Manziel, sons of Ripken, Rivera wrap up MLB draft
NEW YORK (AP) — NFL quarterback Johnny Manziel and the sons of Cal Ripken Jr. and Mariano Rivera were just a few of the familiar names selected on the final day of the Major league Baseball draft.
The sons of former big leaguers Bobby Bonilla, John Franco, Tom Browning, Benito Santiago and Magglio Ordonez were also taken as baseball’s draft wrapped up Saturday after three days, 40 rounds and 1,215 players chosen.
Manziel, the Cleveland Browns quarterback, was taken by San Diego in the 28th round and listed as a shortstop from Texas A&M — although he never played baseball for the Aggies. He last played baseball in high school and likely won’t see the diamond again as he begins his NFL career.
“It was kind of, ‘Why not?‘” Padres general manager Josh Byrnes said before the Padres hosted the Washington Nationals. “Best athlete on the board,” Mike Dee, the Padres’ president and CEO, wrote on Twitter.
Ryan Ripken, a first baseman from Indian River State College in Florida, was taken in the 15th round by Washington. The son of baseball’s “Iron Man” batted .321 with one homer and 24 RBIs in 42 games this season after transferring from South Carolina.
“There’s immense pressure on that young man,” Nationals manager Matt Williams said. “It’s too bad, but he handles it really well. You know, dad, uncle, grandfather, great bloodlines, great work ethic.”
Mariano Rivera III, a starting pitcher at Iona College, went to the New York Yankees — his father’s old team — in the 29th round. He went 2-6 with a 5.40 ERA and five complete games and a team-leading 50 strikeouts in 70 innings for the Gaels. Yankees manager Joe Girardi asked his former closer for a scouting report on his son.
“Mo wasn’t sure if he got drafted what he would do,” Girardi said. “It’s neat he got drafted by the Yankees and we’ll see what happens.”
It was a big draft for sons and siblings of major league players, starting with Florida high school shortstop Nick Gordon — son of Tom “Flash” Gordon and brother of the Dodgers’ Dee Gordon — going fifth overall to Minnesota.
Brandon Bonilla, a pitcher from Grand Canyon University, went in the 25th round to Baltimore. The son of former All-Star Bobby Bonilla and godson of Barry Bonds has a fastball that hits the mid-90s.
Brown second baseman J.J. Franco, the son of former New York Mets and Cincinnati closer John Franco, was a 38th-round pick by Atlanta Braves.
Florida high school pitcher Logan Browning went in the 36th round to Cincinnati, the team for which father Tom once pitched a perfect game.
Benito Santiago Jr. is a star behind the plate, just like his dad, was drafted in the 38th round by San Francisco.
Florida high school first baseman Magglio Ordonez Jr. went in the 38th round to Detroit, where his father played for seven years.
Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco’s younger brother Tom, a high school outfielder from New Jersey, was a 32nd-round selection of Philadelphia.