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MLB Monday (July 19-25, 2021)

Mazel tov

  • July 24 was a great day for newly-acquired players and their teams. Joc Pederson, who joined the Braves earlier this month, went 4-for-6 with a home run and 4 RBIs in a win over the Phillies. And Rowdy Tellez, who was acquired by the Brewers earlier this month, went 3-for-4 with 2 HRs and 3 RBIs in a win over the White Sox.

Stats to share

  • OF Kevin Pillar (Mets) has played all outfield positions this season, including 41 games in center field, 30 in left, and 13 in right. Despite all that moving around, “Superman” has not made a single error.
  • Since 1876, a total of 22,143 men have played Major League baseball, but only two have been named “Rowdy.” C Rowdy Elliott played on and off for three clubs from 1910 to 1920, assembling a .241 batting average with one home run and 44 RBIs over 402 at-bats. Nearly a century later, in 2018, 1B Rowdy Tellez made his MLB debut.

Weekly overview

  • Jewish batters hit a combined .327 (17-for-52) last week, with 4 HRs, a double, 6 RBIs, 2 walks, and a .345 on-base percentage (OBP). The performance raised their collective batting average from .236 to .241, one point above the Major League average of .240.
  • Jewish pitchers went a combined 0-1 with a blown save and an 8.67 ERA last week, yielding 12 hits and 5 walks over 9 combined innings while striking out 9. The performance raised their collective ERA from 5.08 to 5.18, versus the Major League average of 4.10.

At the plate

  • 1B Rowdy Tellez (Brewers) hit a sizzling .583 (7-for-12) last week, with 2 HRs, a double, 6 RBIs, and a 1.738 OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage). Tellez’s 2-homer game on July 24 was the fifth of his career.
  • CF Kevin Pillar (Mets) hit .400 (4-for-10) with a 3-run HR and a 1.100 OPS.
  • LF Joc Pederson (Braves) hit .222 (6-for-27) with a home run, 4 RBIs, and a .556 OPS.
  • P Max Fried (Braves) went 0-for-1 and drew a walk on July 23.
  • P Robert Stock (Mets) went 0-for-1 on July 20.

On the mound

  • Max Fried (Braves) saw his record fall to 7-6 after a July 23 loss. The lanky southpaw yielded 4 earned runs on 6 hits and 4 walks over 5 innings while striking out 6.
  • Robert Stock (Mets) had an up-and-down day on July 20, to say the least. Called up from Triple-A to start against the Reds, Stock tossed one rocky inning (2 hits, one walk) before tearing his right hamstring while running out a ground ball. The season-ending injury will require surgery.
  • Thanks to a rough outing on July 20, Richard Bleier (Marlins) recorded a 9.00 ERA and a blown save over 3 appearances, yielding 4 hits, no walks, and a hit-by-pitch over 3 combined innings while striking out 2.

Players to watch

  • SS Zack Kone (Marlins/Low-A/Jupiter Hammerheads) hit .364 (4-for-11) with 2 HRs, 2 doubles, and 6 RBIs last week.
  • OF Rhett Wiseman (Nationals/Double-A/Harrisburg Senators) hit .381 (8-for-21) with 3 doubles, 4 RBIs, a stolen base, and a walk.
  • P Ben Gross (Twins/High-A/Cedar Rapids Kernels) tossed 5 shutout innings in a July 24 start, yielding 4 hits and one walk while striking out 8. For the season, Gross is 4-0 with a 2.41 ERA.

Israel at the Olympics

  • Israel’s baseball team will make its Olympic debut on July 29 against South Korea.

Transactions

  • P Ryan Sherriff (Rays) was recalled from Triple-A on July 25.
  • C Garrett Stubbs (Astros) was optioned to Triple-A on July 25.
  • P Robert Stock (Mets) was recalled from Triple-A on July 20 but joined the injured list a day later. He will undergo surgery and is done for the season.

Injured list

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

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MLB Monday (July 12-18, 2021)

Mazel tov

  • Atlanta’s 9-0 win over the Rays on July 17 arguably was a historic day for Jewish ballplayers. Braves starter Max Fried was the game’s star (see below). In addition to tossing a shutout, Fried was 3-for-3 at the plate. Among his batting feats that day was a 2-run double in the 4th inning that came after Tampa Bay intentionally walked a batter to face him. Even better, new teammate Joc Pederson — in his first start as a Brave since being traded by the Cubs — followed Fried’s double with a 2-run home run. After the game, the new teammates lauded one another. Said Pederson about Fried: “The dude rakes! Might have to be Shohei Ohtani soon, huh?” And Fried said about Pederson: “He’s electric. He obviously has a lot of thunder in his bat.”
  • Of the 612 players selected in last week’s annual amateur draft, at least seven were Jewish. Many thanks to our colleagues at Jewish Sports Review for assembling this list, which includes an undrafted free agent who signed a minor-league contract last week:
    1. Zack Gelof (3B), Athletics (Rd 2, #60)
    2. Jacob Steinmetz (P), Diamondbacks (Rd 3, #77)
    3. Colton Gorton (P), Astros (Rd 8, #238)
    4. Michael Rothenberg (C), Tigers (Rd 12, #345)
    5. Tyler Uberstine (P), Red Sox (Rd 19, #556)
    6. Shawn Goosenberg (SS), White Sox (Rd 19, #575)
    7. Elie Kligman (C), Nationals (Rd 20, #593)
    8. Daniel Federman (P), Orioles (free agent)

Stats to share

  • When P Max Fried (Braves) went 3-for-3 on July 17, he became only the fifth MLB pitcher in the past 5 seasons to do so. Meanwhile, Fried is hitting .333 this season, 2nd-best among MLB pitchers with at least 30 plate appearances. (Note: Fried’s batting average includes his 1-for-2 record as a pinch hitter.)

Weekly overview

  • Jewish batters hit a combined .350 (7-for-20) last week, with a home run, 2 doubles, 7 RBIs, 2 walks, a hit-by-pitch, and a .435 on-base percentage (OBP). The performance raised their collective batting average from .233 to .236, versus the Major League average of .241.
  • Jewish pitchers went a combined 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA last week, yielding 5 hits and a walk over 9 combined innings while striking out 7. The performance lowered their collective ERA to 5.08, versus the Major League average of 4.17.

On the mound

  • Richard Bleier (Marlins) had a perfect 0.00 ERA over 2 appearances last week, yielding a hit and no walks over 2 combined innings. Bleier needed just 13 pitches to record the 6 outs.
  • Max Fried (Braves) pitched a shutout on July 17, yielding just 4 hits and a walk over 7 innings while striking out 7.

At the plate

  • LF Joc Pederson (Braves) hit .400 (4-for 10) in his first week as a Brave, contributing a home run, double, 4 RBIs, and a .455 OBP.
  • P Max Fried (Braves) went 3-for-3 on July 17 with a 2-run double.
  • 1B Rowdy Tellez (Brewers) hit .000 (0-for-4) but drew a walk as well as a bases-loaded hit-by-pitch, giving him one RBI and a .333 OBP.
  • CF Kevin Pillar (Mets) hit .000 (0-for-3) across 3 appearances as a late-game replacement. Pillar hasn’t started a game for New York since July 10.

Players to watch

  • P Noah Davis (Reds/High-A/Dayton Dragons earned a win on July 17, yielding one earned run over 6 innings on 5 hits, 2 walks, and 7 strikeouts. Davis is 3-1 since starting the season 0-4. He has 74 strikeouts over 61.1 innings.
  • P Jared Shuster (Braves/High-A/Rome Braves) tossed four nearly spotless innings in a July 13 start, yielding one hit and no walks while striking out 5. So far this season, Shuster has held opposing batters to a .162 average and has recorded 36 strikeouts against 8 walks over 28 innings.
  • P Ben Gross (Twins/High-A/Cedar Rapids Kernels) raised his record to 4-0 with a July 18 win. Over 5.1 innings, Gross yielded 4 hits and no walks while striking out 8.
  • P Robert Stock (Mets/Triple-A/Syracuse Mets) tossed 6 innings of one-run ball in a July 13 start, yielding 6 hits and a walk while striking out 8. Stock went on to pitch a perfect inning of relief on July 18.

Transactions

  • C Garrett Stubbs (Astros) was recalled from Triple-A on July 19.
  • LF Joc Pederson was traded from the Chicago Cubs to Atlanta on July 15.

Injured list

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MLB Monday (July 5-11, 2021)

Here are your MLB highlights for the week of July 5-11, 2021:

Mazel tov

  • Three Jewish players — including two making their debuts with a new team — faced off in a July 7 matchup between the Mets and the Brewers. There were several interactions. A first-inning single by 1B Rowdy Tellez (Brewers) against starter Robert Stock (Mets) marked Tellez’s first hit as a Brewer and Stock’s first hit yielded as a Met (see video below). Later, Stock retired Tellez on an acrobatic catch by LF Dominic Smith. Meanwhile, Tellez recorded two putouts on CF Kevin Pillar (Mets). Stock, who got zero run support from his fellow Mets, was tagged with the loss after yielding 2 earned runs over 4 innings and striking out 5.
  • In case you missed it, long-time fan Gwen Goldman, 70, tossed the ceremonial first pitch at Yankee Stadium on June 28. Sixty years ago, Goldman had asked to be a Yankees bat girl but was told girls “did not belong in the dugout.”

Stats to share

  • Richard Bleier’s ERA has steadily improved over the course of the season. After recording a 4.91 ERA in March/April, the 34-year-old southpaw tossed a 2.08 ERA in May, a 1.29 in June, and 0.00 through his first six appearances in July. For the season, he is 2-0 with 11 holds, a 2.43 ERA, 27 strikeouts, and 2 walks. Bleier has yielded just 0.84 walks/hits per inning, ranking him #15 in the Major Leagues among pitchers with 30-plus innings pitched.
  • Like the Dodgers before them, the Cubs have been platooning newcomer Joc Pederson, based on the theory that he doesn’t perform well against left-handed pitching. But so far this season, Pederson has been hitting better against southpaws (.271 in 59 at-bats) than against right-handers (.218 in 197 at-bats). Meanwhile, Pederson may be batting only .230, but Baseball Reference says he is hitting .333 in so-called high leverage situations, with 2 HRs, 3 doubles, and 19 RBIs in 42 at-bats.
  • P Max Fried (Braves) wasn’t stellar in a July 10 win over the Marlins, but his stats — 3 earned runs on 9 hits and a walk over 5 innings — weren’t as bad as they might appear. With one out in the bottom of the 5th inning, Braves LF Ronald Acuna Jr. landed awkwardly after leaping for a fly ball, allowing batter Jazz Chisholm to record an inside-the-park home run. Afterward, Fried loaded the bases on three singles before retiring the side with his second and third strikeouts of the inning.

Weekly overview

  • Jewish batters hit a combined .205 (9-for-44) last week with 3 doubles, 7 RBIs, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts, and a .255 OBP (on-base percentage). The performance lowered their collective batting average from .235 to .233, versus the Major League average of .240.
  • Jewish pitchers went a combined 1-2 with a 5.44 ERA last week, walking 7 batters and striking out 20 over 18 combined innings. The performance left their collective ERA unchanged at 5.35, versus the Major League average of 4.05.

On the mound

  • Richard Bleier (Marlins) had a perfect 0.00 ERA over 3 appearances last week, yielding a hit and a walk over 3.2 combined innings while striking out 3 and holding opposing batters to a .083 average and a .154 OBP.
  • Max Fried (Braves) went 1-1 last week with an 8.10 ERA over 10 combined innings, yielding 16 hits and 3 walks while striking out 10.
  • Ryan Sherriff (Rays) tossed a scoreless inning on July 7, yielding no hits and one walk while striking out 2.
  • Robert Stock (Mets) made his New York debut in a July 7 start, yielding 2 earned runs over 4 innings on 4 hits, 2 walks, and 5 strikeouts in a 5-0 loss.

At the plate

  • LF Joc Pederson (Cubs) hit .300 (6-for-20) with 3 doubles, 6 RBIs, and a .783 OPS (on-base plus slugging) last week, including three 2-hit games.
  • CF Kevin Pillar (Mets) hit .182 (2-for-11) with one RBI and a .364 OPS.
  • 1B Rowdy Tellez (Brewers), traded by the Blue Jays earlier in the week, hit .125 (1-for-8) with 2 walks and a .425 OPS. Tellez is Milwaukee’s first Jewish player since Ryan Braun went into apparent retirement. “This is a player who has consistently put the bat on the ball and he has consistently hit the ball hard,” said David Stearns, Milwaukee’s president of baseball operations. “We are going to give him a shot.”
  • P Max Fried (Braves) hit .000 (0-for-4).
  • P Robert Stock (Mets) hit .000 (0-for-1).

Players to watch

  • P Scott Effross (Cubs/Triple-A/Iowa Cubs) pitched 3.2 perfect innings over 2 appearances, yielding no hits or walks while striking out 4.
  • P Zack Leban (Marlins/Triple-A/Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp) was sharp in his Triple-A debut on July 9, yielding zero earned runs on a hit and a walk over 2.1 innings while striking out 3.

Transactions

  • P Robert Stock (Mets) was called up on July 6 and then optioned back to Triple-A on July 8.
  • P Ryan Sherriff (Rays) was called up on July 7.
  • 1B Rowdy Tellez (Brewers) was traded from Toronto to Milwaukee on July 6.
  • C Garrett Stubbs (Astros) was optioned to Triple-A on July 5.

Injured list

  • 3B Alex Bregman (Astros), left quad strain, since June 17. According to a recent article, Bregman is hoping to accept a minor-league rehab assignment within the next week.

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MLB Monday (June 28-July 4, 2021)

Here are your MLB highlights for the week of June 28-July 4, 2021:

Mazel tov

  • P Max Fried (Braves) is best known for his work on the mound, having finished 5th in voting for the 2020 Cy Young Award (National League). But Fried also is hitting .300 this season, and he showed his prowess at the plate in a July 4 contest against the Marlins. With the score tied 7-7 in the 10th inning and Atlanta’s bench depleted, Braves manager Brian Snitzker called pinch-hitter Fried to the on-deck circle. Marlins P Anthony Bass intentionally walked Kevan Smith to get to Fried, who responded with a game-winning line drive to center field and promptly was mobbed by teammates (see below). “I love hitting,” Fried said afterward. “So to have something like this happen and get put in a spot like that, I just tried to make the most of it.”
  • Team Israel disclosed its 24-man Olympic roster on July 5. It has until July 27 to make injury-related additions and subtractions.

Stats to share

  • Richard Bleier has 11 holds this season, tying him for 5th-highest in the National league.

Weekly overview

  • Jewish batters hit a combined .122 (6-for-49) with a double, 3 RBIs, 7 walks, 14 strikeouts, a stolen base, and a .232 OBP (on-base percentage). The performance lowered their collective batting average from .241 to .235, versus the Major League average of .239.
  • Jewish pitchers went a combined 1-1 with 2 holds and a 6.67 ERA last week, walking 2 batters while striking out 8 over 8.1 innings. The performance raised their collective ERA from 5.29 to 5.35, versus the Major League average of 4.12.

On the mound

  • Despite a leadoff double in the 1st inning by Kevin Pillar (Mets), Max Fried (Braves) was on the right side of a lopsided 20-2 win on June 30, improving his record to 5-4. Over 5 innings, he gave up 2 earned runs on 3 hits and 2 walks while striking out 7. As usual this season, Fried struggled in the early going, yielding both earned runs in the 1st inning, but he settled down afterward. The 27-year-old southpaw has won three of his past four starts.
  • Richard Bleier (Marlins) pitched three straight days from July 2-4, earning holds on two of them. He had a perfect ERA of 0.00, yielding 2 hits and no walks over 3 combined innings while striking out one and holding opposing batters to a .222 OBP.
  • Ryan Sherriff (Rays) got hammered in a June 30 loss, yielding 4 earned runs on 3 hits and a hit batter over 0.1 innings. In his prior 4 games this season, Sherriff assembled a 2.70 ERA but was hit at a .357 pace by opposing batters.

At the plate

  • P Max Fried (Braves) went 0-for-3 during a June 30 start but stroked a pinch-hit, RBI single on July 4. For the season, Fried is batting .300 (6-for-20) with a double, 3 RBIs, and a .714 OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage).
  • CF Kevin Pillar (Mets) hit .136 (3-for-22) with a double, 2-run single, and a .356 OPS.
  • LF Joc Pederson (Cubs) hit .105 (2-for-19) with 6 walks, a stolen base, and a .320 on-base percentage.
  • C Garrett Stubbs (Astros) went 0-for-4 on July 3.
  • 3B Alex Bregman (Astros) was on the injured list.

Players to watch

  • P Jared Shuster (Braves/High-A/Rome Braves) tossed 5 no-hit innings in a July 2 start, walking 2 batters while striking out 5. Due to a double steal in which a base runner stole home, Shuster was charged with an earned run.
  • 1B Rowdy Tellez (Blue Jays/Triple-A/Buffalo Bisons) hit .364 (8-for-22) last week, with 3 HRs and 8 RBIs.
  • P Ryan Sherriff (Rays/Triple-A/Durham Bulls) pitched 2.2 no-hit innings over 2 appearances, yielding one walk while striking out 4.
  • P Robert Stock (Mets/Triple-A/Syracuse Mets) pitched 2.1 perfect innings over 2 appearances, yielding no hits or walks while striking out 4.

Transactions

  • C Garrett Stubbs (Astros) was called up from Triple-A on June 30.
  • P Max Fried (Braves) came off the Injured List on June 30.
  • P Ryan Sherriff (Rays) was called up from Triple-A on June 30 but sent back down the following day.
  • C Ryan Lavarnway (Indians) was outrighted to Triple-A on June 28.

Injured list

  • 3B Alex Bregman (Astros), left quad strain, since June 17. He is expected to remain on the list until sometime after the All-Star Game, which takes place July 13.

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MLB Monday (June 21-27, 2021)

Here are your MLB highlights for the week of June 21-27, 2021:

Mazel tov

  • The Dodgers surprised Champ Pederson, older brother of LF Joc Pederson, with a World Series ring.
  • Israel, one of six baseball teams competing in the 2021 Summer Olympics, will begin by facing South Korea on June 29.

Stats to share

  • P Max Fried (Braves) may have headed to the injured list on June 19, but he left on a high note. According to Talking Chop: “After a rough start to the season, Fried has been Atlanta’s most consistent starter. Since returning from the injured list on May 5, Fried has allowed three runs or less in seven of eight starts.”
  • C Ryan Lavarnway (Indians) has never pitched once as a pro, not even in the minors. But on June 18, Cleveland nearly called him to the mound in the 8th inning.

Weekly overview

  • Last week was momentous for Jewish players, but not in a good way. Three were optioned to their team’s Triple-A club, two were designated for assignment, and stars Max Fried (Braves) and Alex Bregman (Astros) lingered on the injured list. On the bright side, one of the players designated for assignment — Cubs P Robert Stock — was grabbed off waivers by the Mets.
  • Jewish batters hit a combined .170 (8-for-47) last week, with 2 HRs, 4 doubles, 5 RBIs, one hit-by-pitch, a stolen base, and a .200 on-base percentage. As a group, the players struck out 15 times and walked just once. The performance lowered their collective batting average from .246 to .241, versus the Major League average of .238.
  • Jewish pitchers went a combined 0-1 with a 49.09 ERA last week, thanks to a June 24 meltdown by Dean Kremer. The performance raised their collective ERA from 4.95 to 5.29, versus the Major League average of 4.08.

On the mound

  • Richard Bleier (Marlins) had a rare slow week, pitching a scoreless inning on June 25. Bleier yielded one hit, struck out a batter, and retired the side on 13 pitches.
  • Dean Kremer (Orioles) suffered the worst performance of his career June 24, yielding 6 earned runs on 2 hits and six walks over just 0.1 innings while lowering his 2021 record to 0-7. Kremer was optioned to Triple-A later that day.
  • Max Fried (Braves) was on the injured list and did not play.
  • P Robert Stock (Cubs/Mets) did not pitch.

At the plate

  • C Garrett Stubbs (Astros) stroked a pinch-hit, RBI double on June 21, his only at-bat of the week. He was optioned to Triple-A two days later.
  • C Ryan Lavarnway (Indians) went 1-for-4 and doubled on June 22, his only appearance. He was designated for assignment two days later.
  • CF Kevin Pillar (Mets) hit .167 (4-for-24) with 2 HRs, 2 RBIs, and a .617 OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage). Both of Pillar’s home runs came when New York was behind in the score, including a pinch-hit, game-ting shot on June 26. The centerfielder also made a diving catch on June 27.
  • LF Joc Pederson (Cubs) hit .111 (2-for-18) with 2 doubles, 3 RBIs, a hit-by-pitch, a stolen base, and a .372 OPS. Pederson struck out 8 times but drew zero walks.
  • 3B Alex Bregman (Astros) was on the injured list and did not play.
  • 1B Rowdy Tellez (Blue Jays) did not play. He was optioned to Triple-A on June 22.

Players to watch

  • C Ryan Gold (Blue Jays/High-A/Vancouver Canadians) hit .353 (6-for-17) last week, with 3 doubles, 4 RBIs, and 5 walks.
  • C Scott Manea (Astros) hit .357 (5-for-14) with 2 HRs, 3 doubles, and 6 walks. Manea is one of three Jewish catchers in Houston’s minor-league system, joining Garrett Stubbs and brother CJ Stubbs.
  • P Noah Davis (Reds/High-A/Dayton Dragons) earned his second straight win June 22, tossing 6 scoreless innings on 2 hits, 2 walks, and 6 strikeouts.
  • P Ryan Sherriff (Rays/Triple-A/Durham Bulls) was perfect in 3 appearances, yielding no hits or walks over 2.1 combined innings while striking out 4.

Transactions

  • P Dean Kremer (Orioles) was optioned to Baltimore’s Triple-A club on June 25.
  • C Ryan Lavarnway (Indians) was designated for assignment on June 24, meaning he was removed from Cleveland’s 40-man roster. Within 7 days, he either can be traded, placed on waivers, sent to the minors, or released. It’s possible Lavarnway’s designation was pre-planned so that he could play for Team Israel in the upcoming Summer Olympics.
  • C Garrett Stubbs (Astros) was optioned to Houston’s Triple-A club on June 23.
  • 1B Rowdy Tellez (Blue Jays) was optioned to Toronto’s Triple-A club on June 22.
  • P Robert Stock (Mets) was designated for assignment by the Chicago Cubs on June 20. The New York Mets claimed Stock off waivers June 22 and optioned him to the club’s Triple-A team the same day.

Injured list

  • P Max Fried (Braves), blister on left index finger, since June 19.
  • 3B Alex Bregman (Astros), left quad strain, since June 17.

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MLB Monday (June 14-20, 2021)

Here are your MLB highlights for the week of June 14-20, 2021:

Mazel tov

  • C Ryan Lavarnway (Indians) was called-up from the minors on June 17. That same night, the veteran — playing for the first time as an Indian — singled in his first at-bat and went 2-for-4.
  • OF Kevin Pillar (Mets) gave one of the most extensive interviews of his MLB career in a June 19 Q&A with the New York Post. Pillar touched on multiple topics, including being dubbed “Superman” for his outfield heroics, becoming a fan favorite in his first season in New York, taking a 94.5 mph fastball to the face earlier this season, his love for his teammates, and his concern about rising anti-Semitism.

Stats to share

  • LF Joc Pederson’s 2-homer game on June 18 was the 17th of his career. The left fielder has 11 HRs this season, tied for #3 on the Cubs’ roster behind Javier Baez and Kris Bryant.
  • CF Kevin Pillar (Mets) has played all three outfield positions this season — 31 games in center field, 15 in left, and 7 in right — and has yet to make a single error.
  • P Max Fried (Braves) has struggled against right-handers on the road this season, yielding a .400 average. The southpaw has had much greater luck facing right-handed batters at home, where he has held them to a .209 average.

Weekly overview

  • Jewish batters had their worst week of the season, hitting a combined .155 (11-for-71) with 4 HRs, 3 doubles, 10 RBIs, and a .218 on-base percentage. The dismal performance lowered their collective batting average from .254 to .246, versus the Major League average of .238.
  • Jewish pitchers went a combined 1-2 with a 4.11 ERA over 24 combined innings last week, fanning 18 batters while walking 11. The performance lowered their collective ERA from 5.14 to 4.95, versus the Major League average of 4.04.

On the mound

  • Max Fried (Braves), who has had a very up-and-down season, was decidedly “up” in a 9-1 win over the Cardinals on June 18, yielding one earned run on just 2 hits and 2 walks over 7 innings while striking out 6.
  • P Dean Kremer (Orioles), who spent several weeks in the minors following a rough April and May, suffered a loss the very same day he was called-up (June 14) but recovered with a strong performance on June 19, yielding 2 earned runs on 3 hits and 3 walks over 6 innings while striking out 6. The Israeli-American was headed for a win that night until Baltimore’s hapless bullpen gave up 6 runs in the 9th inning to the Blue Jays.
  • Richard Bleier (Marlins) went 0-0 with a 0.00 ERA over 2 appearances, yielding 3 hits over a combined 2 innings while striking out one batter.
  • P Robert Stock (Cubs) was called-up from the minors on June 16 and made his Cubs debut the same night. Unfortunately, the first start of his Major League career ended in a loss, as Stock gave up 5 earned runs on 4 hits, 6 walks, and a hit batter over 4 innings while striking out 3. Was it the jitters? We won’t know for certain, as the Cubs sent Stock back down to the minors the following day. But the right-hander handled the experience with characteristic humor on Twitter. “Thank you for all the support everyone!! Considering I walked approximately 40 batters, it went about as well as it could have,” he wrote. “I’ll dial it in next time and make it more fun to be a fan of mine.”

At the plate

  • LF Joc Pederson (Cubs) hit .217 (5-for-23) with 2 HRs, a double, 3 RBIs, and a .739 OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging).
  • CF Kevin Pillar (Mets) hit .211 (4-for-19) but made the most of his 4 hits, stroking 2 HRs and 2 doubles, driving in 5 runs, and mustering a .917 OPS. On June 16, Pillar robbed Joc Pederson (Cubs) of extra bases, much to the chagrin of Cubs starter Robert Stock.
  • C Ryan Lavarnway (Indians) hit .286 (2-for-7) with a walk and a .661 OPS.
  • P Max Fried (Braves) went 0-for-2 with a bases-loaded walk on June 18. For the season, Fried is hitting .313 (5-for-16) with 2 RBIs and a .764 OPS.
  • C Garrett Stubbs (Astros) went 0-for-1 on June 17. It was a busy week for Stubbs, who was optioned to the minors on June 14 and then called-up on June 16, his 4th such call this season.
  • P Robert Stock (Cubs) went 0-for-2 on June 16. The at-bats were Stock’s first in 41 MLB games.
  • 3B Alex Bregman (Astros) hit .000 (0-for-9) with an RBI and an .091 OPS before straining his left quad on June 16 and being placed on the injured list.
  • 1B Rowdy Tellez (Blue Jays) went 0-for-9 with a hit-by-pitch.

Players to watch

  • OF Jake Suddleson (Athletics/Double-A/Midland RockHounds), an undrafted prospect out of Harvard University, hit .533 (8-for-15) last week with 3 HRs, a double, 5 RBIs, a stolen base, and a .953 OPS.
  • C CJ Stubbs (Astros/High-A/Asheville Tourists), the younger brother of Astros catcher Garrett Stubbs, hit .467 (7-for-15) with a home run, triple, 2 doubles, 2 RBIs, and a 1.663 OPS.
  • P Noah Davis (Reds/High-A/Dayton Dragons) tossed a one-hit win on June 16, yielding just one walk over 6 innings while striking out 7.
  • P Jared Shuster (Braves/High-A/Rome Braves) pitched 4 innings of one-hit ball in a June 16 start, yielding one walk while striking out 6.

Transactions

  • 3B Alex Bregman (Astros) limped onto the injured list on June 17 with a left quad strain.
  • C Ryan Lavarnway (Indians) was called-up from the minors on June 17.
  • P Robert Stock (Cubs) was called-up from the minors on June 16 and then optioned back to Triple-A on June 17.
  • P Dean Kremer (Orioles) was called-up from the minors on June 14.

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MLB Monday (June 7-13, 2021)

Here are your MLB highlights for the week of June 7-13, 2021:

Stats to share

  • Richard Bleier’s walkless streak ended on June 8 when the second batter he faced drew a base on balls. Until that time, the Marlins reliever had faced 83 batters over 22 innings this season, struck out 20 of them, and not yielded a single Ball Four.
  • C Garrett Stubbs (Astros) has mostly been platooned in his brief MLB career. But in 2 of the 5 games in which he’s had at least 4 at-bats, Stubbs has gotten 2 hits, including a 2-for-5 performance on June 13.

Weekly overview

  • Jewish batters hit a combined .278 (25-for-90) last week, with a season-high 7 HRs, 6 doubles, 17 RBIs, and a .309 on-base percentage (OBP). The performance raised their collective batting average from .250 to .254, versus the Major League average of .237.
  • Jewish pitchers went a combined 0-1 with 2 holds and a 4.80 ERA over 7.5 combined innings last week, fanning 6 batters while walking 3. The performance lowered their collective ERA from 5.21 to 5.14, versus the Major League average of 4.07.

On the mound

  • Max Fried (Braves) saw his record fall to 3-4 in a June 12 loss, yielding 3 earned runs on 5 hits and 2 walks over 6 innings while striking out 2. He did execute a slick pick-off play at first base.
  • Richard Bleier (Marlins) went 0-0 with a 4.50 ERA and two holds over 3 appearances, yielding one earned run on 2 hits and a walk over 2 combined innings while striking out one. One of Bleier’s two holds came in a June 12 win over Max Fried and the Braves.
  • P Ryan Sherriff (Rays) pitched 0.2 scoreless innings on June 9 but yielded a sacrifice fly. He was optioned to Triple-A on June 12.

At the plate

  • OF Joc Pederson (Cubs) recovered nicely from last week’s .095 batting average, hitting .318 (7-for-22) with 3 HRs, 2 doubles, 5 RBIs, a .318 OBP, and a 1.136 OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage). From June 9 to June 12, Pederson homered in 3 consecutive games.
  • 1B Rowdy Tellez (Blue Jays) hit .333 (5-for-15) with a pinch-hit home run, double, 3 RBIs, a .375 OBP, and a .975 OPS.
  • CF Kevin Pillar (Mets) hit .250 (4-for-16) with a .294 on-base percentage and a .982 OPS last week. The highlight came on June 9, when he went 3-for-4 with 2 HRs and 4 RBIs in a 14-1 win over the Orioles. It was the fifth 2-homer game of Pillar’s career.
  • 3B Alex Bregman (Astros) hit .240 (6-for-25) with a home run, 2 doubles, a .300 OBP, and a .740 OPS. He also made an astounding play off a ground ball.
  • C Garrett Stubbs (Astros) hit .200 (2-for-10), with both hits coming on June 13 against the Twins.
  • P Max Fried (Braves) went 1-for-2, raising his season batting average to .357 (5-for-14).

Players to watch

  • P Jake Fishman (Marlins/AAA/Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp) is 1-1 with a 2.95 ERA this season. In 18.1 innings, Fishman — a 30th-round pick in the 2016 amateur draft — has struck out 21 batters, walked only 5, and limited opposing teams to just 0.982 walks/hits per inning.

Transactions

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MLB Monday (May 31-June 6, 2021)

Here are your MLB highlights for the week of May 31-June 6, 2021:

Mazel Tov

  • In a characteristic show of grit and determination, CF Kevin Pillar (Mets) returned to action just 14 days after being hit in the face by a 95mph fastball on May 17, an at-bat that broke bones and required corrective surgery. The “fearless” outfielder — dubbed Superman for his diving catches — stroked a single in his first at-bat.
  • P Ryan Sherriff was recalled by the Rays on June 4 and hurled an 8-pitch, perfect inning the same day. The return marked a triumph over mental-health issues Sherriff suffered earlier in the season. “I think I’m going to have to deal with this for the rest of my life,” he told reporters. “But I’m glad that I have a great foundation where to start from.” Click here to see an interview.

Weekly overview

  • Jewish batters hit a combined .179 (15-for-84) last week, with 2 HRs, 4 doubles, 7 RBIs, and a .233 on-base percentage (OBP). For the season, they are batting .250, versus the Major League average of .237.
  • Jewish pitchers went a combined 1-1 with 2 holds and a 3.57 ERA over 13 combined innings last week, fanning 13 batters while walking 3. The performance lowered their collective ERA from 5.42 to 5.21, versus the Major League average of 4.03.

On the mound

  • Max Fried (Braves) had a very up-and-down week. In a June 1 loss to the Nationals, he yielded an uncharacteristic 4 earned runs over 3.2 innings, giving up 6 hits and 2 walks while striking out 7. But Fried bounced back with a vengeance in a June 6 win against the Dodgers, pitching 6 innings of one-run ball on 6 hits, zero walks, and 4 strikeouts. The win was especially sweet because it came against 2020 Cy Young winner Trevor Bauer, the same year Fried finished 5th in the voting.
  • Richard Bleier (Marlins) went 0-0 with a 0.00 ERA and two holds over 3 appearances, yielding one hit and zero walks over 2 combined innings while striking out 2.
  • P Ryan Sherriff (Rays) went 0-0 with a 0.00 ERA over 2 appearances, yielding 3 hits and a walk over 2.1 combined innings while striking out 2.

At the plate

  • CF Kevin Pillar (Mets) hit .238 (5-for-21) with an RBI, a .238 OBP, and a .476 OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage).
  • 3B Alex Bregman (Astros) hit .208 (5-for-24) with 3 doubles, 2 RBIs, a hit-by-pitch, a .269 OBP, and a .603 OPS.
  • OF Joc Pederson (Cubs) hit .095 (2-for-23) with 4 RBIs, a .174 OBP, and a .555 OBP. Both of his hits were home runs, including a 2-run bomb that landed in San Francisco Bay.
  • C Garrett Stubbs (Astros) went 1-for-3 in his lone start last week. He narrowly missed a second hit despite diving into first base.
  • P Max Fried (Braves), always productive at the plate, went 0-for-1 but added a walk and two sacrifices.
  • 1B Rowdy Tellez (Blue Jays) hit .143 (2-for-14) with a walk, a .200 OBP, and a .414 OPS.

Players to watch

  • P Dean Kremer (Orioles/AAA/Norfolk Tides) pitched well in his first start down at Triple-A, yielding one earned run over 4 innings on 2 hits, 2 walks, and 7 strikeouts.

Transactions

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Minor-League Update (May 2021)

By Scott Barancik, Editor

Minor-league baseball went dark in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Happily, play has resumed in 2021.

During May, the first month of the 2021 season, a total of 35 athletes on the Jewish Baseball News roster played minor-league ball.

This is a smaller number than in recent seasons, thanks to consolidation by the MLB gods. But the number of players will tick up in late June, when the so-called rookie leagues begin play.

Pitcher of the month: Evan Kravetz

Evan Kravetz (Reds/Low-A/Daytona Tortugas) was dominant in 4 starts, going 0-0 with a 1.69 ERA, holding opposing batters to 0.94 walks/hits per inning (WHIP), and striking out 26 in 16 innings, an average of 14.6 per frame. A 5th-round pick in the 2019 draft, Kravetz had pitched only one pro inning prior to 2021.

Hitter of the month: Ryan Lavarnway

C Ryan Lavarnway (Indians/AAA/Columbus Clippers), looking to get back to the Majors, hit .283 (17-for-60) with 6 HRs, 2 doubles, 17 RBIs, and a team-leading .955 OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage).

Other top performers

  • P Zack Leban (Marlins/AA/Pensacola Blue Wahoos), who split his time between Miami’s High-A and Double-A teams, went a combined 1-0 with two saves in two chances, 2 holds, and an 0.82 ERA. Leban hadn’t pitched since 2018, his rookie year, when he went 0-2 with a 7.24 ERA and was tarnished for 2.27 WHIP.
  • P Scott Effross (Cubs/AA/Tennessee Smokies) went 3-0 with a 2.89 ERA in 8 relief appearances, striking out 20 batters over 18.2 innings, walking only 5, and holding opponents to just 1.13 WHIP. Perhaps not surprisingly, Effross was sent to Chicago’s Triple-A team on June 1, his first Triple-A assignment since being drafted in 2015.
  • P Jake Miednik (Indians/AA/Akron RubberDucks) went 1-0 with a 3.09 ERA, struck out 16 batters in 11.2 innings, and held opponents to 1.03 WHIP.
  • C Scott Manea (Astros/AA/Corpus Christi Hooks) went to bat just 50 times, but he led his team with 15 RBIs. Manea particularly shone in a 3-2 win on May 28, delivering a go-ahead home run in the 5th inning and a 7th-inning double that proved the game-winner. Who scored the winning run? Teammate CJ Stubbs, who added his own RBI double.
  • C Garrett Stubbs (Astros/AAA/Sugar Land Skeeters) hit .333 (9-for-27) with 3 doubles, 3 RBIs, and a .915 OPS before being called-up to Houston on May 28.
  • OF Jake Suddleson (Athletics/High-A/Lansing Lugnuts) hit .268 (19-for-71) with 4 HRs, 7 doubles, 11 RBIs, and an .868 OPS.

Two promising Triple-A pitchers — Sam Delaplane (Giants) and Kenny Rosenberg (Rays) — haven’t played in 2021, due to injury. Rob Kaminsky (Phillies), who pitched 5 Major League games for the Cardinals in 2020, tossed just one inning at Triple-A this season before succumbing to an elbow injury.

Click here for a complete list of player stats through May 31.

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MLB Monday (May 24-30, 2021)

Here are your MLB highlights for the week of May 24-30, 2021:

Mazel Tov

  • C Garrett Stubbs (Astros) was called up from Triple-A on May 28 after Houston C Jason Castro was placed on the injured list. Since a brief call-up earlier this season — he saw action only once, as a pinch runner — Stubbs has hit .333 (9-for-27) for the Sugar Land Skeeters (AAA), with 3 doubles, 7 RBIs, a stolen base, and a .471 on-base percentage.

Stats to share

  • P Richard Bleier (Orioles) is doing something special this season: through 19.2 innings of relief, he hasn’t walked a single batter. No other Major League player has come to close to recording that many walk-less frames in 2021. Meanwhile, Bleier has tallied 18 strikeouts.

Weekly overview

  • Jewish batters hit a combined .259 (14-for-54) last week, with 4 HRs, a triple, 2 walks, 10 RBIs, and a .385 on-base percentage. For the season, they are batting .262, versus the Major League average of .235.
  • Jewish pitchers went a combined 0-1 with an 8.82 ERA over 5 innings last week, fanning 6 batters and walking 3. The performance raised their collective ERA to 5.42, versus the Major League average of 3.99.

At the plate

  • 1B Rowdy Tellez (Blue Jays) hit .455 (5-for-11) with a home run, triple, one RBI, and a .571 on-base percentage. The triple was Tellez’s first in more than 600 Major League at-bats, and while it might have been an inside-the-park home run opportunity for another player, the 6’4″, 255-pound Tellez looked surprisingly fleet.
  • OF Joc Pederson (Cubs) hit .273 (6-for-22) with 2 HRs, a double, 5 RBIs, and a .333 OBP. The highlight came on May 25, when Pederson homered twice and doubled to help Chicago erase a 3-0 deficit en route to a 4-3 win over Pittsburgh.
  • C Garrett Stubbs (Astros) drew a walk and successfully executed an RBI bunt in his return to the big leagues on May 29.
  • 3B Alex Bregman (Astros) hit .158 (3-for-19) with a home run, double, 3 RBIs, and a .333 OBP.
  • CF Kevin Pillar (Mets), on the injured list since being struck in the face by a 95mph fastball on May 17, is recovering ahead of schedule and might be activated as early as today (May 31).

On the mound

  • Richard Bleier (Marlins) went 0-for-0 with a 0.00 ERA over 2 appearances, tossing a total of 1.1 perfect innings while striking out one. Bleier needed just 15 pitches to retire the four batters he faced.
  • Dean Kremer (Orioles) saw his 2021 record fall to 0-5 with a May 25 loss, yielding 5 earned runs over 4 innings on 6 hits, 3 walks, and 5 strikeouts. The sophomore starter was optioned to Baltimore’s Triple-A team the following day.
  • Max Fried (Braves) did not pitch. He was supposed to take the mound on May 30, but poor weather scrubbed the game.

Transactions

Injured list

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MLB Monday (May 17-23, 2021)

Here are your MLB highlights for the week of May 17-23, 2021:

Mazel Tov

  • Two players with Major League experience signed minor-league contracts with the Seattle Mariners last week: Team Israel’s Ty Kelly, a retired infielder seeking to brush-up his skills in preparation for the 2021 Olympics, and pitcher Zack Weiss. Both men made their Tacoma Rainiers (AAA) debut on May 23, with Kelly driving in a run and Weiss tossing a scoreless inning to earn a save. Kelly and Weiss are joined on Tacoma’s roster by hot prospect Sam Delaplane, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery.

Big Scare

  • Kevin Pillar (Mets) was struck in the face with a 95mph fastball on May 17, causing multiple nasal fractures that required surgery. True to form, the fearless center-fielder returned to the park a day later and asked if he was in the starting lineup. “My face will heal, but my heart’s broken right now because this team is hurting,” Pillar said. “I was gifted an opportunity to play every day, and I can’t do that and it hurts.” The incident occurred shortly after opposing pitcher Max Fried (Braves) left the game with a minor injury. According to this article, pitch-induced injuries are a growing concern in baseball, given simultaneous increases in high-velocity pitching and the number of hit batters.

Weekly overview

  • Jewish batters hit a combined .283 (15-for-53) last week, with a home run, 3 doubles, 6 RBIs, and a .409 on-base percentage. The performance raised their season batting average to .263, versus the Major League average of .237.
  • Jewish pitchers went a combined 1-2 with a 3.64 ERA over 17 innings last week, fanning 15 batters, walking 9, and earning both a ‘hold’ and a blown save. The trio lowered their collective ERA from 5.68 to 5.24, versus the Major League average of 4.05.

Stats to share

  • In April, P Max Fried (Braves) went 0-1 with an 11.45 ERA, while 48.4% of all batters he faced reached base. May has been a different story. So far this month, Fried is 2-1 with a 1.50 ERA, and only 26.4% of batters have reached base.
  • Among A.L. batters, 3B Alex Bregman (Astros) ranks 3rd in intentional walks (3) and 9th both in batting average (.314) and on-base percentage (.395).

At the plate

  • 3B Alex Bregman (Astros) hit .333 (8-for-24) with a double, 2 RBIs, and a .467 OBP last week.
  • OF Joc Pederson (Cubs) hit .250 (5-for-20) with a home run, double, 3 RBIs, and a .333 on-base percentage.
  • In his sole game last week — the same one where he was struck by a pitch — OF Kevin Pillar (Mets) went 1-for-3 with an RBI.
  • 1B Rowdy Tellez (Blue Jays) hit .167 (1-for-6) with a .375 OBP.

On the mound

  • Max Fried (Braves) went 1-1 with a 1.38 ERA in two starts last week, striking out 10 batters over a combined 13 innings and holding opposing batters to a .269 on-base percentage. In doing so, Fried reduced his ERA from 6.55 to 4.63. Meanwhile, Fried is hitting .364 this season (4-for-11), with a double and an RBI.
  • Dean Kremer (Orioles) struggled in a May 20 loss, yielding 4 earned runs on 5 hits and 4 walks over 3 innings while striking out 3. The second-year starter is 0-4 this season and has yielded 10 HRs, tied for 7th-highest in the Majors.
  • Richard Bleier (Marlins) went 0-for-0 with a 4.50 ERA over 3 appearances, yielding 3 hits and zero walks over a combined 2 innings, striking out 2, and earning both a ‘hold’ and a blown save.
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Other updates

  • C Ryan Lavarnway (Cleveland), who has played for 7 Major League franchises since 2011, is hitting .304 (14-for-46) this season fpr the Columbus Clippers (AAA), including 5 HRs and a team-leading 15 RBIs.
  • Garrett Stubbs (Rays), who had a brief call up with the Astros earlier this season, is hitting .381 (8-for-21) for the Sugar Land Skeeters (Triple-A), with 3 doubles and 5 walks.

Team Israel merchandise

  • Israel will compete for a baseball medal in the 2021 Summer Olympics. You can join in with branded sneakers ($360), pins ($18), and many other items.

Transactions

  • CF Kevin Pillar (Mets) was placed on the injured list on May 18.

Injured list

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MLB Monday (May 10-16, 2021)

Here are your MLB highlights for the week of May 10-16, 2021:

Rest in peace

  • Richie Scheinblum passed away at age 78 on May 10. A right fielder, he spent 8 years in the Major Leagues with six different franchises. Richie earned a spot on All-Star team in 1972, a year he hit .300 with 8 home runs, 66 RBIs, and a .383 on-base percentage. A year prior, the Bronx native was named MVP of the American Association (Triple-A), hitting an astounding .388 with 25 HRs, 108 RBIs, 10 triples, 31 doubles, and a .490 OBP. Our best to Richie’s loved ones.

Weekly overview

  • Jewish batters hit a combined .295 (23-for-78) last week, with 2 triples, 3 doubles, 7 RBIs, and a .360 OBP. The performance raised their collective season batting average to .260, well above the Major League average of .234.
  • Jewish pitchers went a combined 0-0 with a 2.06 ERA over 13 innings last week, fanning 10 batters while walking just 3. The strong week lowered their collective ERA from 6.55 to 5.68, versus the Major League average of 3.99.

Stats to share

  • Based solely on his .188 batting average, 1B Rowdy Tellez (Blue Jays) would appear to be struggling at the plate this season. But it’s not for lack of muscle. Through May 16, Tellez’s exit velocity on batted balls ranked #7 in the Major Leagues, behind noted power hitters such as Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge, and Pete Alonso. Perhaps Tellez’s luck will change soon, and more of those hard-hit shots will find a gap or clear a fence.
  • Gabe Kapler’s third season as manager of the Giants is off to a good start. San Francisco’s 24-16 record is the 2nd-best in the Majors.
  • As P Richard Bleier (Marlins) regains his winning form, we recall his early years in the big leagues. Bleier recorded a 1.88 ERA over his first 100 games, the 16th-best performance in Major League history.

At the plate

  • OF Joc Pederson (Cubs) hit .391 (9-for-23) with a double, triple, RBI, and a .391 on-base percentage.
  • 3B Alex Bregman (Astros) hit .304 (7-for-23) with 2 doubles, 4 RBIs, and a .448 OBP, thanks to 6 walks.
  • OF Kevin Pillar (Mets) hit .278 (5-for-18) with a triple, 2 RBIs, and a .316 OBP. He also made a nice catch at the outfield wall, narrowly avoiding a nasty collision with teammate Dom Smith.
  • 1B Rowdy Tellez (Blue Jays) hit .143 (2-for-14) with a .200 OBP.

On the mound

  • Max Fried (Braves) was dominant in a May 12 start, pitching 6 innings of one-run ball on 2 hits, 3 walks, and 4 strikeouts. Unfortunately, Atlanta’s batters provided little support in a 4-1 loss to the Blue Jays.
  • Dean Kremer (Orioles) pitched well against the Yankees on May 14, yielding 2 earned runs over 5 innings on 5 hits, zero walks, and 4 strikeouts. Two solo home runs by Aaron Judge accounted for the damage.
  • Richard Bleier (Marlins) was perfect over a combined 2.1 innings, striking out 2, tossing just 21 pitches to 7 batters, and earning 2 holds. In his last 6 appearances, Bleier has held opposing batters to a .136 OBP over 6.1 innings, yielding 3 hits and zero walks while striking out 9.

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MLB Monday (May 3-9, 2021)

Here are your MLB highlights for the week of May 3-9, 2021:

Stats to share

  • Last week was by far the strongest of the season for Jewish players:
    • Jewish hitters stroked a combined .346 (28-for-81) with 3 HRs, 5 doubles, 12 RBIs, and a .379 on-base percentage. The performance brought their collective season batting average to .249, well above the Major League average of .234.
    • Jewish pitchers went a combined 1-1 with a 2.84 ERA, fanning 18 batters while walking just 4. The encouraging week shrank their somewhat bloated collective ERA to 6.55, versus the Major League average of 4.02.

At the plate

  • Back from the injured list, OF Joc Pederson (Cubs) hit .412 (7-for-21) with 4 RBIs and a .476 OBP, and that included a game-tying RBI in his first game back. Pederson also wowed fans by avoiding an almost certain out in a rundown. His performance may calm those Chicago fans who assailed Pederson’s lack of productivity at the plate and prematurely called for his ouster.
  • 3B Alex Bregman (Astros) hit .400 (10-for-25) with a home run, 3 doubles, 3 RBIs, and a .423 OBP. He also made a diving stop that led to a game-ending double play on May 6.
  • OF Kevin Pillar (Mets) hit .286 (8-for-29) with 2 doubles, a home run, 4 RBIs, and a .310 OBP. He also had one stolen base in 2 attempts and made a signature diving catch.
  • Back from a brief demotion to the minors, 1B Rowdy Tellez (Blue Jays) hit .273 (3-for-11) with a monster home run, one RBI, and a .273 OBP.

On the mound

  • Back from the injured list, Max Fried (Braves) had his finest outing of the season, yielding one earned run over 5 innings on 4 hits, a walk, and 6 strikeouts to earn the win. The career .182 hitter — quite good for a pitcher — also had a pinch-hit sacrifice bunt on May 8.
  • In 3 appearances that lasted one inning each, Richard Bleier (Marlins) went 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA, yielding 2 hits and no walks while striking out 5. The highlight came on May 4, when Bleier entered the game in the 8th inning with the bases loaded with no outs. He proceeded to strike out the side on 13 pitches and earned his second win of the season.
  • Dean Kremer (Orioles) went 0-1 in two strong starts, yielding a combined 4 earned runs over 11 innings on 7 hits, 3 walks, and 7 strikeouts (see video). Two of the four earned runs he was charged with were allowed by a replacement pitcher who had inherited Kremer’s baserunners.

Transactions

  • 1B Rowdy Tellez (Blue Jays) was recalled from Triple-A on May 7.
  • P Max Fried (Braves) came off the injured list on May 5.
  • OF Joc Pederson (Cubs) came off the injured list on May 3.

Other updates

  • P Ryan Sherriff (Rays), who was on Tampa Bay’s opening-day roster this season, held opposing teams scoreless across 3 relief appearances for the Durham Bulls (Triple-A) last week. Sherriff yielded one hit and 3 walks while striking out 4.
  • C Garrett Stubbs (Rays), who had a brief call up with the Astros earlier this season, hit .167 (1-for-6) for the Sugar Land Skeeters (Triple-A) last week, stroking a double and recording a .444 OBP, thanks to 3 walks.

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MLB Monday (April 26-May 2, 2021)

Here are your MLB highlights for the week of April 26-May 2, 2021:

Stats to share

  • For the first time in his 5-year MLB career, P Max Fried (Braves) — who finished 5th in the National League’s Cy Young Award vote in 2019 and didn’t play in 2020 — is enjoying a sizeable salary jump. After earning $583,500 in 2020, the 26-year-old is making $3.5-million this season.

At the plate

  • OF Kevin Pillar (Mets) hit .444 (4-for-9) with his first home run as a Met and an RBI last week. Pillar started two of his four games and was a late-inning replacement in the others.
  • 3B Alex Bregman (Astros) hit .222 (6-for-27) with a home run, double, two RBIs, and a .276 on-base percentage.
  • 1B Rowdy Tellez (Blue Jays) went 0-for-3 with a walk in his one game last week before being optioned to the team’s alternate training site. Tellez has struggled at the plate so far this season, hitting .196 (10-for-51) with a home run, 3 triples, 5 RBIs, and a .236 OBP.
  • OF Joc Pederson (Cubs) started the week on the injured list with tendinitis in his left wrist but currently is facing live pitching at Chicago’s alternate training site.

On the mound

  • After pitching in 11 of Miami’s first 21 games this season, reliever Richard Bleier (Marlins) pitched only once last week, a scoreless one-inning outing on April 27 in which he gave up a hit and struck out two batters.
  • Max Fried (Braves) remained on the injured list with a strained right hamstring, but he’s expected to rejoin Atlanta’s rotation this week. Fried has not pitched since April 13.
  • Ryan Sheriff (Rays) is on a rehab assignment with the Durham Bulls (AAA). He joins fellow Jewish hurler Kenny Rosenberg on the roster.

Transactions

  • P Ryan Sherriff (Rays) was sent to a rehab assignment with the Durham Bulls (AAA) on 4/30/2021.
  • 1B Rowdy Tellez (Blue Jays) was optioned to the team’s alternate training site on 4/28/2021.

Injured list

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MLB Monday (April 19-25, 2021)

Here are your MLB highlights for the week of April 19-25, 2021:

Mazel tov

  • P Ryan Sherriff (Rays), who took leave of baseball after his first appearance this season, is back at Tampa Bay’s alternate training site and working on his pitching as well as his mental health. Click here to see an extended interview with Sherriff in Sports Illustrated.

Stats to share

  • Despite amassing a hefty 5.40 ERA so far this season, P Richard Bleier (Marlins) has yet to give up a walk over 10 total innings. Meanwhile, the 6-season veteran has struck out 6.

At the plate

  • 3B Alex Bregman (Astros) returned from the injured list with a vengeance, hitting .364 (8-for-22) with a home run, 6 RBIs, and a .440 on-base percentage.
  • 1B Rowdy Tellez (Blue Jays) hit .231 (3-for-13) with 2 doubles and an RBI.
  • OF Joc Pederson (Cubs) went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts on April 20. He subsequently was placed on the 10-day injured list due to left-wrist tendinitis.
  • OF Kevin Pillar (Mets) went hitless in 8 at-bats, including striking out 4 times.
  • C Garrett Stubbs (Astros) did not play before being optioned to Houston’s alternate training site.

On the mound

  • Richard Bleier (Marlins) went 0-0 with a 3.00 over 3 appearances, yielding an earned run on 3 hits over 3 combined innings and striking out 2. Bleier’s 11 appearances this season are tied for most among Miami relievers.
  • Max Fried (Braves) remained on the injured list with a strained right hamstring.

Transactions

  • LF Joc Pederson (Cubs) was placed on the 10-day injured list retroactive to April 21 with left-wrist tendinitis.
  • 3B Alex Bregman (Astros) was activated from the injured list on April 20.
  • C Garrett Stubbs (Astros) was optioned to Houston’s alternate training site on April 20.

Injured list

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MLB Monday (April 12-18, 2021)

Here are your MLB highlights for the week of April 12-18, 2021:

Mazel tov

  • The Astros called-up C Garrett Stubbs from the team’s alternate training site on April 14 and deployed him as a pinch runner the same day. His younger brother, CJ Stubbs, was drafted by Houston in 2019.

At the plate

  • 1B Rowdy Tellez (Blue Jays) came out of his early-season slump, hitting .348 (8-for-23) with a home run and two RBIs.
  • OF Joc Pederson (Cubs) hit .167 (3-for-18) with his first triple in nearly 2 years and no RBIs, but 5 walks and 2 hit-by-pitches left him with an on-base percentage of .400. He also made a fine diving catch.
  • 3B Alex Bregman (Astros) hit .167 (1-for-6) with a .286 OBP before before being placed on the injured list due to “COVID protocols.” It’s not clear whether Bregman was exposed to someone with the virus or tested positive.
  • OF Kevin Pillar (Mets) hit .143 (1-for-7) with a .250 OBP.

On the mound

  • Dean Kremer (Orioles) bounced back on April 17 after beginning the season with two rough outings. The second-year player tossed 4.2 innings of one-run ball, yielding 5 hits and a walk while striking out 6 (see video). To the anger of Baltimore fans, Kremer was reassigned to the team’s alternate training site on April 18 (see article).
  • Richard Bleier (Marlins) made three appearances, going 0-0 with a 13.50 ERA and two blown saves over 2 combined innings.
  • Max Fried (Braves) lasted just 5 innings on April 13 to earn a loss, yielding 7 earned runs on 9 hits, 2 walks, and 2 hit-by-pitches while striking out 3.

Transactions

  • P Dean Kremer (Orioles) was reassigned to the team’s alternate training site on April 18.
  • C Garrett Stubbs (Astros) was called-up by Houston on April 14.
  • 3B Alex Bregman (Astros) was sent to the injured list on April 14 for COVID protocols.

Injured list

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By Scott Barancik, editor

Team Israel has several household names on its expanded Olympic roster, including former Major League stars Danny Valencia and Ian Kinsler.

Minor legal issues. however, have prevented the organization from printing any names on its branded clothing.

That is, until now.

In a move backers hope will goose sales — and help reach a $1-million fundraising goal for the Tokyo Olympics in July — Team Israel today is unveiling a line of hoodies and tee shirts emblazoned with players’ names.

The debut is well-timed. Today marks not only Israel’s Independence Day but the 100th day before the Olympics commence on July 23.

An Ian Kinsler hoodie, available in white or blue and made by Nike, is available for $75

Team Israel beat long odds to earn one of only six spots in the Olympics’ baseball competition. Earlier this week, the Israel Association of Baseball disclosed its expanded Olympic roster. According to the Jerusalem Post, the list of 44 players includes “all 24 players from the team that clinched Israel’s Olympic berth,” nine who have played in the Major Leagues, six native Israelis who helped Israel win the Under-18 qualifiers in the 2019 European Championship, four men “currently serving in the Israel Defense Forces under the distinguished athlete designation,” and “three more who will be drafted in the same class in the coming year.”

The final roster of 24 players — yet to be decided — will be the first Israelis in 45 years to compete in an Olympic team sport.

Last month, Team Israel and the Jewish National Fund launched a “25th Player” campaign to help raise funds for the trip to the quadrennial games.

A Nike tee-shirt emblazoned with Danny Valencia’s name is available for $35

The drive — pegged to the idea that each of us can be the metaphorical 25th player on Israel’s 24-man roster — has shown early success. In the three weeks since, tax-deductible donations have grown from $110,000 to $284,000.

Each player on Team Israel is has his own campaign, so if you want to donate in Ty Kelly’s or Josh Zeid’s, you can.

In addition, premiums are available for contributions of as little as $25 (Official 25th Player Membership Button) or as much as $25,000 (a Team Israel uniform signed by the player who wears it at the Olympic games).

It’s not just individuals who are chipping in. Businesses, including Jewish Baseball news, are making donations, too.

Team Israel also is selling a growing array of themed merchandise, such as Matzo Baller tee-shirts, Israel Baseball kippahs, and the player-branded hoodies and tee-shirts released today.

In May and July, Team Israel will conduct an old-fashioned barnstorming tour, playing a series of games at minor-league and independent-league parks in the northeastern United States.

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MLB Monday (April 5-11, 2021)

Here are your MLB highlights for the week of April 5-11, 2021:

  • OF Joc Pederson (Cubs) hit .211 (4-for-19) with a home run, 2 RBIs, and a .250 on-base percentage last week. After going hitless in his first 5 games of the season, Pederson strung together a 4-game hitting streak.
  • 3B Alex Bregman (Astros) hit .176 (3-for-17) with one RBI. This was a steep drop-off from the first week of the season, when he hit .500 with 2 HRs, a double, and 2 walks.
  • OF Kevin Pillar (Mets) hit .143 (1-for-7) with a walk, a stolen base, and a .250 OBP.
  • 1B Rowdy Tellez (Blue Jays) continued his struggles at the plate, going 0-for-13 with one walk, a hit-by-pitch, and 5 strikeouts. His 0-for-21 start is the worst in all of baseball.

On the mound

  • Richard Bleier (Marlins) made three appearances last week, going 0-0 with a 3.00 ERA, 2 holds, 2 hits, no walks and 2 strikeouts. Bleier was highly efficient in his final two games: in each one, he retired the side on just 7 pitches. According to CBS Sports, Bleier soon may get the opportunity to work as a closer.
  • Max Fried (Braves) lasted just two innings in an April 7 start against the Nationals, yielding 5 earned runs on 8 hits and a walk.
  • Dean Kremer (Orioles) earned a loss in his first start of the season, yielding 3 earned runs on 5 hits and a walk over 3 innings. He also struck out 5 but left the game with a 9.00 ERA.

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MLB Monday (March 29-April 4, 2021)

Here are your MLB highlights for opening week of the 2021 season:

Who’s on first?

At the plate

  • 3B Alex Bregman (Astros) hit .500 (6-for-12) with 2 HRs, a double, 5 RBIs, a .571 on-base percentage, and a 1.655 OPS (on-base plus slugging). That included a home run and a double on Opening Day.
  • OF Joc Pederson (Cubs), who last played for the Dodgers, hit .000 (0-for-10) with 2 RBIs, a walk, and 5 strikeouts.
  • 1B Rowdy Tellez (Blue Jays) went hitless (0-for-8) and struck out three times over two games.
  • OF Kevin Pillar (Mets), who last played for the Rockies, did not play.

On the mound

  • Max Fried (Braves) became the 10th Jewish player in MLB history to start a season opener. In a 3-2 loss to the Phillies, he yielded 2 earned runs on 6 hits and 2 walks over 5 innings while striking out 8 and hitting one batter. Fried was not tagged with the loss.
  • Richard Bleier (Marlins) went 0-0 with a 4.50 ERA across 2 innings, yielding one earned run on a home run and striking out 2.
  • Ryan Sherriff (Rays) yielded one earned run on 2 hits over 0.1 innings in an April 2 win and was tagged with a blown save. A day later, Tampa Bay placed Sherriff on the restricted list after he told the team he needed some time away from the game. Manager Kevin Cash declined to provided further details out of respect for the 30-year-old southpaw’s privacy. Jewish Baseball News wishes Ryan well and eagerly awaits his return.
  • Dean Kremer (Orioles) is scheduled to make his 2021 debut on April 6 against the Yankees.

Miscellanea

  • Last we heard, 14-year veteran Ryan Braun was learning toward retirement. And P Rob Kaminsky, who made his MLB debut with the Cardinals in 2020 and produced a 1.93 ERA in 5 games, remains an unsigned free agent.

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By Scott Barancik, editor

Team Israel beat long odds to earn a spot in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. Qualifying tournaments were conquered. More than a dozen Jewish American ballplayers obtained Israeli citizenship in order to participate.

The payoff will be national pride — and, hopefully, an awakening to the beauty of baseball. The team’s 24 players will be the first Israelis in 45 years to compete in an Olympic team sport.

Financing the bid will be a challenge, however. Team officials estimate they will need at least $1-million to make it all happen.

To get there, Team Israel and the Jewish National Fund today are launching what they’re calling the “25th Player” campaign.

The drive — pegged to the idea that each of us can be the metaphorical 25th player on Israel’s 24-man roster — has several components.

Each player on Team Israel is fielding donations. Want to donate to the Olympic bid via Team Kinsler (for Ian Kinsler), or Team Valencia (for Danny Valencia)? The option is there. Premiums are available for donations of as little as $25 (Official 25th Player Membership Button) or as much as $25,000 (a Team Israel uniform signed by the player who wears it at the Olympic games).

As of March 23, nearly $110,000 had been raised, including a $5,000 contribution from Jewish Baseball News.

This tee will set you back a mere $18

Team Israel also is selling a growing array of themed merchandise, such as Matzo Baller t-shirts and Israel Baseball kippahs.

Raising visibility is another campaign goal.

In May and July, Team Israel will conduct an old-fashioned barnstorming tour, playing a series of games at minor-league and independent-league parks in the northeastern United States.

Six episodes have been aired so far

Israel Baseball also is producing a podcast that features interviews with players and coaches from the Olympic squad.

Businesses and individuals interested in helping Team Israel achive its $1-million budget can click here.

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