game in September due to a rotator cuff injury.  His disappointing season came after he led the Yankees in wins (19) in 2018.  His younger brother Rafael is also a pitcher, signed as an international free agent from the Dominican Republic and assigned to the Yankees’ academy there.

Zach Britton was one of the stalwarts in the Yankees’ bullpen in his first full season with them last season. In 66 appearances, he posted a 1.91 ERA.  He didn’t yield any runs in five relief appearances against Houston in the ALCS.  He is the brother of Buck Britton who played nine seasons in the minors before becoming a manager in the Baltimore Orioles farm system.

The Yankees’ pipeline of baseball relatives includes several prospects whose relatives were former major-league all-stars:  Jose Mesa Jr. (son of Jose Mesa Sr.), and Michael O’Neill (nephew of Paul O’Neill), Ryan Lidge (brother of Brad Lidge), LJ Mazzilli (son of Lee Mazzilli),and Isiah Gilliam, (grandson of Jim Gilliam).

The Yankees had numerous personnel filling non-playing roles in the organization during 2019.  Some of them include:

Hal Steinbrenner is the managing general partner of the Yankees, having taken over for their legendary father, George Steinbrenner, following his death in 2010.  His siblings, Hank, Jennifer, and Jessica are general partners.

Aaron Boone was in his second year as manager of the Yankees.  His teams have won a hundred or more games in each season.  He played 12 seasons in the majors, including a stint with the Yankees.  Boone is part of a three-generation major-league family (one of only four in MLB history), including his grandfather Ray, father, Bob, and brother Bret.

Phil Nevin is in his second season as the Yankees’ third base coach.  He was the first overall pick of the 1992 MLB draft by the Houston Astros.  Nevin played 12 seasons in the majors, including an all-star season in 2001 with San Diego.  Nevin’s son Tyler was a first-round selection of the Colorado Rockies in 2015 and played at the Double-A level in 2019.

Brothers Lou and Rob Cucuzza have been long-time clubhouse and equipment managers at Yankee Stadium.  They previously served with their father, Lou Sr., who also had an extensive career in similar capacities with the Yankees.

Mark Littlefield is a medical coordinator in the Yankees organization.  He is the brother of David Littlefield, currently an executive in the Detroit Tigers organization, and Scott Littlefield, currently a scout in the Texas Rangers organization.

Ken Singleton is currently a broadcaster for the Yankees.  He previously had a 15-year major-league playing career with the Montreal Expos and Baltimore Orioles.  His son, Justin, played for six seasons in the Toronto Blue Jays organization, reaching the Triple-A level.

Donny Rowland, Yankees’ Director of International Scouting, is the father of Shane Rowland, who played two seasons in the Cleveland Indians organization.  The following Yankees scouts have relatives in baseball: Troy Afenir (father of Audie Afenir, 2019 independent league), Jeff Patterson (brother of Jim Patterson, former Yankees scout), Cory Melvin (son of Doug Melvin, former front office executive with several teams).

Travis Shaw Joins Family Affair at Toronto

Infielder Travis Shaw signed with the Toronto Blue Jays in December after completing three seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers. The 29-year-old has five years in the majors, including two with Boston.

Shaw is the son of Jeff Shaw, former major-league relief pitcher and two-time all-star from 1990 to 2001.

Travis joins the Blue Jays team that already has several players with family ties in the majors. With Shaw at first base, the Blue Jays could field an entire infield consisting of players whose fathers were big leaguers.

Blue Jays second baseman Cavan Biggio is the son of Hall of Famer Craig Biggio. Shortstop Bo Bichette is the son of former All-Star Dante Bichette, while Vlad Guerrero Jr. is the son of Hall of Famer Vlad Guerrero Sr. Additionally, the Blue Jays team included Lourdes Gurriel Jr., whose brother Yuli is the first baseman for the Houston Astros.

Read more about Travis Shaw by clicking here.