Miller: The baseball bloodlines project

From Sam Miller at Baseball Prospectus on June 4, 2014:

A word you’re going to hear during this week’s draft is “bloodlines.” Nick Gordon will get drafted early in the first round, and noted will be his bloodlines—son of Tom, brother of Dee. Cobi Johnson will get drafted in the supplemental round, and noted will be his bloodlines—son of Dane, who you’ve never heard of, but still, bloodlines. If last year is a good guide, around 100 of the 1,200 players drafted will have been sired by pro ballplayers. (Many others will be brothers or nephews of pro ballplayers.)

That’s one way of doing the math. I wondered about the other way of doing the math: If you start with a ballplayer and make him mate, what are the chances his offspring will be drafted? I’ll warn you right now that the front end of this research took much longer than I anticipated, the result being that I’ve got a couple things to say that you can read in about 15 seconds, and then the article will be over. You’re warned.

I went back to 1978. I pulled up all of the major leaguers who appeared that season. I wanted something close to a random sample of them, so I sorted by plate appearances and selected every fifth name. Then I tried to find their kids.

This isn’t always easy. Bobby Bonds’ kid was easy to find. Dave Winfield’s kid was easy to find. Bruce Kison’s kid was easy to find. But then you get to Tony Scott, a guy who produced 3.3 WARP in his career and is named Tony Scott, and before you know it you’ve spent 20 minutes on genealogy web sites and all you’ve learned is that your great, great grandfather’s surname means “master of horses” in Gaelic.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: June 4, 2014. Last Updated: June 4, 2014.