Marlins drafted Alex Rodriguez’s nephew in second round
Joe Dunand, a power-hitting infielder out of N.C. State, will try to follow in the footsteps of his famous uncle as he transitions to pro baseball.
Alex Rodriguez was the No. 1 overall pick in the 1993 MLB Draft, a moment captured for eternity with the most 1990s photo ever.
A-Rod’s nephew, Joe Dunand, did not have the distinction of being the top pick in the 2017 draft, but he did get selected fairly early, going to the Miami Marlins with the 51st overall pick.
Dunand is a power-hitting junior infielder from North Carolina State. His hometown Marlins selected him as a shortstop with the idea he will eventually shift to third base.
That sounds, uhh, kind of familiar.
“It feels like just yesterday he was down in Tampa or at Yankee Stadium, and I was throwing him batting practice when he was 10, 11, 12 years old,” A-Rod told the New York Post. “And here he is now right on the steps of hopefully what is a long career for him.”
Dunand’s father, Joe Dunand Sr., is Rodriguez’s half brother.
The Marlins appear to have a higher opinion of Dunand than many prospect evaluators. Baseball America and MLB.com both had the Wolfpack star rated in the 120s, meaning he was seen as a late third-round pick.
“I’m not saying he’s A-Rod,” said Marlins scouting director Stan Meek. “(But) you can see some of A-Rod in him.”
The most A-Rod thing about Dunand at this point is his ability to slug home runs. He hit .289 with 16 home runs this season for the Wolfpack.
“Those who like Dunand point to his right-handed raw power and his Cape Cod League-leading .511 slugging percentage last summer and believe he profiles well at third base,” according to MLB.com wrote. “Those who don’t think he’s a one-dimensional player who won’t hit enough to get to his pop in pro ball.
“He lacks plate discipline and has a pull-happy, swing-for-the-fences approach that he’ll have to tone down against pro pitching. He did have more success with wood bats on the Cape than he ever has with metal bats at North Carolina State, so his proponents think he can make adjustments.”
In any case, Dunand will have help from a pretty good source as he transitions into pro ball.
“I’ll text him, call him if I ever need anything,” Dunand told Baseball America. “Even my dad, he’s like a sponge with him, too. They hang out a lot. I talk to them both, and it’s a good resource for me to have. It definitely helps that I have that, and rarely anybody has that. He’s one of the best players ever, so I’m a lucky guy.”