By Scott Barancik, editor

In one of the strongest Jewish draft classes in years, 11 amateurs were chosen in the first 20 rounds of the 2015 draft, and one of them (the Astros’ Alex Bregman) was selected #2 overall. The total Jewish head count was no fewer than 15.

Who signed? And who decided to stay in school a while longer? The answers are in. Eleven players have signed with the franchise that drafted them, and four — shown below in red — have chosen to extend their education at least a year and improve their baseball skills.
1. Alex Bregman, Astros (1st rd, #2 overall)
2. Rhett Wiseman, Nats (3rd rd, #103)
3. Justin Cohen, Marlins (6th rd, #176)
4. Garrett Stubbs, Astros (8th rd, #229)
5. Jake Drossner, Brewers (10th rd, #301)
6. Dalton Blumenfeld, Angels (12th rd, #375)
7. Scott Effross, Cubs (15th rd, #443)
8. Kenny Koplove, Phillies (17th rd, #504)
9. Jason Goldstein, Dodgers (17th rd, #522)
10. Jason Richman, Rangers (18th rd, #528)
11. Adam Walton, Orioles (20th rd, #613)
12. Kyle Molnar, Cardinals (25th rd, #761)
13. Alex Katz, White Sox (27th rd, #802)
14. Jake Thomas, Blue Jays (27th rd, #812)
15. Dean Kremer, Padres (38th rd, #1137)

The University of Illinois tempted two players back to campus. Jason Goldstein, a 21-year-old catcher out of Highland Park, IL, told the Chicago Tribune it was a “dream come true” to be drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers but he wanted one more season to hone his skills and, hopefully, get drafted higher in 2016. “I need to work on my consistency,” he said. “The first three years we [had] a great pitching staff with great talent. Next year we’re going to be younger and I can prove my leadership skills and hopefully take an inexperienced staff and maybe make them comparable to what we had the last three years.”

Also returning to Illinois is redshirt sophomore Adam Walton, who was picked by the Baltimore Orioles. A 21-year-old shortstop from Buffalo Grove, IL, the Illini’s leadoff hitter led the team in runs and was second in hits this year, but he told Orange & Blue News it was “a good season, not great.” “I’m going to graduate next year; that was a big thing” Walton said. “I also feel like I have a lot to work on as a player. It would have been great going to pro ball. I feel like I could have been successful. But choosing to go back to school, I’m going to be even better.”

Kyle Molnar, an 18-year-old out of Aliso Niguel High School who was considered one of the best pitching prospects in southern California before having a subpar senior year, decided to honor his commitment to UCLA, his mother’s alma mater. A pretty good decision, as it turns out. Pitching for the Walla Wala Sweets in a collegiate summer league game yesterday (7/27/2015), Molnar tossed a complete-game no-hitter, yielding 3 walks while striking out 8.

Also staying in school is 19-year-old junior college pitcher Dean Kremer, who will transfer to the University of Nevada Las Vegas on a scholarship. The first Israeli citizen ever drafted by an MLB team — the son of Israeli parents, Kremer is fluent in Hebrew and a dual citizen — at the moment he’s competing for Israel at the European Championship qualifiers in Austria. “Half my family, I can tell you that they still don’t know what baseball is,” Kremer told the Associated Press earlier this month. “They don’t understand the game. Israeli guys like upbeat tempo things where they can’t get bored.”

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