The next generation
Sure, everyone has heard of Prince Fielder and Tony Gwynn Jr., but the Nationals’ recent acquisition of Cutter Dykstra prompted me to think about other players with ties to former big-leaguers. Cutter is the son of Lenny Dykstra. “Nails” was part of the bad-boy Mets who made the unlikely comeback in the 1986 World Series. His son Cutter hasn’t exactly bowled over scouts with his minor league start, barely cracking the Mendoza line in ’09. Although last year he showed signs of improvement, hitting .312 in 420 plate appearances with the Single-A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers. Seems the Nationals thought enough about his potential to acquire him for proven outfielder Nyjer Morgan. There is a descendant of another ’86 Series participant making some noise within the Houston organization. In 2004, the Astros drafted a Texas first baseman, Roger’s son Koby Clemens. He had mild success in high-level Single-A ball and seems to project more as a catcher or 3B for Corpus Christi. His average dipped in Double-A, and it seems he may have ridden his father’s coattails as far as he can. From what I can tell, the highlight of his career has been cracking a home run off his father in an exhibition game. Beau Mills is currently in the Cleveland system and was recently assigned back to the minors. His father Brad is known more for his time on the pine as a bench coach and manager than his stint with the Expos. Beau has been somewhat of journeyman himself, spending time at Fresno State, the Alaskan Baseball League and Lewis-Clark State College before he was selected in the 1st round of the 2007 draft. Unfortunately, the youngster has found himself in a variety of off-field situations that have been a distraction, from academic problems at Fresno to an alleged assault just last year. On a positive note, his RBI totals are an indication that his high draft slot was not completely unwarranted. Former 2B Delino DeShields, best known for flying around the base paths, has a son that is no slouch in the speed department. Delino Jr., another top-10 overall pick, is currently in the Houston Astros system. He would be the least-proven from this list, having just been taken in the last draft. Until he is tested further, I’d say it’s hard to evaluate anything more than his quickness. The material I came across indicates he’ll spend the season in Single-A ball. One other note, the teenage phenom also had a brush with the law, being charged with a DUI early this year. Probably the most heralded of the list is Kyle Drabek, son of the former Cy-Young-award-winner Doug Drabek (of Pittsburgh Pirates fame). He was, arguably, the centerpiece of the prospect package that landed “Doc” Halladay in Philly. He continued his tear down on the farm upon joining Toronto, including a no-hitter for Double-A New Hampshire. The Jays’ brass were compelled to give Kyle a shot at the bigs last September, where he came crashing back to earth going 0-3 in three starts. With a spot already secured in this year’s rotation, it will be exciting to watch how he performs in his first full year in the Show. This list is probably just scratching the surface. If you have any generational players to add to the list, please share in the comments.