Little Rocket: Tigers pick Clemens’ son on Day 2 of draft
NEW YORK (AP) — Little Rocket led off Day 2 of the Major League Baseball draft.
The Detroit Tigers took Texas second baseman Kody Clemens, the youngest son of seven-time Cy Young winner Roger Clemens, with the opening pick of the third round — No. 79 overall — as the draft resumed Tuesday.
The younger Clemens was the Big 12 player of the year and has helped the Longhorns to the NCAA Tournament super regionals. He’s hitting a team-leading .346 with 21 home runs, second-most in school history, and 68 RBIs as one of college baseball’s top sluggers. Clemens is a semifinalist for both the Golden Spikes Award and Dick Howser Trophy as the best player in the country.
The Tigers selected Auburn right-hander Casey Mize with the No. 1 overall pick on Monday night .
Kody Clemens was a 35th-round selection of Houston out of high school, but opted to go to his father’s alma mater to play baseball. He spent most of last season as the Longhorns’ designated hitter after having Tommy John surgery, but returned completely healthy this year as one of Texas’ top players.
The left-handed hitting Clemens surpassed his two older brothers, Koby (Astros, 2005) and Kacy (Blue Jays, 2017), who were eighth-round picks in previous drafts.
Roger Clemens still has draft-day bragging rights on his sons. He was the 19th overall pick by Boston in 1983.
Kacy played two seasons with Kody at Texas and congratulated his brother on Twitter .
“So proud of this kid!” Kacy Clemens wrote. “What a stud. You earned everything! Love you TONS bro bro.”
Kody gave his older brother some credit for his success: “Wouldn’t have been where I am today without you!” he posted on his Twitter page .
Clemens wasn’t the only familiar name to be selected in the third round.
Kentucky outfielder Tristan Pompey, brother of Blue Jays outfielder Dalton Pompey, went 89th to Miami; Texas high school shortstop Mateo Gil, son of former infielder Benji Gil, was taken 95th overall by St. Louis; Maine shortstop Jeremy Pena, son of former second baseman Geronimo Pena, was picked at No. 102 by Houston; and Towson shortstop Richard Palacios, nephew of former catcher Rey Palacios, was drafted 103rd by Cleveland.
Other drafted players with baseball bloodlines included: Crowder College left-hander Aaron Ashby, nephew of former pitcher Andy Ashby, going in the fourth round to Milwaukee; Arizona high school shortstop Jayce Easley, son of former infielder Damion Easley (fifth round, Texas); University of Washington shortstop AJ Graffanino, son of former infielder Tony Graffanino (eighth round, Atlanta); and St. Thomas University catcher Elih Marrero, son of former catcher Eli Marrero (eighth round, Boston).
Illinois first baseman Bren Spillane, the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper player of the year, was taken as an outfielder by Cincinnati three picks after Clemens at 82nd overall. Spillane was the Big Ten player of the year after slugging 23 home runs for the Illini and leading the country with a .944 slugging percentage and 1.456 OPS.
The draft concludes Wednesday with rounds 11-40 via conference calls with each team.
More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball