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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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MLB Week (August 2-8, 2021)

Rowdy Tellez (Brewers) celebrates his 10th-inning, walk-off single on August 6

Mazel tov

  • August 4 was a great day for Jewish pinch-hitters. Rowdy Tellez (Brewers) hit a 3-run home run in the 7th inning of an afternoon game to erase a 2-1 deficit and seal a 4-2 win over the Pirates. Later that night, Joc Pederson hit a 2-run double to pad Atlanta’s lead in a 7-4 win over the Cardinals.
  • Ryan Sherriff (Rays) pitched a perfect 9th inning on August 4 to earn the second save of his career. Sherriff retired the side on just 8 pitches and preserved a 4-3 win for the 1st-place Rays.

Stats to share

  • P Max Fried (Braves) is hitting .324 (12-for-37) this season — including a remarkable 3-for-5 as a pinch-hitter — and is leagues ahead of the #2 pitcher, Luis Castillo (Reds), who is hitting .206. Fried’s .780 OPS (on-base plus slugging) also dwarfs the competition.
  • P Ryan Sherriff (Rays) has pitched just 10.1 innings this season — admittedly, not a huge sample size — but the difference in his performance at home versus away is pronounced. In 4 away innings, opposing batters have hit .429 against Sherriff. At home in St. Petersburg, the southpaw has tossed 6.1 scoreless innings and held opposing hitters to a paltry .095 average.

Weekly overview

  • Jewish batters hit a combined .278 (15-for-54) last week, with 2 HRs, 3 doubles, 9 RBIs, and a .361 OBP (on-base percentage). The performance lifted their collective batting average from .242 to .244, versus the Major League average of .241.
  • Jewish pitchers had a strong week, going a combined 2-0 with a save, a hold, and a 1.06 ERA. The trio yielded 16 hits and 3 walks over 17 innings while striking out 17. The performance chopped their collective ERA from 5.11 to 4.79, versus the Major League average of 4.12.

At the plate

  • 1B Rowdy Tellez (Brewers) hit .300 (6-for-20) last week, with a home run, double, 5 RBIs, 2 intentional walks, and a .891 OPS. Tellez’s feats included a 10th-inning, walk-off single on August 6 that wowed the home-team crowd.
  • LF Joc Pederson (Braves) hit .278 (5-for-18) with a game-tying home run, double, 4 RBIs, and an .881 OPS.
  • P Max Fried (Braves) hit .500 (3-for-6), including a pinch-hit double. He had a hit in all 3 games he played.
  • CF Kevin Pillar (Mets) hit .100 (1-for-10) with a hit-by-pitch and a .282 OPS.

On the mound

  • Max Fried (Braves) won twice last week, yielding just one earned run over 12 combined innings on 11 hits, 2 walks, and 12 strikeouts.
  • Ryan Sherriff (Rays) recorded a 3.00 ERA and earned a save over 3 appearances, yielding 2 hits and zero walks over 3 combined innings while striking out 4 and holding opposing batters to a .154 batting average.
  • Richard Bleier (Marlins) tossed 2 scoreless innings and earned a hold over 3 appearances, yielding 3 hits and a walk while striking out one.

Players to watch

  • An undrafted free agent signed out of college by the New York Mets in 2016, C Scott Manea (Astros/Double-A/Corpus Christi Hooks) is enjoying a breakout season. After going a combined 7-for-9 on August 6 and 7, the Massachusetts native is hitting .285 with 8 HRs, 34 RBIs, an impressive .390 OBP, and a .851 OPS. Behind the plate, Manea has a .992 fielding percentage and has thrown out 29% of attempted base-stealers.
  • P Scott Effross (Cubs/Triple-A/Iowa Cubs) tossed 4 scoreless innings over 3 appearances last week and earned his first save since 2018, yielding a combined 2 hits and one walk while striking out 3. In 34.2 innings at the Triple-A level this season, Effross has struck out 39 batters and yielded a mere 0.95 walks/hits per inning.
  • SS Shawn Goosenberg (White Sox/Rookie/ACL White Sox), who was chosen in the next-to-last round of the 2021 amateur draft, homered and drew a walk in his pro debut August 5.

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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MLB Monday (July 26-August 1, 2021)

Mazel tov

  • Team Israel’s dream of an Olympic baseball medal ended August 3 with a 7-6 loss to the Dominican Republic. Israel finished the miscue-laden tourney with a 1-4 record, including a 12-5 win over Mexico and a pair of one-run losses. But reaching the Olympics was an accomplishment that cannot be diminished. “I don’t think it’s so much about beating Mexico,” C Nick Rickles said after Israel’s lone victory. “I think it’s a lot to just raise awareness for baseball in Israel. For me, I was just taking in the moment and seeing after the game the amount of love that we received from people back in Israel. We had messages on top of messages from people just saying thank you.”
Blake Gailen celebrates a double in Israel’s Olympic win over Mexico

Stats to share

  • 1B Rowdy Tellez (Brewers) has upped his game since leaving the Blue Jays, the franchise that selected him in the 30th round of the 2013 draft. In 139 at-bats with Toronto this season, Tellez hit .209 with 4 HRs, 8 RBIs, and a .610 OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging). Just 46 at-bats into his tenure with the Brewers, however, Tellez is hitting .326 with 4 HRs, 12 RBIs, and a 1.038 OPS.
  • Jewish players on opposing teams faced off against one another several times last week. On July 28, for example, Braves starter retired Mets LF Kevin Pillar three times, including once on a swinging strike. Pillar returned the favor, catching two fly balls lofted by Braves RF Joc Pederson.

Weekly overview

  • Jewish batters hit a combined .270 (17-for-63) last week, with 2 HRs, 6 RBIs, and a .375 OBP (on-base percentage). The performance lifted their collective batting average from .241 to .242, versus the Major League average of .241.
  • Jewish pitchers went a combined 0-1 with a hold, 2 blown saves, and a 3.91 ERA last week, yielding 10 hits, 4 walks, and a hit batter over 12.2 combined innings while striking out 13. The performance lowered their collective ERA from 5.18 to 5.11, versus the Major League average of 4.15.

At the plate

  • LF Joc Pederson (Braves) hit .348 (8-for-23) last week, with 3 doubles, an RBI, 2 hit-by-pitches, and a .923 OPS (on-base plus slugging).
  • 1B Rowdy Tellez (Brewers) hit .318 (7-for-22) with 2 HRs, a double, 5 RBIs, and a 1.011 OPS.
  • CF Kevin Pillar (Mets) hit .133 (2-for-15) with a .267 OPS.
  • P Max Fried (Braves) went 0-for-3 on July 28.
  • 3B Alex Bregman (Astros), on the injured list since June 17, began a rehab assignment with the Sugar Land Skeeters (Triple-A) on July 26. He went hitless in 12 at-bats last week.

On the mound

  • Max Fried (Braves) pitched well enough to win in a July 28 start, yielding just 2 earned runs on 5 hits, 2 walks, and a hit batter over 7 innings while striking out 9. But Atlanta scored just one run, dropping Fried’s season record to 7-7.
  • Ryan Sherriff (Rays) tossed 2.2 scoreless innings and earned a hold over 3 appearances last week, yielding a hit and 2 walks while striking out 2.
  • Richard Bleier (Marlins) went 0-0 with a 16.20 ERA and 2 blown saves, yielding 3 earned runs over 1.2 combined innings and allowing 6 of 11 batters to safely reach base.

Players to watch

  • P Noah Davis (Rockies/High-A/Spokane Indians) may have made the Reds regret trading him to Colorado. On July 31, in his first start with the Spokane Indians, the 6-foot-2-inch righty tossed a 6.1-inning shutout, yielding just 3 hits and 2 walks while striking out 5.

Transactions

  • 3B Alex Bregman (Astros) began a Triple-A rehab assignment on July 26.

Injured list

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

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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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