There was nothing on par with Alex Rodriguez in Monday’s amateur baseball draft.
There was, however, A-Rod’s nephew. And the Marlins grabbed him with their second-round pick.
The Marlins selected North Carolina State infielder and former Gulliver Prep standout Joe Dunand with the 51st overall 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.”
Dunand, who once set a national high school record at Gulliver by homering in eight consecutive at bats, has maintained his power at N.C. State. He hit .289 with 16 home runs this season for the Wolfpack.
The Marlins drafted Dunand as a shortstop who could eventually move to third base, which also happens to be the progression his famous uncle made as a Major Leaguer.
“He’s got raw power,” Meek said. “He actually looks a little bit like A-Rod in the face. Actually, the swing has some similarities (with Rodriguez’s). The body is a little heavier. He’s not quite as tall.”
Rodriguez told the New York Post this week that he used to throw batting practice to his nephew.
"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," Rodriguez told the Post. "And here he is now right on the steps of hopefully what is a long career for him."
Said Dunand’s father and Rodriguez’s half-brother, Joe Dunand Sr.: “Alex has been a guiding light for Joe. Alex has been very frank. When he hasn’t looked good, he tells him, ‘You have to work on this.’ Or when he has looked good, he tells him (what he’s doing well).’”
Dunand Jr. stays in constant touch with his famous uncle.
"All the time—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."