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Minor-League Update

By Scott Barancik, Editor

A total of 33 Jewish players have played minor-league ball in 2022. Here are some highlights through games played May 10:

At the plate

  • 3B Zack Gelof (Athletics/AA/Midland RockHounds) is only 22 years old, but the 2021 draftee is tearing up the Texas League (AA) like an old pro. The University of Virginia alum is hitting .339 (ranked #6) with 4 HRs, 22 RBIs (#6), 5 stolen bases, a .391 on-base percentage, and a .517 slugging percentage in 118 at-bats. He’s had two 2-HR games this season.
  • 1B Matt Mervis (Cubs/High-A/South Bend Cubs) was selected out of high school in the 39th round of the 2016 draft, the 1,174th pick out of 1,216 players. Still only 24 years old, the 6’4″ lefty is off to a fast start in 2022. Mervis is hitting .313 with 7 HRs (#4/tied), 26 RBIs (#2), a .363 OBP. and a .627 SLG in just 83 ABs. Like Gelof, he’s had two 2-HR games this season.
  • Two former Major Leaguers working hard to get back to the MLB are making a strong case. OF Kevin Pillar (Dodgers/AAA/Oklahoma City Dodgers) is hitting .319 with 7 HRs (#3/tied), 25 RBIs (#3/tied), 13 walks against 9 strikeouts, a .407 OBP (#7), and a .638 SLG (#3) in 94 ABs. Meanwhile, C Ryan Lavarnway (Tigers/AAA/Toledo Mud Hens) is hitting .324 (#9) with 2 HRs, 10 RBIs, a .413 OBP, and a .515 SLG in 68 ABs.

On the mound

  • Jared Shuster (Braves/AA/Mississippi Braves), just 23 years old, is 2-2 in 5 starts with a 1.84 ERA (4th/tied), 0.78 walks/hits per inning (#1), 34 strikeouts in 29.1 innings, and just 5 walks.
  • Kyle Molnar (Angels/Low-A/Inland Empire 66ers), 25, is 1-0 in 6 relief appearances with a 1.42 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, and 12 strikeouts against 3 walks. He was promoted to the Tri-City Dust Devils (High-A) on May 9.
  • Kenny Rosenberg (Angels/AAA/Salt Lake Bees), 26, made his MLB debut on April 18 before being sent back to AAA, where he is 0-0 in 3 starts with a 0.76 ERA and is averaging 11.68 strikeouts per 9 innings.
  • Jake Fishman (Marlins/AAA/Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp), 27, is in his second season at AAA. He is a perfect 3-0 with one save, a 2.81 ERA, and a WHIP of 1.00.

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Kenny Rosenberg makes MLB debut

The Los Angeles Angels welcomed P Kenny Rosenberg to the Major Leagues with this Twitter post

By Scott Barancik, editor

In his MLB debut, Kenny Rosenberg got the better of Houston’s Alex Bregman

P Kenny Rosenberg made his MLB debut last night (4/18/2022) with the Los Angeles Angels.

The Angels were down 7-3 to the Houston Astros when they sent the 26-year-old southpaw to the mound in the 8th inning. Rosenberg struck out the first batter he faced on three pitches before yielding one run on a walk and two singles. He retook control by retiring Houston’s Alex Bregman — yes, a fellow Jew — on a two-pitch flyout and then closed out the inning by striking out Yordan Alvarez swinging.

All in all, not a bad start for Rosenberg, a 2016 draftee out of Cal State Northridge whom the Tampa Bay Rays left unprotected in 2021’s Rule 5 draft.

In six minor-league seasons, Rosenberg is 34-17 with 4 saves, a 3.87 ERA, 1.344 WHIP, 9.2 strikeouts per 9 innings, and a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 2.62. He primarily worked as a starter until moving to the bullpen in 2021.

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2022 Preseason update

Despite the will-they-or-won’t-they drama concerning the 2022 MLB season, a lot has happened during the offseason, and Spring Training has sprung. Jewish Baseball News wishes to welcome you back with abbreviated highlights.

Comings and goings

  • OF Joc Pederson signed a one-year contract with the San Francisco Giants. He played for the Chicago Cubs and World Series champion Atlanta Braves in 2021.
  • P Richard Bleier extended his Miami Marlins tenure with a 2-year, $6-million deal.
  • CF Kevin Pillar, who has played for five franchises since leaving the Toronto Blue Jays after the 2018 season, signed a minor-league contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
  • C Ryan Lavarnway, who played for Israel in the 2020 Olympics, signed a minor-league contract with the Detroit Tigers. In a recent column penned for the Detroit News, Lavarnway chronicled his crazy love affair with baseball, during which he has “been sent down, traded or released 24 times.”
  • P Ryan Sheriff was selected off waivers by the Philadelphia Phillies.
  • C Garrett Stubbs joined the Philadelphia Phillies after a late-season trade.
  • 2B Ty Kelly, who represented Israel in the 2020 Olympics and last played in the Majors in 2018, has unretired. The 33-year-old signed a minor-league contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
  • P Zack Weiss signed a minor-league contract with Los Angeles Angels. Weiss’s sole Major League appearance so far was a one-inning outing with the Cincinnati Reds in 2018.
  • P Robert Stock, who pitched for four MLB teams from 2018 through 2021, signed a one-year deal with the Doosan Bears of South Korea’s KBO League.
  • P Sam Delaplane, a rising star who was felled by Tommy John surgery in 2019, signed a free-agent deal with the San Francisco Giants.
  • P Bubby Rossman, who pitched for Israel in the 2021 European Championships but last played minor-league ball in 2016, signed a minor-league deal with the Philadelphia Phillies.

Off-field news

  • Brad Ausmus, who managed the Detroit Tigers and Los Angeles Angels after completing an 18-year Major League career, is the new bench coach for the Oakland A’s.
  • Brad Goldberg, who pitched for the Chicago White Sox in 2017, has joined his hometown Cleveland Guardians organization as a pitching coach.
  • Blake Gailen, a former minor leaguer who played for Israel in the 2020 Olympics, was hired by the Los Angeles Dodgers as a rookie-league hitting coach.
  • Alon Leichman, who played for Israel in the 2020 Olympics, joined the Seattle Mariners as a Double-A pitching coach.

Honors

  • Gabe Kapler was named the National League’s 2022 Manager of the Year after leading the San Francisco Giants to a team-record 107 wins. He is the first Jewish manager to win that award.
  • Max Fried, who helped the Atlanta Braves become World Series champs in 2021, became only the third Major League pitcher since 1980 to earn the Silver Slugger and Gold Glove awards in the same season.

New face

  • IF Noah Mendlinger, an undrafted free agent who played Single-A ball for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2021, is the most recent addition to Jewish Baseball News’ player list.

College

  • Denison University’s baseball team apparently is a magnet for Jewish athletes. Seven Jews are on the school’s Division III baseball team. A mother of one player says the seven teammates plan to make matzoh ball soup together for Passover.

Spring Training

At least 24 Jewish players had participated in Spring Training so far as of April 1. Some highlights:

  • 3B Alex Bregman (Houston Astros) leads all Jewish players with a .278 average and 3 doubles.
  • 1B Rowdy Tellez (Milwaukee Brewers) is hitting .250 with 2 HRs, a double, 5 RBIs, and a .321 on-base percentage.
  • P Scott Effross, who made his MLB debut with the Chicago Cubs in 2021, has hurled 5 shutout innings over 5 games, yielding 2 hits, 2 walks, and a wild pitch while striking out 5.
  • In a March 25 win over the Yankees, P Ryan Sherriff and C Garrett Stubbs were battery-mates for the Philadelphia Phillies.
  • Among other players with Major-League experience, C Garrett Stubbs (Philadelphia Phillies, OF Joc Pederson (San Francisco Giants), OF Kevin Pillar (Los Angeles Dodgers), C Ryan Lavarnway (Detroit Tigers), P Richard Bleier (Miami Marlins), P Dean Kremer (Baltimore Orioles), P Max Fried (Atlanta Braves), and P Zack Weiss (Los Angeles Angels) all have struggled.
  • Two prospects in the Colorado Rockies’ system have performed well. P Noah Davis has tossed 4 hitless innings over 2 games, yielding one walk while striking out 4. And Brandon Gold has thrown two scoreless innings, yielding one hit while striking out one and earning a win.
  • Two players who were drafted in 2021 have made Spring Training appearances. 3B Zack Gelof (Oakland Athletics), a 2nd-round pick who was a standout in his first minor-league season, is 1-for-6 with a walk. 3B Noah Medlinger (St. Louis Cardinals), an undrafted free agent, is 1-for-1
  • Click here to download an Excel spreadsheet that contains stats through Friday, April 1.

Subscribe to Jewish Sports Review

  • Jewish Baseball News and other Jewish news outlets — as well as the Israeli baseball team — could not do what we do without the work of Jewish Sports Review. JSR publishes an old-school print newsletter six times a year for the bargain price of $36. The publication covers Jewish athletes at multiple levels (pros, college, high school); in multiple sports (baseball, football, basketball, hockey, soccer, tennis, golf, lacrosse, and track and field); in multiple countries (including Israel); and covers special events (including the Olympics and Maccabiah games). For further information, call 310-838-6626 or write shelwallman@gmail.com or emoxson@yahoo.com.

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By Scott Barancik, Editor

Following a historic appearance in the 2020 Olympics, the Israel Association of Baseball is looking to refresh its roster and build a pipeline of future players.

One solution? Sponsor a series of Player Evaluation Weekends across the U.S. to identify promising high-school athletes.

The first such academy, aimed at scouting ballplayers from Southern California, will be held May 14-15, 2022, at Los Angeles Valley College. A newly-formed group called Israel Baseball Academy will host the event in partnership with Maccabi USA.

Click photo to register

All participants in the showcase weekend will be formally submitted into the Israel Association of Baseball’s player pool. They also will participate in skills testing, receive group and one-on-one instruction, and obtain personalized evaluations from players and coaches associated with Israel’s baseball program, including former MLB pitcher Jon Moscot.

Former MLB pitcher Jon Moscot will be among those hosting the Player Evaluation Weekend on May 14-15, 2022

Athletes will be divided into underclassmen, upperclassmen, and Shomer Shabbat-observant. Registration is $250 per player, and space is limited.

To register, click here.

Like many of his American-born teammates, Moscot says representing Israel in international competition was the most meaningful experience of his baseball career — more so even than playing in the Majors and Minors. “I don’t think people understand what it means until they’re a part of it,” he recalls. “I had the most fun and most memories as a part of this team.”

For more information, visit the Israel Baseball Academy website.

(Note: Jewish Baseball News receives no compensation from the Israel Baseball Academy.)  

For updates on future Player Evaluation Weekends, follow Jewish Baseball news on FacebookTwitter or Instagram, and sign up for our free e-mail service.

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By Scott Barancik, Editor

The Jewish Baseball Card Book, a hardcover history of trading cards covering the 169 Jews who played Major League ball between 1871 and 2016, is now available for just $18. The coffee-table book initially cost $49.95.

You can purchase single copies on Amazon. But the $18 offer expires March 27. And fewer than 200 copies remain.

Bulk pricing is even lower: eight copies for a total of just $54. To inquire, send an email to BaseballCardBook@gmail.com.

Click image to order book
Click image to order

The Jewish Baseball Card Book was written by, and for, baseball lovers.

“What began as a tribute to the history of Jews in baseball through their cards evolved into a history of baseball cards itself,” says Martin Abramowitz, whose not-for-profit Jewish Majors Leaguers helped produce the publication.

The Jewish Baseball Card Book also includes images of Jewish umpires, team owners, general managers and broadcasters. Its author, Jewish Baseball Museum curator Bob Wechsler, calls the tome “a collector’s Bible.”

Old Testament, of course.

(Note: Jewish Baseball News receives no compensation from sales of The Jewish Baseball Card Book.)  

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Introducing: top prospect Spencer Horwitz

In 2021, just his second season as a pro, Blue Jays prospect Spencer Horwitz was named the Northwest League’s Top MLB Prospect

By Scott Barancik, editor

Spencer Horwitz, a surging prospect with the Toronto Blue Jays franchise, is the latest minor-league player to be identified as Jewish.

The Jays got a bargain when they plucked Horwitz out of Radford University in the 24th round of the 2019 amateur draft. In just two seasons — 2020 was wiped out by the COVID-19 epidemic — the 6’0″ first baseman has defied all expectations.

2021 proved to be Horwitz’s breakout year. Playing for the Vancouver Canadians, Toronto’s High-A team, he hit .290 with 10 HRs, 62 RBIs, and a .401 on-base percentage. Highlights included a 28-game hitting streak — breaking a Northwest League record that had stood nearly 60 years — and a League-leading 70 walks against just 66 strikeouts.

For his efforts, Horwitz was named the Northwest League’s 2021 Top MLB Prospect and then sent off to the prestigious Arizona Fall League, where he finished #4 with a .375 batting average.

Now 24, the Maryland native is likely to begin the 2022 season with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, the Double-A team with whom he finished 2021.

Please join us in welcoming Spencer.

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2021 MLB wrap

Max Fried (Braves) tossed 6 scoreless innings in Game 6 to help Atlanta become the 2021 World Series champs

Here is your summary for the week of November 1-7, plus other news and stats from the 2021 season

World Series

  • Max Fried (Braves) tossed 6 shutout innings on November 2, leading Atlanta to a 7-0 win over the Houston Astros — and the club’s first World Series championship since 1999. Fried yielded 4 hits and zero walks while striking out 6.

Mazel tov

  • For the second season in a row, P Max Fried (Braves) has received the N.L. Gold Glove award, issued to the best-fielding player at each position. Click here to see a few examples of Fried’s glove work.

Stats to share: World Series

  • With his Game 6 win, Max Fried (Braves) became the fourth Jewish pitcher in MLB history to win the deciding game in a World Series. According to historian Bob Wechsler, Fried is preceded by Ken Holtzman (Athletics, 1973), Sandy Koufax (Dodgers, 1963 and 1965), and Larry Sherry (Dodgers, 1959). Sherry, who pitched alongside Koufax in the 1959 World Series, went 2-0 with 2 saves and was named World Series MVP.
  • Fried’s performance in Game 6 left him in rare company. According to JBN reader Dean R., Dodgers legend Sandy Koufax is the only other Jewish pitcher in MLB history to toss 6 or more shutout innings in a World Series game. Koufax tossed back-to-back, complete-game shutouts in the 1965 Series.
  • The 2021 World Series was the first in MLB history to feature four Jewish players: RF Joc Pederson (Braves), P Max Fried (Braves), 3B Alex Bregman (Astros), and C Garrett Stubbs (Astros). Stubbs was a 9th-inning defensive replacement in Game 6.
  • Three of the four Jewish players in the 2021 World Series came together on the same play in Game 6. In the bottom of the 2nd inning, Bregman (Astros) came to the plate to face Fried (Braves). On Fried’s second pitch, Bregman lofted a foul ball that was caught by right fielder Pederson (Braves).
  • Pederson (Braves) is only the 9th player in MLB history to win back-to-back World Series with different teams (2020 Dodgers, 2021 Braves).

Other stats to share

  • Since becoming a full-time starter in 2019, Fried leads all MLB pitchers with 16 defensive runs saved, according to MLB.com.
  • P Richard Bleier (Marlins) yielded just 0.93 walks per 9 innings in 2021, best in the National League. Moreover, three of the 6 walks he yielded over 58 innings were intentional. That wasn’t Bleier’s only stellar stat among N.L. pitchers in 2021. According to JBN contributor Jack W., the 34-year-old reliever had the league’s highest ground-ball percentage (65.5%), lowest fly-ball percentage (14.9%), highest first-ball strike percentage (71.1%), and the second-best strikeout-to-walk ratio (7.33). Bleier also induced batters to swing at non-strike pitches 42.1% of the time, second-most in the National League.

Other news

  • RF Joc Pederson (Braves), who was traded to Atlanta in July and played with the team in the 2021 World Series, is a free agent after declining a mutual option in his contract last week.
  • CF Kevin Pillar (Mets), who joined New York as a free agent in 2021, is a free agent again after declining a mutual option in his contract. The 32-year-old journeyman has played for 5 franchises over the last 3 seasons.
  • The Phillies claimed P Ryan Sherriff (Rays) off waivers. In 2020, Sherriff tossed 9.2 scoreless innings during the regular season and appeared in the World Series. He was 0-1 with a save and a 5.52 ERA in 2021.

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World Series update (October 25-31, 2021)

Game 2 marked the first time in World Series history that a Jewish batter (Alex Bregman) faced a Jewish pitcher (Max Fried)

Here is your summary for the week of October 25-31, which saw Houston take on Atlanta in the first 5 games of the 202`1 World Series:

 

L’sholom

  • Tyler Herron, a former 1st-round draft pick who reached as high as Triple-A, died October 27 at age 35. According to JTA, Herron was of Puerto Rican descent but discovered in 2014 that he had a Jewish grandmother. He later called pitching for Team Israel in the 2017 World Baseball Classic “the best experience I’ve ever had in baseball.” Herron most recently played for the independent Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks and for Atenienses de Manati of the Puerto Rican Winter League. “He was a tremendous teammate,” said Yamil Benitez, president of the Puerto Rico Players Association. “The time he was with us contributed not only on the field but also away from it. If you are looking for someone who speaks something negative about him, you may not find him.”
Four athletes playing in the 2021 World Series, including Atlanta’s William Contreras, are wearing custom sneakers produced by minor-league pitcher Alex Katz’s company

Mazel tov

  • Many Jewish pitchers and batters have played in a World Series, but Game 2 of this year’s matchup marked the first time a Jewish batter has ever faced a Jewish pitcher. Here’s how Alex Bregman (HOU) fared against Max Fried (ATL): 1st inning, sacrifice fly; 2nd inning, strikeout; 5th inning, groundout.
  • C Garrett Stubbs was added to Houston’s roster before Game 4 when a teammate was removed due to COVID-19 protocols. “It’s exciting,” Stubbs said. “Obviously, you dreamed about it as a little kid.” He did not play in Games 4 or 5.
  • RF Joc Pederson (Braves) — or more likely a ghostwriter — recently penned a column for The Players Tribune. In it, Pederson described being traded from Chicago to Atlanta, and the ways he helped inspire a fun, winning attitude in the Braves’ clubhouse.
  • P Alex Katz (Cubs/Double-A/Tennessee Smokies), an active minor-leaguer who played for Israel in the 2020 Summer Olympics, is not playing in the World Series, but his sneakers are on the field. Three members of the Braves and one Astro are wearing custom, hand-painted shoes created by Katz’s start-up, Stadium Custom Kicks.

At the plate

  • 3B Alex Bregman (Astros) hit .111 (2-for-18) last week with a double, 2 walks, a hit-by-pitch, 2 RBIs, and a .227 on-base percentage (OBP). In two prior World Series with Houston (2017 and 2019), Bregman hit .220 with 5 HRs, a double, a stolen base, 4 walks, and 13 RBIs.
  • OF Joc Pederson (Braves) hit .091 (1-for-11) with a walk, hit-by-pitch, and a .231 OBP. In three prior World Series with the Dodgers (2017, 2018 and 2020), “Joctober” hit .275 with 5 HRs, 2 doubles, 4 walks, and 9 RBIs.
  • P Max Fried (Braves) went 0-for-1 on October 21.

On the mound

  • Max Fried (Braves) struggled in a Game 2 loss on October 21, yielding 6 earned runs over 5 innings on 7 hits, a walk, and 6 strikeouts. He is scheduled to start Game 6 on Tuesday, November 2.

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Playoffs update (October 18-24, 2021)

Joc Pederson and Max Fried are featured in this World Series promo photo

Here is your summary for the week of October 18-24, which saw Houston defeat Boston to in the A.L. Championship Series and Atlanta beat Los Angeles in the N.L. Championship Series. Game 1 of the World Series takes place tonight in Houston:

 

Mazel tov

  • Max Fried (Braves) is one of four pitchers to be named a finalist for the N.L. Silver Slugger Award. Fried hit .273 (15-for-55) this season, with 3 doubles, 5 RBIs, and .322 OBP (on-base percentage). He hit particularly well against lefties (.400), at home (.393), in high-leverage situations (.500), and with runners in scoring position (.333). Fried also went 2-for-2 with a double and an RBI as a pinch-hitter.

Stats to Share

  • At least three Jewish players are on World Series rosters: P Max Fried (Braves), OF Joc Pederson (Braves), and 3B Alex Bregman (Astros). It’s unclear whether C Garrett Stubbs (Astros) will make the trip.
  • The last Jewish player to pitch in a World Series was in 2020. Ryan Sherriff (Rays) tossed a scoreless inning in Game 3 and again in Game 5.

At the plate

  • 3B Alex Bregman (Astros) hit .200 (3-for-15) last week with a HR, RBI, 333 OBP, and .733 OPS.
  • OF Joc Pederson (Braves) did not look like the “Joctober” we have come to expect. He hit .200 (3-for-15) with 2 RBIs, a hit-by-pitch, .294 OBP, and .494 OPS.
  • P Max Fried (Braves) went 0-for-1 on October 21.

On the mound

  • Max Fried (Braves) had a rare “off” day on October 21, yielding 5 earned runs on 8 hits and 2 walks over 4.2 innings to earn a loss against the Dodgers.

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Welcome, Eli Morgan!

Eli Morgan (Indians) is the latest Major Leaguer to be identified as Jewish

By Scott Barancik, editor

Eli Morgan, a rookie pitcher with the Cleveland Indians, is the latest Major Leaguer to be identified as Jewish.

A 25-year-old California native, Morgan was plucked out of Gonzaga University in the 8th round of the 2017 draft. The 5’10” righty made quick work of Cleveland’s farm system and proceeded to make his MLB debut on May 28, 2021.

That first appearance, a start against the Toronto Blue Jays, was not his finest moment. But Morgan didn’t crumble. Instead, he improved his ERA every month from May to September and won each of his final three starts. Morgan recorded a 2.55 ERA over those three games, held opponents to a meager .400 slugging percentage, and struck out 11 batters while walking just one.

How was Morgan’s Jewish lineage discovered? The Peninsula High School alum told Indians catcher and Team Israel member Ryan Lavarnway that his father is Jewish. Jewish Baseball News caught wind of the exchange, and together with our friends at Jewish Sports Review we confirmed Morgan’s eligibility.

Notably, Lavarnway went on to catch four of Morgan’s 18 starts during the 2021 season, making them the most recent example of Jewish batterymates.

The pair’s history-making didn’t stop there, however. In a June 22 matchup against Chicago, Morgan faced Cubs LF Joc Pederson three times with Lavarnway behind the plate.

Morgan got the best of the first two exchanges, striking out Pederson in the 1st inning and 4th inning. But Pederson exacted revenge in the 6th inning with a 2-run double.

Please join us in welcoming Eli.

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Playoffs update (October 12-17, 2021)

Joc Pederson’s October 17 home run is the longest so far of the 2021 playoffs

Here are your playoff stats for October 12-17, a 6-day period that included the A.L. and N.L. Division Series and the beginning of the leagues’ respective Championship Series:

 

Stats to Share

  • Through October 17, Jewish players had 2 of the 4 longest HRs in the 2021 playoffs. OF Joc Pederson (Braves) led the pack with a towering 454-foot shot in Game 2 of the NLCS, while 1B Rowdy (Brewers) came in at #4 with a 448-footer in Game 4 of the NLDS.
  • In his first two playoff starts in 2021, P Max Fried (Braves) struck out 14 batters over 12 innings without yielding a single walk.
  • At .690 (40-18), Max Fried (Braves) has amassed the #2 regular-season winning percentage of any pitcher in Atlanta history. Fried ranks just below Russ Ortiz (.692) and just above Hall of Famer Greg Maddux (.688).
  • Jewish Baseball News wishes to extend a special thanks to Jack W. for providing many of the “Stats to share” we post here.

At the plate

  • OF Joc Pederson (Braves) hit just .182 (2-for-11) from October 12 to October 17, but that included a clutch HR in Game 2 of the NLCS that tied the score 2-2. Atlanta went on to beat the Dodgers 5-4 in a walk-off win. The Braves lead the series 2-0.
  • 1B Rowdy Tellez (Brewers) went 1-for-4 with a game-tying, 2-run HR on October 12. Milwaukee went on to lose that game 5-4, thus ending the team’s 2021 playoff run. Milwaukee beat Atlanta in the first game of the NLDS but lost the final three.
  • 3B Alex Bregman (Astros) hit .231 (3-for-13) with a double, 2 RBIs, and a .286 OBP. Houston and Boston are tied 1-1 in the ALCS.
  • P Max Fried (Braves) went 0-for-2 on October 16.

On the mound

  • Max Fried (Braves) yielded 2 earned runs over 6 innings on October 16, giving up 8 hits and no walks while striking out 5. Atlanta went on to beat Los Angeles 3-2 in Game 1 of the N.L. Championship Series, but Fried didn’t get the decision.

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Playoffs update (October 4-11, 2021)

Joc Pederson’s pinch-hit, 3-run on October 11 powered Atlanta’s 3-0 win over Milwaukee

Here are your playoff stats for the six days from October 12-17, a period that includes both the A.L. and N.L. Division Series and the beginning of the leagues’ Champion Series.

OF Joc Pederson (Braves)

Pederson hit only .182 (2-for-11), but his clutch HR in Game 2 of the NLCS against Los Angeles tied the score 2-2. Atlanta went on to get a walk-off win.

The chunky lefty’s first season with Atlanta — the club acquired him from the Cubs in a July 2021 trade — has been no different. No longer a regular starter, Pederson has embraced his bench role with characteristic gusto and become a favorite not only with fans but also his teammates.

Pederson was nothing short of heroic in the in the first three games of Atlanta’s N.L. Division Series matchup against Milwaukee. The 29-year-old went 3-for-3 as a pinch hitter with 2 HRs and 4 RBIs.

Monday’s round-tripper (October 11) accounted for all three Braves runs in a 3-0 win over Milwaukee. Superlatives followed.

“He brings so much energy to our team,” Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson told MLB.com after the game. “I told him the other day that no environment ever dictates who he is. He’s the same guy in every situation. And I feel like that’s one of the reasons why he’s so successful come this time of year.”

“That guy’s got no heartbeat at all,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker added. “It’s like he’s on the playground. Playing against him in the postseason the last few years, you could tell that.”

P Max Fried (Braves)

Fried, Pederson’s teammate, has been no less clutch.

The lanky southpaw dominated Milwaukee in an October 9 shutout, yielding just 3 hits and no walks over 6 scoreless innings while striking out 9 batters.

Atlanta reliever Tyler Matzek called Fried “a guy that’s been absolutely dominating games that we need to win.”

1B Rowdy Tellez (Brewers)

Tellez hit .286 (2-for-7) against Atlanta in Milwaukee’s first 3 playoffs games, including a solo home run on October 8. The 411-foot shot came off his bat at 109.3 MPH.

Earlier in the same game, Tellez led an impressive double play when he fielded a ground ball, stepped on first base for the first out, and threw home to nab Jorge Solers (Braves).

3B Alex Bregman (Astros)

Bregman hit a sizzling .455 (5-for-11) in Houston’s first 3 playoff games against the White Sox, with 2 RBIs and a .500 OBP (on-base percentage).

Stats to share

  • Home runs by Tellez (Brewers) and Pederson (Braves) accounted for all 3 runs scored in Milwaukee’s 2-1 win over Atlanta on October 8. According to author Bob Wechsler, the last time two Jewish players homered in the same playoff game came in the 9th inning of Game 4 of the 2017 World Series, when 3B Alex Bregman (Astros) and Pederson (Dodgers) both cleared the bases.
  • Fried (Braves) got the better of Tellez (Brewers) in his October 9 start, striking Tellez out on a called third strike and forcing him to pop out in foul territory.

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MLB Week (September 27-October 3, 2021)

Joc Pederson began sporting a pearl necklace during games last week

Mazel tov

  • Max Fried was named N.L. Pitcher of the Month for September/October, the first Brave to win the monthly honor since 2013 (see Joc Pederson (Braves) drew double-takes and cheers last week when he began wearing a pearl necklace during games, including while hitting a home run on the final day of the regular season. Pederson’s easygoing nature appears to be a competitive advantage during postseason play, a time when many other players freeze at the gravity of the moment. In World Series games with the Dodgers, for example, Pederson hit .275 (11-for-40) with 5 HRs, 2 doubles, and 9 RBIs. “Joc Pederson has been described as a carefree, comical teammate who can keep a clubhouse loose,” MLB.com wrote.
  • P Rob Kaminsky, a free agent who pitched for the Cardinals in 2020, says he is “100% healthy” and ready to play again.
  • Josh Rawitch, a long-time front office staffer with the Dodgers and the Diamondbacks, was named president of the Baseball of Hall of Fame this summer. Click here to listen to a recent podcast interview.

Stats to share

  • P Max Fried (Braves) racked up some stellar stats this season:
    • In his final 11 starts, Fried went 7-0 with a 1.46 ERA, held opposing batters to a .183 average, and recorded 64 strikeouts against just 9 walks. In four of the games, Fried allowed no runs. Most important, Atlanta went 10-1 during the stretch.
    • During his final 3 starts, Fried recorded a 17.2-inning scoreless streak.
    • Fried’s final game of the regular season, on September 29, marked his 12th consecutive quality start, a Major League high in 2021.

Weekly overview

  • In the final week of the 2021 regular season, Jewish batters hit a combined .188 (9-for-48) with 2 HRs, a triple, 2 doubles, 6 RBIs, 4 walks, 9 strikeouts, and a .250 OBP (on-base percentage). The performance trimmed their collective batting average from .245 to .243, identical to the Major League average of .243.
  • In the final week of the 2021 regular season, Jewish pitchers went 1-0 with 4 holds, a blown save, and a 1.32 ERA over 13.2 combined innings, yielding 8 hits and 2 walks while hitting one batter and striking out 11. The performance shrank their collective ERA from 4.22 to 4.08, better than the Major League average of 4.22.

At the plate

  • CF Kevin Pillar (Mets) hit .364 (4-for-11) last week with a triple, 2 RBIs, a .364 OBP, and a .909 OPS.
  • 1B Rowdy Tellez (Brewers), fresh off the injured list, hit .333 (2-for-6) with 2 doubles, an RBI, a .429 OBP, and a 1.095 OPS.
  • LF Joc Pederson (Braves) hit .222 (2-for-9) with a solo HR, RBI, a .300 OBP, and an .856 OPS.
  • 3B Alex Bregman (Astros) hit .050 (1-for-20) with a HR, 2 RBIs, a .136 OBP, and a .336 OPS.
  • P Max Fried (Braves) went 0-for-2 with a sacrifice in a September 29 start.

On the mound

  • Max Fried (Braves) earned his 7th win in a row on September 9, yielding one earned run on 4 hits and a walk over 7 innings while striking out 6.
  • Richard Bleier (Marlins) earned 3 holds in 3 scoreless appearances last week, yielding one hit and no walks over 3 combined innings while striking out 2.
  • Ryan Sherriff (Rays) tossed 1.2 scoreless innings on September 29, yielding a hit and a walk while hitting one batter and striking out 2.
  • Scott Effross (Cubs) went 0-0 with a 4.50 ERA, yielding one earned run on 2 hits and a walk over 2 combined innings while striking out one. He earned a hold as well as a blown save.

Players to watch

  • SS Zack Gelof (Athletics/Triple-A/Las Vegas Aviators), a 2nd-round pick in the 2021 draft, hit .667 (6-for-9) with a double and 6 RBIs. Sadly, the Aviators’ final 4 games of the 2021 season were cancelled due to COVID-19.
  • OF Hunter Bishop (Giants/Low-A/San Jose Giants) was selected to play in the prestigious Arizona Fall League. The 10th overall pick in the 2019, Bishop has seen limited play since then, including a total of just 45 at-bats for San Francisco’s rookie, Low-A, and High-A teams in 2021. But the Giants must see promise in the 6’5″ lefty.

Transactions

  • P Dean Kremer (Orioles) was called up from Triple-A on October 5.
  • 1B Rowdy Tellez (Brewers) was activated from the injured list on October 2.
  • P Ryan Sherriff (Rays) was called up from Triple-A on September and sent back down on September 30.

Injured list

  • P Robert Stock (Mets), right hamstring strain, since July 21. Out for the season.

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MLB Week (September 20-26, 2021)

Scott Effross (Cubs) had a busy week, holding opponents scoreless over 4 games

Stats to share

  • Max Fried (Braves) has been a different pitcher since the All-Star break. His 1.78 ERA since July 13 is tied for #2 in the Majors and a vast improvement from his 4.71 ERA before the break. Other examples of his pre-break to post-break improvement include opponent batting average (.270 to .193), on-base percentage (.338 to .238), and on-base plus slugging (.765 to .535). Meanwhile, Fried’s strikeout-to walk ratio has increased from 2.88 to 5.00.
  • Rowdy Tellez (Brewers) is hitting .238 (5-for-21) with 2 HRs as a pinch hitter this season, versus the MLB average of .212 (1,044-for-4,936). His 6 pinch-hit RBIs are tied for 11th-best in the Majors, with all but one hitter ahead of him having more at-bats.
  • All 4 Jewish position players with at least 250 at-bats this season have amassed double-digit home runs: Joc Pederson (17), Kevin Pillar (15), Alex Bregman (11), and Rowdy Tellez (11).

Weekly overview

  • Jewish batters hit a combined .233 (10-for-43) last week with 2 HRs, 2 doubles, 5 RBIs, 7 walks, 5 strikeouts, one hit-by-pitch, and a .346 OBP (on-base percentage). The performance steadied their collective batting average at .245, versus the Major League average of .243.
  • Jewish pitchers had a stellar week, going 1-0 with a hold and a 0.00 ERA over 15 combined innings, yielding 5 hits and 2 walks while hitting one batter and striking out 9. The performance dropped their collective ERA from 4.42 to 4.22, a hair above the Major League average of 4.21.

At the plate

  • LF Joc Pederson (Braves) hit .500 (4-for-8) last week with a HR, 2 doubles, a .556 OBP, and a 1.681 OPS (on-base plus slugging). He went 2-for-5 with 2 doubles and an RBI as a pinch hitter, and 2-for-3 with a solo HR and a walk in his lone start.
  • CF Kevin Pillar (Mets) hit .333 (3-for-9) with an RBI, a .400 OBP, and a .733 OPS.
  • SS Alex Bregman (Astros) hit .136 (3-for-22) with a HR, 2 RBIs, a .286 OBP, and a .558 OPS.
  • P Max Fried (Braves) went 0-for-4 on September 24 but drew a pinch-hit walk on September 20.

On the mound

  • Max Fried (Braves) hurled his second straight shutout and earned his sixth consecutive win on September 24, yielding just 3 hits and no walks over 9 innings while striking out 4. It was the second time Fried tossed a complete-game shutout on fewer than 100 pitches in 2021.
  • Scott Effross (Cubs) was busy — and effective — in his third full week as a Major Leaguer. The sidearm pitcher threw 3.1 scoreless innings over 4 games, yielding 2 hits and no walks, striking out 4, and earning his second hold.
  • Richard Bleier (Marlins) tossed 1.2 shutout innings over 2 appearances, yielding no hits and 2 walks while striking out one.

Players to watch

  • SS Zack Gelof (Athletics/Triple-A/Las Vegas Aviators), a 2nd-round pick in the 2021 draft, made it all the way to Triple-A on September 26. In his first two games with the Aviators, Gelof went 1-for-3 with a walk, and then 3-for-4 with a bases-loaded double and 5 RBIs.
  • OF Jakob Goldfarb’s tenure in minor-league ball was short-lived. Drafted by the White Sox in 2019, he hit .186 in rookie ball and later was released. But Goldfarb’s experience with the Ogden Raptors of the independent Pioneer League this season has been a different story. In 2021, the 25-year-old law-school student hit .342 with 24 HRs (#2 in the league), 90 RBIs (#6), a .460 OBP (#3), 1.121 OPS (#6), and 45 stolen bases (#1).
  • Jakob Goldfarb isn’t the only Jewish player in the Pioneer League to have a standout 2021. OF Matt Feinstein (Idaho Falls Chukars), who has never been drafted or signed by a Major League team, hit .366 (#10) with 22 HRs (#4), 116 RBIs (#1), a .492 OBP (#2), and 1.120 OPS (#7).
  • A warm welcome to P Sam Hellinger (Reds/High-A/Dayton Dragons). Selected by Seattle in the 39th round of the 2013 draft, Hellinger chose college instead, last playing at Gonzaga in 2017. Texas signed Hellinger as an undrafted free agent in 2019 and then released him in 2020. He signed with Cincinnati in 2021.

Transactions

  • None.

Injured list

  • 1B Rowdy Tellez (Brewers), right patella strain, since September 12.
  • P Robert Stock (Mets), right hamstring strain, since July 21. Out for the season.

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MLB Week (September 13-19, 2021)

Max Fried’s shutout of the Giants on Sep. 19 inspired this MLB Network graphic

Mazel tov

  • Every year, current and former Major Leaguers issue a Heart & Hustle award to one player on each team. The winning player “demonstrates a passion for the game of baseball and best embodies the values, spirit and traditions of the game.” It should come as no surprise that Kevin Pillar, in his first season with the Mets, was among those chosen for the 2021 award. Pillar’s honor was his third, having won it in 2016 and 2017 with the Blue Jays.
  • Kudos to Team Israel on earning the silver medal at the 2021 European Championships last week. Competing in the biennial series for only the second time — and minus much of the star power it boasted at the 2021 Olympics, including Danny Valencia, Ian Kinsler, Nick Rickles and Ryan Lavarnway — Israel went 4-0 before falling to perennial favorite Netherlands in the final. SS Assaf Lowengart, a sabra, led the tournament with 4 HRs (tied) and 13 RBIs.

Stats to share

  • When New York faced off against St. Louis on September 15, three players with Jewish heritage homered. Kevin Pillar (Mets) — the only one of the trio who identifies as Jewish — hit a solo shot in the 6th inning. Cardinals starters Paul Goldschmidt and Harrison Bader, both of whom have Jewish fathers, connected in the 7th and 4th innings, respectively.
  • Max Fried (Braves) ranks #3 among MLB pitchers in range factor per 9 innings, a measure of defensive skill.

Weekly overview

  • Jewish batters hit a combined .250 (14-for-56) last week, with 2 HRs, 2 doubles, 8 RBIs, 5 walks, 10 strikeouts, and a .311 OBP (on-base percentage). The performance brought their collective batting average to .245, versus the Major League average of .243.
  • Jewish pitchers went 1-1 with 2 holds and a 1.64 ERA last week, yielding 7 hits and one walk over 11 combined innings while striking out 9. The performance trimmed their collective ERA to 4.42, versus the Major League average of 4.21.

At the plate

  • SS Alex Bregman (Astros) hit .304 (7-for-23) last week, with a HR, 6 RBIs, a .407 OBP, and an .842 OPS (on-base plus slugging).
  • CF Kevin Pillar (Mets) hit .250 (4-for-16) with a HR, double, 2 RBIs, a .250 OBP, and a .750 OPS.
  • LF Joc Pederson (Braves) hit .250 (2-for-8) with a double, a .250 OBP, and a .625 OPS.
  • C Garrett Stubbs (Astros) hit .167 (1-for-6) with a .286 OBP and a .452 OBP.
  • P Max Fried (Braves) went 0-for-3 on September 19.

On the mound

  • Max Fried (Braves) earned his fifth straight win with a September 19 shutout over the Giants, yielding just 3 hits and a walk over 7 innings while striking out 5. “We [Atlanta] needed a superhero to come and save us,” said Mark DeRosa on the MLB Network, “and time and time again, that’s what Max Fried, number 54, has done…He flew into San Francisco, and he was dominant.”
  • Richard Bleier (Marlins) tossed 2 perfect innings over 2 games last week, striking out one and earning his 17th hold of the season. The 34-year-old southpaw needed only 11 pitches to retire the 5 batters he faced.
  • Scott Effross (Cubs) went 0-1 with a hold and a 9.00 ERA over 3 appearances, yielding 4 hits and zero walks over 2 combined innings while striking out 3.

Players to watch

  • P Kenny Rosenberg (Rays/Triple-A/Durham Bulls) was magnificent in a September 17 relief appearance, striking out 7 of the 9 batters he faced in 3 perfect innings. So far this season, Rosenberg is 3-1 with 3.03 ERA, 2 holds, a save, and 55 strikeouts in 38.2 innings.
  • SS Zack Gelof (Athletics/Low-A/Stockton Ports), a 2021 draftee, caught fire on September 14, going 5-for-6 with 2 HRs, a double, and 4 RBIs.
  • P Jacob Steinmetz (Diamondbacks/rookie/ACL D-Backs), an 18-year-old hurler selected in the third round of the 2021 draft, made his pro debut on September 13. Though the performance in and of itself was not memorable — Steinmetz struggled over 1.1 innings — it marked a rare professional appearance for an Orthodox Jewish athlete.

Transactions

  • C Garrett Stubbs (Astros) was optioned to Triple-A on September 17.
  • C Ryan Lavarnway (Indians) was designated for assignment on September 14 and then outrighted to Triple-A on September 16.

Injured list

  • 1B Rowdy Tellez (Brewers), right patella strain, since September 12.
  • P Robert Stock (Mets), right hamstring strain, since July 21. Out for the season.

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MLB Week (September 6-12, 2021)

Joc Pederson is swarmed by Braves teammates after a walk-off single on September 9

Mazel tov

  • OF Ryan Braun, who last played in 2020 and spent his entire career in Milwaukee, eliminated all doubt his future on September 14 when he announced his retirement from baseball. “While it’s impossible to summarize my emotions, what I feel most is one, simple thing – gratitude,” he wrote on Twitter. Braun was named N.L. Rookie of the Year in 2007, N.L. MVP in 2011, and was named an All-Star six times. He is the all-time Jewish home run leader with 352 round-trippers and ranks second to the immortal Hank Greenberg with 1,154 RBIs.

Stats to share

  • We know that P Max Fried (Braves) is the best-hitting pitcher in baseball. At .326, he is one of only two MLB pitchers hitting above .200, with the second best coming in at .245. We know he is an outstanding fielder, too, having earned a Gold Glove in 2020. But those who watch Fried regularly know he also is a danger on the basepaths. On August 14, for example, Fried sprinted from first base to home plate at a rate of 29.3 feet per second. According to Statcast, elite speed in the Majors is 30 feet per second. “That’s telling you how athletic he is,” teammate Ozzie Albies said after the game. 

Weekly overview

  • Jewish batters hit a combined .290 (27-for-93) last week, with 2 HRs, 7 doubles, 16 RBIs, 3 walks, 25 strikeouts, and a .337 OBP (on-base percentage).
  • Jewish pitchers went 2-0 with a 4.29 ERA last week, yielding 20 hits and 6 walks over 17 combined innings while striking out 20.

At the plate

  • SS Alex Bregman (Astros) hit .429 (9-for-21) last week, with 2 HRs, 2 doubles, 9 RBIs, and a 1.268 OPS (on-base plus slugging). Bregman’s home runs came in consecutive games, including a game-tying “Breggy Bomb” on September 7 and a pinch-hit shot on September 8.
  • P Max Fried (Braves) hit .500 (2-for-4) with a 1.000 OPS, raising his batting average to .326. Fried also picked-off a runner on September 7, his 6th pick-off of the season.
  • 1B Rowdy Tellez (Brewers) hit .357 (5-for-14) with 3 doubles, an RBI, and a .929 OPS. Tellez injured his patella while rounding third base on September 11 after doubling minutes before.
  • C Garrett Stubbs (Astros) hit .333 (2-for-6) with an RBI double off the left-field wall and a .833 OPS.
  • LF Joc Pederson (Braves) hit .235 (4-for-17) with one RBI and a .471 OPS. One of his hits was clutch: a walk-off single against the Nationals on September 9.
  • CF Kevin Pillar (Mets) hit .190 (4-for-21) with a double, 3 RBIs, 4 hit-by-pitches, and a .571 OPS. Three of the hit-by-pitches occurred on three consecutive days.
  • C Ryan Lavarnway (Indians) hit .111 (1-for-9) with a .222 OPS. His 6th-inning single on September 12 broke up a no-hitter by Eric Lauer (Brewers).
  • P Scott Effross (Cubs) hit a sacrifice fly on September 11, his first and only plate appearance so far as a Major Leaguer.

On the mound

  • Richard Bleier (Marlins) went 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA over 2 games last week, striking out 2 over 1.1 perfect innings. Bleier retired the 4 batters he faced on a total of 16 pitches.
  • Scott Effross (Cubs) went 1-0 with a 2.45 ERA over 2 appearances, yielding 3 hits, zero walks, and one hit batter over 3.2 combined innings while striking out 4.
  • Max Fried (Braves) went 0-0 with a 3.00 ERA over 2 starts. In 12 combined innings, the southpaw yielded 10 hits and 5 walks while striking out 12 and holding opposing batters to a .222 batting average. Fried’s 4 walks on September 7 tied a season high.
  • Dean Kremer (Orioles), in his first MLB appearance since June 24, yielded 4 earned runs in a September 11 start, giving up 7 hits and a walk over 4 innings while striking out 2.

Players to watch

  • P Jared Shuster (Braves/Double-A/Mississippi Braves), a 1st-round 2021 draft pick who already has reached Double-A, gave up just one earned run in a 6.2-inning start on September 8, yielding 6 hits and 2 walks while striking out 5. “I feel like I have a really high ceiling and I’m going to work hard to reach that ceiling,” Shuster told MLB.com in a recent scouting report.
  • P Daniel Federman (Baltimore/Low-A/Delmarva Shorebirds), an undrafted free agent signed by the Orioles in June, tossed 3 scoreless innings across 2 games, yielding one hit and zero walks while striking out 4.
  • P Jake Miednik (Cleveland/Double-A/Akron RubberDucks) threw 3 scoreless innings across 2 games, yielding a hit and a walk while striking out 4.
  • P Ryan Sherriff (Rays/Triple-A/Durham Bulls) earned a win September 8 after tossing 2 perfect innings and striking out one batter. Sheriff’s performance lowered his ERA at Durham this season to 1.59 and raised his record to 5-3 with 5 holds and a save.
  • P Zack Weiss (Mariners/Triple A/Tacoma Rainiers) threw 3.1 scoreless innings over 2 games, yielding 2 hits and zero walks while striking out 3.
  • SS Zack Gelof (Athletics/Low-A/Stockton Ports), a 2021 draftee, hit .348 (7-for-22) with 2 HRs, one double, 4 RBIs, 3 walks, and his 11th stolen base of the season.
  • C CJ Stubbs (Astros/High-A/Asheville Tourists) hit .318 (6-for-22) with a HR, double, and 8 RBIs.

Transactions

  • 1B Rowdy Tellez (Brewers) was placed on the injured list on September 12.
  • P Dean Kremer (Orioles) was called up on September 11 and sent back down to Triple-A on September 12.

Injured list

  • 1B Rowdy Tellez (Brewers), right patella strain, since September 12.
  • P Robert Stock (Mets), right hamstring strain, since July 21. Out for the season.

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MLB Week (August 30-September 5, 2021)

Cubs reliever Scott Effross, sporting a Star of David, had a great second week in the Majors

Mazel tov

  • C Ryan Lavarnway (Indians), who represented Team Israel in the 2021 Olympics, hit .375 with 2 doubles in 2 starts last week after being called-up from the minors. Lavarnway’s only other stint with Cleveland this season was a four-game stretch in June.
  • After a less-than-perfect MLB debut on August 29, P Scott Effross (Cubs) rebounded like a seasoned veteran, tossing 3 near-perfect innings over 2 games and earning his first win. A recent article says the turning point in Effross’ career was his decision to begin throwing sidearm.

Stats to share

  • At 25.1 feet per second, 1B Rowdy Tellez (Blue Jays) ranks #490 in the Majors in sprint speed. But that didn’t stop the 6’4″, 255-pound infielder from hitting his second triple of the season on August 31, thanks to a favorable carom off the wall in left-centerfield. No other Jewish ballplayer has more than one triple this season.
  • Speaking of sprint speed, the fastest Jewish player this season is C Garrett Stubbs (Astros), whose 28.3 feet per second ranks #119 in the Majors.
  • CF Kevin Pillar (Mets) had 14 HRs in 268 at-bats thru September 5, making him one of only 74 MLB players averaging a HR every 20 at-bats or fewer. Pillar hit a career high 21 HRs in 2019, but that amounted to one home run every 29.1 at-bats.

Weekly overview

  • Jewish batters hit a combined .250 (20-for-80) last week, with 3 HRs, one triple, 5 doubles, 2 RBIs, a stolen base, 5 walks, 15 strikeouts, and a .294 OBP (on-base percentage). The performance kept their collective batting average steady at .241, versus the Major League average of .242.
  • Jewish pitchers went 1-0 with one hold and a 1.69 ERA last week, yielding 4 hits and a walk over 10.2 combined innings while striking out 15. The performance lowered their collective ERA from 4.61 to 4.55, versus the Major League average of 4.20.

At the plate

  • CF Kevin Pillar (Mets) continued to wield a hot bat last week, hitting .462 (6-for-13) with 2 HRs — including a grand slam — 2 doubles, 8 RBIs, and a 1.077 OPS (on-base plus slugging).
  • C Ryan Lavarnway (Indians) hit .375 (3-for-8) with 2 doubles and a 1.000 OPS.
  • SS Alex Bregman (Astros) hit .316 (6-for-19) with an RBI and a .666 OPS.
  • 1B Rowdy Tellez (Brewers) hit .182 (4-for-22) with a triple, double, 3 RBIs, and a .568 OPS.
  • LF Joc Pederson (Braves) hit .083 (1-for-12) with a solo HR against his former Dodgers teammates and a .487 OPS.
  • C Garrett Stubbs (Astros) hit .000 (0-for4) in three appearances.
  • P Max Fried (Braves) went 0-for-2 on September 1.

On the mound

  • Scott Effross (Cubs) went 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA over 2 appearances, yielding one hit and zero walks over 3 combined innings while striking out 5.
  • Max Fried (Braves) pitched six solid innings in a September 1 defeat but was not charged with the loss. He yielded 2 earned runs on a walk and 3 hits — including 2 HRs — while tying a season high with 9 strikeouts. Fried’s last loss came on July 28.
  • Richard Bleier (Marlins) tossed 1.2 perfect innings over 2 appearances, yielding zero hits and walks while striking out one.

Players to watch

  • SS Zack Gelof (Athletics/Low-A/Stockton Ports), a 2021 draftee, hit .389 (7-for-18) last week, with 2 HRs, 4 doubles, 7 RBIs, 3 stolen bases, and 5 walks.
  • C CJ Stubbs (Astros/High-A/Asheville Tourists) hit .273 (6-for-22), with 3 HRs, a double, 5 RBIs, a stolen base, and 2 walks.
  • OF Rhett Wiseman (Nationals/Double-A/Harrisburg Senators) hit .333 (5-for-15) with a double and an RBI.
  • P Aaron Cohn (Athletics/Low-A/Stockton Ports), a 2021 signee and a teammate of Zack Gelof, tossed 4 scoreless innings over 3 games, yielding a hit and a walk while striking out 3.
  • P Ben Gross (Twins/Double-A/Wichita Wind Surge) tossed 4 innings in his Double-A debut on September 3, yielding one earned run on a hit and a walk while striking out 7.
  • P Dean Kremer (Orioles/Triple-A/Norfolk Tides) had his best start of the season on September 3, yielding just 2 hits and zero walks over 5 scoreless innings while striking out 5 to earn a win.

Transactions

  • C Ryan Lavarnway (Indians) was called-up from the minors on September 2.

Injured list

  • P Robert Stock (Mets), right hamstring strain, since July 21. Out for the season.

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MLB Week (August 23-29, 2021)

Alex Bregman (Astros), back from the injured list, made a diving catch on August 28

Mazel tov

  • P Scott Effross (Cubs) became the first Jewish player this season to make his Major League debut. After a 6-year sojourn in Chicago’s farm system, the 27-year-old reliever was called up on August 28 and made his first appearance the following day. It probably wasn’t the most satisfying experience; Effross hit a batter, threw a wild pitch, and gave up a 2-run HR over 0.2 innings. But he hardly stood out among a Cubs pitching staff that gave up 13 runs that day. And Effross did record his first MLB strikeout, making 2B Cesar Hernandez (White Sox) swing and miss on a 90.8-mph sinker.
  • 3B Alex Bregman (Astros) returned to play after two months on the injured list.

Stats to share

  • So far this season, Jewish batters are striking out less often than Major League batters overall (20.1% of all plate appearances versus 23.4%). But they are walking slightly less often, too (7.7% versus 8.7%).

Weekly overview

  • Jewish batters hit a combined .241 (14-for-58) last week, with 3 HRs, a double, 7 RBIs, a stolen base, 6 walks, 17 strikeouts, and a .338 OBP (on-base percentage). The performance kept their collective batting average steady at .241, versus the Major League average of .242.
  • Jewish pitchers went 0-0 with one hold and a 5.00 ERA last week, yielding 8 hits, zero walks, and 3 hit batters over 9 combined innings while striking out 8. The performance raised their collective ERA from 4.60 to 4.61, versus the Major League average of 4.08.

At the plate

  • SS Alex Bregman (Astros) returned to the lineup August 25 after two months on the injured list. For the week, he hit .357 (5-for-14) with a double, one RBI, an OBP of .471, and a .899 OPS (on-base plus slugging). No doubt Houston is happy to have Bregman’s glove back, with plays like this and this.
  • CF Kevin Pillar (Mets) hit .333 (3-for-9) with a .455 OBP and a 1.455 OPS. The highlight came on August 28, when he stroked 2 solo HRs, the second one a score-tyer. It was Pillar’s second double-HR game of the season and sixth of his career.
  • 1B Rowdy Tellez (Brewers) hit .227 (5-for-22) with a home run, 3 RBIs, a .261 OBP, and a .625 OPS.
  • LF Joc Pederson (Braves) hit .100 (1-for-10) with an RBI, a .286 OBP, and a .386 OPS. He also sealed teammate Max Fried’s August 27 win over the Giants with a fantastic game-ending catch.
  • C Garrett Stubbs (Astros) struck out in his sole at-bat, on August 29.

On the mound

  • Max Fried (Braves) pitched six innings in an August 27 win but did not end up with the decision. He yielded 3 earned runs on 5 hits, zero walks, and a hit batter over 6 innings while striking out 5. Fried had won all four of his previous outings.
  • Richard Bleier (Marlins) earned a hold and maintained a 0.00 ERA over three appearances. In 2.1 combined innings, he yielded 2 hits and zero walks while hitting one batter and striking out 2.
  • Scott Effross (Cubs) tossed 0.2 innings of relief on August 29, yielding 2 earned runs on a hit, zero walks, and a strikeout.

Players to watch

  • C Andy Yerzy (Diamondbacks/Double-A/Hillsboro Hops) made the most of his Double-A debut on August 25, going 2-for-3 with a 3-run HR, 4 RBIs, and a walk. For the week, Yerzy hit .273 (3-for-11) with a hit-by-pitch and a remarkable 6 walks, giving him on OBP of .556.
  • C Mike Rothenberg (Tigers/Low-A/Lakeland Flying Tigers), a 2021 draftee, hit .385 (10-for-26) with a home run, 3 doubles, 5 RBIs, and an .892 OPS.
  • P Josh Wolf (Indians/Low-A/Lynchburg Hillcats) had quite a start on August 9. In 4 shutout innings, he limited the Kannapolis Cannon Ballers to 2 hits and 2 walks while fanning 9 batters, including 6 in a row. Kannapolis C Shawn Goosenberg went 0-for-2 against Wolf.
  • P Noah Davis (Indians/High-A/Spokane Indians) earned a win in pretty spectacular fashion on August, yielding 2 earned runs on 4 hits over 6 innings and striking out 11 with zero walks. Davis’s 104 strikeouts rank #5 among all High-A pitchers.
  • P Kyle Molnar (Angels/High-A/Tri-City Dust Devils) tossed 4.1 scoreless innings over 2 appearances, yielding 4 hits and zero walks while striking out 6.
  • P Zack Weiss (Mariners/Triple-A/Tacoma Rainiers) tossed 2 scoreless innings over 2 games, yielding one hit and no walks while striking out 5.
  • Two Jewish pitchers are among the Top 10 in High-A for strikeouts per 9 innings. Ben Gross (Minnesota/High-A/Cedar Rapids Kernels) ranks #3 at 11.63, while Noah Davis (Indians/High-A/Spokane Indians) ranks #9 at 9.68.

Transactions

  • C Garrett Stubbs (Astros) was called-up from the minors on August 29.
  • P Scott Effross (Cubs) was called-up from the minors on August 28.
  • 3B Alex Bregman (Astros) came off the injured list on August 25.

Injured list

  • P Robert Stock (Mets), right hamstring strain, since July 21. Out for the season.

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MLB Week (August 16-22, 2021)

Max Fried tossed a complete-game shutout on August 20 for his fourth straight win

Mazel tov

  • Max Fried (Braves) pitched a gem on August 20, a 9-inning, complete-game shutout over the Orioles. Thanks to two double plays, Fried faced only 29 batters, two over the minimum. A leaping catch by teammate Joc Pederson also helped.
  • The Forward published an article titled “100 years of baseball on radio, a century of Jewish announcers.” Among the talent cited: Dolly Stark, Howard Cosell, Mel Allen, Marty Glickman, Sandy Koufax, Bob Wolff, Al Michaels, John Sterling, Gary Cohen, and Howie Rose.

Stats to share

  • Last week was all Max Fried:
    • On August 20, Fried became only the third Atlanta hurler since 1988, the year statisticians began recording pitch counts, to toss a complete-game shutout with 90 or fewer pitches. The other two: Cy Young award winners Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine. Maddux was the last to accomplish the feat, nearly 20 years ago (9/13/2000).
    • Fried is hitting .342 with a .390 OBP (on-base percentage) so far this season. If he finishes the year at those levels, he will land in the Top 50 seasons of all time in both categories. Fried also would become only the third starting pitcher in the 2000s to hit .342 or better.
    • Fried may be on pace to win this year’s Silver Slugger award for pitchers. If he does so, according to author Bob Wechsler, Fried would become only the 4th pitcher in MLB history to earn a Silver Slugger award, a Gold Glove award, and finish among the top 5 in Cy Young award voting. The only pitchers to accomplish the feat are Fernando Valenzuela, Mike Hampton, and Adam Wainwright.

Weekly overview

  • Jewish batters hit a combined .133 (6-for-45) last week, with 2 HRs, a double, 5 RBIs, and a .170 OBP. The performance lowered their collective batting average from .245 to .241, versus the Major League average of .242.
  • Jewish pitchers went 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA last week, yielding 5 hits and zero walks over 10 combined innings. The performance lowered their collective ERA from 4.80 to 4.60, versus the Major League average of 4.19.

At the plate

  • CF Kevin Pillar (Mets) hit .182 (2-for-11) with a HR and a .705 OPS (on-base plus slugging). His 3-run, go-ahead shot at Oracle Park on August 18 led to a 6-2 win over the Giants, a team he played for in 2019.
  • LF Joc Pederson (Braves) hit .133 (2-for-15) with a home run, 2 RBIs, and a .521 OPS.
  • 1B Rowdy Tellez (Brewers) hit .105 (2-for-19) with a double and a .263 OPS.

On the mound

  • Max Fried’s August 20 gem marked the fourth win in his last four outings and the second complete game of his career. Over 9 innings, the lanky southpaw yielded four hits and zero walks while fanning 4 (see video).
  • Richard Bleier (Marlins), normally a bullpen stalwart, pitched only once this week, most likely due to his recent struggles on the mound. In a one-inning stint on August 20, Bleier held the opposition scoreless, yielding one hit and no walks.

Players to watch

  • C Andy Yerzy (Diamondbacks/High-A/Hillsboro Hops) hit .353 with 6 RBIs and 2 walks last week. Five of Yerzy’s hits were HRs, and he has 14 for the season.
  • SS Shawn Goosenberg (White Sox/Low-A/Kannapolis Cannon Ballers), a 19th-round pick in June’s amateur draft, hit .412 (7-for-17) for Chicago’s rookie-league and Low-A teams, with a double, triple, RBI, and a stolen base.
  • C Ryan Lavarnway (Cleveland/Triple-A/Columbus Clippers) hit .346 (9-for-26) with 3 HRs, 8 RBIs, and 2 walks.
  • P Noah Davis (Rockies/High-A/Spokane Indians) tossed 7 innings of 2-run ball in an August 22 win, yielding 6 hits and no walks while striking out 3.
  • P Daniel Federman (Orioles/Low-A/Delmarva Shorebirds), an undrafted free agent who signed with Baltimore in June, pitched 3 scoreless innings with the franchise’s rookie-league and Low-A teams, yielding 3 hits and zero walks over 3 appearances while striking out one.
  • P Ben Gross (Twins/High-A/Cedar Rapids Kernels) raised his season record to 5-1 with an August 17 win, yielding one earned run on 2 hits and 3 walks over 5 innings while striking out 6.
  • P Kenny Rosenberg (Rays/Triple-A/Durham Bulls) earned his first save of the season August 20, tossing a scoreless inning on zero hits, a walk, and 2 strikeouts.
  • P Jared Shuster (Braves/High-A/Rome Braves), a 1st-round pick in the 2020 amateur draft, raised his season record to 2-0 with an August 21 win, yielding 2 earned runs on 3 hits and a walk over 6 innings while striking out 5.

Transactions

  • None

Injured list

  • P Robert Stock (Mets), right hamstring strain, since July 21. Out for the season.
  • 3B Alex Bregman (Astros), left quad strain, since June 17.

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MLB Week (August 9-15, 2021)

Coming on with 2 outs and the bases loaded on August 15, Kevin Pillar (Mets) retired batter Taylor (Dodgers) in his first MLB appearance from the mound

Mazel tov

  • Kevin Pillar (Mets) is known for his outfield prowess, but on August 15 he took the mound for the first time in his MLB career, coming on with 2 outs and the bases loaded in the 9th inning of a game against the Dodgers. Pillar went to a full count on batter Chris Taylor before retiring him on a flyout to right-center to end the rally. All six of Pillar’s pitches were sliders, and he tossed them at a range of 69-84 mph.

Stats to share

  • Since hitting a season-high of 11.45 on April 13, P Max Fried (Braves) has steadily reduced his ERA. A one-run outing on August 14 brought it to 3.78, the lowest level since an Opening Day loss.

Weekly overview

  • Jewish batters hit a combined .286 (8-for-28) last week, with a home run, double, 3 RBIs, and a .412 OBP (on-base percentage). The performance lifted their collective batting average from .244 to .245, versus the Major League average of .242.
  • Jewish pitchers went 1-1 with 2 holds and a 5.06 ERA, yielding 12 hits and 4 walks over 10.2 combined innings. The performance raised their collective ERA from 4.79 to 4.80, versus the Major League average of 4.20.

At the plate

  • 1B Rowdy Tellez (Brewers) hit .444 (4-for-9) last week with 3 RBIs, a 1.278 OPS (on-base plus slugging), and his second pinch-hit HR this month. The 445-foot shot sent the ball all the way into the Allegheny River.
  • P Max Fried (Braves) went 1-for-1 with 2 sacrifices on August 14. He leads all MLB pitchers in batting average (.342), OBP (.390), and OPS (.811).
  • LF Joc Pederson (Braves) hit .214 (3-for-14) with a double, but 5 walks boosted his OBP to .421.
  • CF Kevin Pillar (Mets), who has been relegated to a reserve role for the moment, went 0-for-4.

On the mound

  • Max Fried (Braves) earned his third consecutive victory on August 14, pitching 6 innings of one-run ball on 5 hits, 0 walks, and 7 strikeouts to improve his record to 10-7. Fried helped himself at the plate with a single and two sacrifices in 3 plate appearances.
  • Ryan Sherriff (Rays) recorded a 10.13 ERA over 3 appearances, yielding 2 hits, 4 walks, and a hit batter over 2.2 combined innings while striking out 3. Sherriff was optioned to Triple-A on August 16.
  • Richard Bleier (Marlins) went 0-1 with 2 holds and a 9.00 ERA over 3 appearances, yielding 5 hits and zero walks over 2 combined innings while striking out 3. After hitting a season low of 2.29 on July 17, Bleier’s ERA has climbed to 3.48. During that time, batters have hit him for a .395 average, .452 OBP, and .926 OPS.

Players to watch

  • P Ben Gross (Twins/High-A/Cedar Rapids Kernels) tossed a 6-inning gem on August 11, yielding 2 earned runs on 6 hits and zero walks over 6 innings while striking out 13. For the season, the 6-foot-1-inch righty is 5-1 with a 3.25 ERA, and he ranks high among all High-A pitchers in at least two categories: #2 in strikeouts per 9 innings (11.50), and #6 in strikeout-to-walk ratio (4.60).
  • C Scott Manea (Astros/Double-A/Corpus Christi Hooks) continues to show great patience at the plate. His .405 OBP ranks #3 among all Double-A players, and his .75 walk-to-strikeout ratio ranks #5.

Transactions

Injured list

  • P Robert Stock (Mets), right hamstring strain, since July 21. Out for season.
  • 3B Alex Bregman (Astros), left quad strain, since June 17.

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