The odds of a high school player being drafted by a major league baseball team are one in 200, pretty grim, but better than being drafted in most other professional sports. Of course, being drafted and actually forging a major league career are two different things. Roughly 66% of first-round draftees make it to the majors and the odds drop with each round.
Now mix those odds with the pressure of following a father who was a major league player and you see the difficulty facing some sons of major leaguers. Here are a few who seem to be handling the pressure pretty well:
Brice Turang, shortstop, Santiago, Corona, Calif.
Turang, a preseason American Family Insurance ALL-USA player, is considered a likely first-round choice in the June major league draft. The LSU commit was a standout this past summer on the USA U18 team. His father Brian was a utility player for two seasons with the Seattle Mariners.
“With all of the athletes out there, you have to work hard,” Brian Turang said of his son. “People don’t see all the work he puts in behind the scenes.”
Bobby Witt Jr., ss-rhp, and Mason Greer, 2B, Heritage, Colleyville, Texas
Both of the Panthers’ starting middle infielders are the sons of major leaguers. Witt, a junior and an Oklahoma commit, was a standout during the summer and is considered perhaps the top player in his class. He’s leading the Panthers in hitting. His father, Bobby Witt, Sr., was a right-handed pitcher for 16 years in the majors, winning 142 games. He was on the Arizona Diamonbacks’ 2001 World Series championship team. Mason has also been a standout for the Panthers. His father, Rusty, played nine seasons in the majors, all with the Texas Rangers.
Tate Van Poppel, RHP, Argyle, Texas
The sophomore has been used in relief and is only one of the reasons his team is off to a 23-0 start. He got the last out in his team’s 22nd consecutive win then got the win in relief after throwing 3.2 innings in their 23rd consecutive win. He’s the son of Todd Van Poppel, who was a first-round draftee in 1990 and pitched for 11 years in the majors.
“He handles the pressure pretty well,” Argyle baseball coach Ricky Griffin said. “His dad doesn’t put any pressure on him. Most of our team is made up of juniors and seniors who plan to play college baseball. He’s one of four sophomores that we have who play a lot. He has been able to come in and calm things down a few times.”
Argyle is hoping to win the state 4A title. It was a state champion in 2015.
Ryan Weathers, LHP-1B, Loretto, Tenn.
Weathers, a Vanderbilt signee, is already showing signs of his potential as a junior starter for the Mustangs. His fastball reaches 94 mph and he began the season 2-0. Last season, he helped Loretto win the Class A state title, going 9-3 with a 0.37 ERA while striking out 141 batters. He also hit .504 with seven home runs and 46 RBI.
His father, Davis, spent 19 years in the majors as a right-handed reliever and helped the New York Yankees win the 1996 World Series.
Braden Halladay, rhp, and Christian Cairo, INF, Calvary Christian, Clearwater, Fla.
Halladay is a junior and a Penn State commit. His father, the late Roy Halladay, who died in a plane crash last November, was an eight-time major league all-star pitcher and won the Cy Young award twice. The younger Halladay is his team’s No. 2 starter and is 6-0 with a 0.25 ERA for the unbeaten Warriors, who are the No. 2 team in the Super 25 high school baseball rankings.
“Braden is very down-to-earth, a lot like his dad,” Calvary Christian coach Greg Olsen said. “I don’t think he carries any expectations. He puts his team and his teammates first and when you have that kind of mindset, things take care of themselves.”
Cairo, is a junior and an LSU commit. He’s also the son of former major league infielder Miguel Cairo, who played for 12 teams in 17 major league seasons. The younger Cairo is hitting .450 with 20 RBI for the Warriors, who have won 50 games in a row.
Miguel Cairo still helps out as an assistant coach, as was Halladay last season.
“It’s been a great experience as coaches to have those two guys around,” Olsen said. “The opportunity to have Miguel and Roy around our boys was a huge benefit to us.”
Tanner Haney, INF, Waco, Texas
Tanner, a senior and Texas signee, is hitting .311 with nine RBI for the Lions. His father, Todd Haney, played for five years in the majors with the Montreal Expos, Chicago Cubs and New York Mets.