JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — When the Peoria Javelinas of the Arizona Fall League open their 2010 season Oct. 12, the team’s roster will feature 3 Jewish minor leaguers:

  • C Ryan Lavarnway. The 23-year-old Yale University recruit hit a combined .288 and 22 HRS this year with two minor-league teams, and he led all Boston Red Sox farm hands with 102 RBIs. Baseball America recently placed Lavarnway on its list of Top 20 prospects from the Carolina League.
  • 2B Jason Kipnis. Like Lavarnway, Kipnis has been named a Top 20 prospect from the Carolina League. A member of the Cleveland Indians franchise, the 23-year-old Arizona State alum split the 2010 season between “A-advanced” and “AA” teams and had a combined batting average of .307, along with 8 triples, 16 HRs, 74 RBIs, and an OPS (on-base plus slugging) of .878. When the “AAA” Columbus Clippers called him up for the playoffs , Kipnis went 10/22, including hitting for the cycle in one game and falling a single short of a cycle in the next.
  • SP Eric Berger. The 24-year-old Cleveland Indians prospect played briefly in “AAA” ball this year before joining Kipnis on the “AA” Akron Aeros. Berger went a combined 5-6 with a 4.90 ERA.

At least one other Jew is playing in the AFL this season. P Josh Zeid, who went 8-4 with 8 saves and a 2.93 ERA this year for the “A” Lakewood BlueClaws (Philadelphia Phillies), will play for the Mesa Solar Sox. The 23-year-old Tulane University recruit struck out 111 batters in 107-and-1/3 innings while walking just 27.

Getting picked to play in the Arizona Fall League is no small honor.

According to, Major League Baseball created the AFL so it could keep a closer eye on its “best” ballplayers, who might otherwise leave the country to play winter ball. All games are played in Spring Training stadiums, and each MLB team gets to send six top prospects to play, mostly from “AA” or “AAA”. The 2006 All-Star Game featured 25 AFL alums, says