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Browsing Posts tagged Alex Bregman

By Scott Barancik, Editor

Joc Pederson hit a solo home run last night to help the Los Angeles Dodgers earn a 3-1 win over the Houston Astros in Game 6 of the 2017 World Series and force a decisive seventh game. His post-homer celebration was jubilant:

The homer, his third of the Series, set a record for Jewish ballplayers. Two other players — Astros 3B Alex Bregman in the current Series, and Detroit Tigers 1B Hank Greenberg in 1945 — have hit two round-trippers in a single Series. What’s even more impressive about Pederson is that he’s hit three HRs in just 16 plate appearances. Bregman will have a chance to tie Pederson’s record when they face off tonight in Game 7.

Pederson’s performance this Series isn’t just notable within the narrow universe of Jewish major leaguers, of which there have been roughly just 170. The 25-year-old’s three homers are tied for the most in Dodger history since the team moved to Los Angeles, according to MLB.com:

pederson dodgers postseason hrs

With the possible exception of Houston’s George Springer, Pederson is leading all 2017 World Series players in offense. With 3 HRs and 2 doubles in just 16 plate appearances, he is No. 1 overall in slugging percentage (1.143) and OPS (1.580), also known as On Base Plus Slugging.

The Palo Alto native’s output is particularly surprising given that he ended the regular season with 31 straight homerless games, a period during which he hit just .123 and spent time in the minors. It wasn’t even clear he would make the Dodgers’s postseason roster.

Pederson explained his clutch performance after the game:

A recent article in the Jewish Journal delved into the ancestry of Pederson’s mother, Shelly Pederson. Born Shelly Cahn, she descends from Jewish ancestors in France, Russia, Germany, Poland and the Netherlands.

Tied 3-3, the 2017 World Series concludes tonight with Game 7 in Los Angeles.

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By Scott Barancik, editor

With Team Israel’s surprising run at the World Baseball Championship behind us, Jewish Baseball News turns to that beloved annual rite: Spring Training.

A total of 19 Jewish players were invited to MLB Spring Training camps this year, either as part of their teams’ active roster, 40-man roster, or non-roster invitee list. Here is how they’re doing through games played March 17.

Danny Valencia (Mariners)

  • In the first Spring Training with his new team, 32-year-old Valencia is hitting .184 with 1 HR, 3 RBIs, and 5 walks in 38 at-bats. Although he’s a career .321 hitter against righties (and .246 vs. lefties), he has struggled equally against both so far.
  • Seattle has Valencia playing first base almost exclusively. Last season with Oakland, Valencia had no errors at first base, one in the outfield, and 13 at third base.

Richard Bleier (Orioles)

  • Traded to Baltimore by the Yankees last month, Bleier has performed well this Spring, delivering a 1.50 ERA across four outings and six innings overall, and yielding six hits and one walk while fanning four.
  • Bleier is among several pitchers still fighting for a spot in the Orioles’ bullpen.

Max Fried (Braves/minors)

  • A 1st-round draft pick of the San Diego Padres in 2012, Fried — who missed the entire 2015 season due to Tommy John surgery — was impressive in his first MLB Spring Training, yielding a hit and three walks in three outings (and four innings overall) while striking out five.
  • Atlanta not only has promoted Fried to Double-A but added him to the Braves’ 40-man roster, meaning he will be eligible for call-up during the regular season.

Ryan Braun (Brewers)

  • Braun has seen limited action in Spring Training, going 3-for-11 with a HR, double, three RBIs and a walk while striking out three times. Nevertheless, the 33-year-old has remained something of a lightning rod for criticism, most recently for his complaints that Spring Training lasts too long.

Kevin Pillar (Blue Jays)

  • Pillar has been hot this Spring, hitting .355 with six extra-base hits, one RBI, and a .444 on-base percentage. He’s also been batting leadoff, a privilege largely denied him in past seasons due to a dearth of walks.
  • In prior Springs, Pillar’s average has ranged from .111 to .264.

Rowdy Tellez (Blue Jays/minors)

  • A non-roster invitee with a reputation for power — he hit .297 with 23 HRs last season at Double-A — Tellez has hit .259 this Spring with no home runs, two doubles, two RBIs, four walks, and 10 strikeouts.
  • No word yet on which minor-league team Tellez will be sent to after Spring Training ends.

Brad Goldberg (White Sox/minors)

  • In addition to playing for Team Israel in the 2017 World Baseball Championship, Goldberg pitched well for Chicago during Spring Training. In four appearances and 4.2 innings overall, he delivered a 0.00 ERA and earned a save while yielding two walks a hit and striking out one.
  • Earlier this week, the White Sox sent Goldberg back to Triple-A but placed him on the Major League club’s 40-man roster. He’s likely to make his MLB debut this season.

Ian Kinsler (Tigers)

  • Normally a strong Spring Training performer — through games played March 17, his career average was .328 with 30 HRs and 117 RBIs — Kinsler has hit .263 this year, with one HR and one RBI in 19 at-bats.
  • Kinsler also has played for Team USA in the WBC, hitting .294 in 17 at-bats.

Craig Breslow (Twins/minors)

  • Breslow, who has adjusted his pitching form in a data-driven bid to revive his stalled career, earned a minor-league contract with the Twins and an invitation to Spring Training. So far, so good: in five appearances and 4.1 innings overall, Breslow has yielded no earned runs and just one hit while striking out four. On the down side, he’s walked five.
  • Breslow is likely to begin the 2017 regular season in Triple-A.

Alex Bregman (Astros)

  • In addition to playing for Team USA in the WBC, Bregman has hit .304 in Spring Training, stroking two doubles and a walk while striking out once in 23 at-bats.

Garrett Stubbs (Astros/minors)

  • A non-roster invitee who hit a combined .304 in High-A and Double-A last season, Stubbs didn’t get a chance to play with Houston this Spring due to a problem with his throwing arm. He was later assigned to minor-league camp, but manager A.J Hinch said the Astros were “excited” about Stubbs, whom he called “really good behind the plate.”

Michael Barash (Angels/minors)

  • Barash, a 2016 draft pick, was perhaps the most unlikely non-roster invitee this Spring, having topped out at Single-A his rookie season (and hitting .240 there after batting .314 in rookie-league ball). The 22-year-old catcher went a perfect 2-for-2 with the Angels, singling and doubling in two pinch-hit at-bats.

Ryan Lavarnway (Athletics/minors)

  • Despite a non-roster invite, former major leaguer Lavarnway has seen limited play during Spring Training, having instead spent his time starring for Team Israel in the WBC. The 6’4″ catcher went 2-for-3 with a double for the Athletics before joining Team Israel.

Scott Feldman (Reds)

  • Signed to a one-year deal during the offseason, the 34-year-old Feldman is 0-1 this Spring with a 4.50 ERA. In eight innings spread across the starts, he’s yielded seven hits (including 3 HRs) and two walks while striking out seven.
  • Feldman has secured a spot as a starter in Cincinnati’s rotation and might start the team’s Opening Day game.

Jared Lakind (Pittsburgh/minors)

  • A non-roster invitee, Lakind has recorded one save this Spring and held opponents scoreless over three relief appearances. He has yielded two walks and two hits over three total innings while striking out two.
  • Lakind also played for Team Israel in the WBC.

Corey Baker (Cardinals/minors)

  • A non-roster invitee, Baker made his MLB Spring Training debut before playing for Team Israel in the WBC. In a 2.2-inning relief stint, he gave up 2 hits and a hit batsman but struck out one and yielded no runs.

Ryan Sherriff (Cardinals/minors)

  • A non-roster invitee, Sherriff has made the most of his first MLB Spring Training, going 0-1 with a 1.35 in six appearances and 6.2 innings overall. The 28th-round 2011 draft pick yielded six hits and one walk while hitting one batter and striking out an impressive eight.

Joc Pederson (Dodgers)

  • In a familiar pattern, Joc Pederson is hitting .242 this Spring with both a lot of home runs (4) and a lot of strikeouts (10). But that’s not giving him credit for advances he made in 2016, his second full season in the Majors. Pederson raised his batting average 36 points last year (to .246) while reducing his strikeouts, hitting more doubles, and slightly improving his home-run frequency.

Ike Davis (Dodgers/minors)

  • Davis, a former major leaguer who signed a minor-league contract with Los Angeles during the offseason, went 2-for-2 as a non-roster invitee before joining Team Israel in the WBC. He has been assigned to the Dodgers’ Triple-A team.

Ty Kelly (Mets/minors)

  • Kelly, who played for Team Israel in the WBC but does not identify exclusively as Jewish, is 2-for-8 this Spring with two RBIs and a .500 on-base percentage. He made his MLB debut in 2016.

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By Scott Barancik, editor

The roster of players set to represent Israel in the World Baseball Classic in South Korea this March is taking shape.

Team Israel general manager Peter Kurz, whose squad of former Major League and current minor-league athletes guided Israel to a qualifying-round win in September, said Tuesday that 15 ballplayers had already committed to play in the main tournament in Seoul. The list includes:

  1. Ty Kelly, IF (New York Mets)
  2. Sam Fuld, OF (free agent)
  3. Jason Marquis, P (free agent)
  4. Ike Davis, 1B (free agent)
  5. Ryan Lavarnway, C (Oakland Athletics/minors)
  6. Cody Decker, IF (Milwaukee Brewers/minors)
  7. Josh Zeid, P (free agent)
  8. Nate Freiman, 1B (free agent)
  9. Tyler Krieger, IF (Cleveland Indians/minors)
  10. Nick Rickles, C (Washington Nationals/minors)
  11. Dean Kremer, P (Los Angeles Dodgers/minors)
  12. Corey Baker, P (St. Louis Cardinals/minors)
  13. Jeremy Bleich, P (free agent)
  14. Jake Kalish, P (Kansas City Royals/minors)
  15. Alex Katz, P (Chicago White Sox/minors)

Two key additions are Ty Kelly and Sam Fuld. During the qualifiers in September, Kelly was playing for the New York Mets, while Fuld, then with the Oakland Athletics, was on the disabled list. Also new are minor leaguers Tyler Krieger and Jake Kalish.

Roster spots have been offered to at least seven additional minor leaguers who played for Team Israel in September : Zach Borenstein (Arizona Diamondbacks), Brad Goldberg (Chicago White Sox), Blake Gailen (independent), Scotty Burcham (Colorado Rockies), Tyler Herron (New York Mets), R C Orlan (Washington Nationals), and Joey Wagman (Oakland Athletics). None has provided a final answer yet.

Kurz told Jewish Baseball News that Danny Valencia of the Seattle Mariners and Craig Breslow, who is seeking to return to the Major Leagues, are possible future additions to Israel’s roster. Team Israel also is pursuing Joc Pederson of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Jason Kipnis of the Cleveland Indians.

Several prominent pros politely declined Team Israel’s invitations due to injury, family commitments, Major League aspirations, or other concerns. They include Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers, Kevin Pillar and Scott Feldman of the Toronto Blue Jays, Richard Bleier of the New York Yankees, Jon Moscot of the Cincinnati Reds, and minor-league prospect and Ryan Sherriff of the St. Louis Cardinals. Sherriff played for Team Israel in the September qualifiers.

Alex Bregman of the Houston Astros and Ian Kinsler of the Detroit Tigers have committed to play for Team USA rather than Team Israel in the World Baseball Classic.

Under WBC rules, athletes can play on Team Israel as long as they are eligible for Israeli citizenship. That means having at least one Jewish grandparent or being married to someone Jewish. Nearly all the players on Israel’s roster personally identify as Jewish.

Earlier this month, eight players on the WBC roster visited Israel for a week to learn about the country, meet Israeli fans, and break ground on a new baseball stadium. MLB.com reporter Jonathan Mayo and Ironbound Films co-founder Jeremy Newberger plan to create a documentary about the trip, titled Heading Home.

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By Sam Brief, Correspondent

In September’s qualifying round for the 2017 World Baseball Classic (WBC), Colorado Rockies prospect Scotty Burcham tallied a .455 batting average, the best on Team Israel and among the top 15 for all teams.

If not for Facebook, Burcham might never have swung a bat in Brooklyn.

Since anyone who is Jewish or has a Jewish parent, grandparent or spouse can play for Team Israel, volunteers like Alex Jacobs, a Houston Astros scout, were asked to help find such players. Jacobs often employed creative methods.

Jewish baseball fans didn't know that Colorado Rockies prospect <a href=

Scotty Burcham was Jewish until a volunteer scout for Team Israel 'discovered' him" width="300" height="290" srcset="http://www.jewishbaseballnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/burcham-120x116.jpg 120w, http://www.jewishbaseballnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/burcham-300x290.jpg 300w, http://www.jewishbaseballnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/burcham.jpg 381w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" /> Jewish baseball fans didn’t know Colorado Rockies prospect Scotty Burcham was Jewish until a volunteer scout for Team Israel ‘discovered’ him

“It’s Facebook stalking,” said Jacobs, who recently was named Team Israel’s director of player personnel. “I researched Scotty Burcham, and I found his Facebook. When I research these kids, I look for their parents, and I see if their parents have any Jewish in them. His mother was from New York, I believe. So I checked one box. Then, I looked at a picture of her and thought she looked kind of Jewish.

“So I called [Team Israel manager] Jerry Weinstein and said, ‘How about Scotty Burcham?’ And he said ‘Scotty Burcham? What do you have on him?’ And I’m like, ‘He plays shortstop. He’s Jewish. His mom looks like she’s Jewish.’ So Jerry called Scotty’s manager, and the manager asked Scotty if he was Jewish, and Scotty said, ‘Yeah, I am. Why do you ask?’ And the rest is history. He played really well for us.”

Burcham filled a gaping roster hole in the middle infield and helped Team Israel win the WBC qualifiers for the first time. Israel took down Great Britain and Brazil and then crushed Great Britain, 9-1, in the championship game, to advance to the March 2017 WBC games in Seoul, South Korea.

Houston Astros scout Alex Jacobs (left) and Los Angeles Dodgers scout Jonah Rosenthal (right) volunteered to help Team Israel build its roster for the World Baseball Classic

Houston Astros scout Alex Jacobs (left) and Los Angeles Dodgers scout Jonah Rosenthal (right) volunteered to help Team Israel build its roster for the World Baseball Classic

Israel’s 28-man roster in Brooklyn included former Major League Baseball players such as Ike Davis, Jason Marquis and Josh Satin, who skipped the final game to fly to California for the birth of his child. But Israel’s Law of Return made the roster-building process unlike any other, as the team would venture outside of the database of ballplayers already identified as Jewish.

The WBC’s rules state that a player can join a country’s team if he is eligible for citizenship within that country. Per Israel’s Law of Return, citizenship can be granted to anyone who has a Jewish parent, grandparent or spouse.

“We’re looking for ballplayers who can meet the Law of Return for the land of Israel and become Israeli citizens,” said Peter Kurz, the president of the Israeli Association of Baseball. “That’s a much wider interpretation than the actual Jewish law, which says that you have to have a Jewish mother in order to be considered as a Jew. We were able to make it a little broader.”

Kurz added that Paul Goldschmidt of the Arizona Diamondbacks, whose father is Jewish, doesn’t qualify since he is devoutly Christian.

“We don’t want people who don’t feel Jewish heritage,” Kurz said.

Volunteers like Houston’s Jacobs, Jonah Rosenthal of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Guy Stevens of the Kansas City Royals, and baseball veterans Adam Gladstone and Ty Eriksen uncovered some previously-unknown gems, such as Burcham. But MLB’s rules require proof of eligibility. That was Kurz’s job. Jacobs, Rosenthal and the others gave Kurz the names, Kurz reached out to the players and proved a Jewish connection, and Weinstein managed the team.

“I would get the emails or numbers of their parents, and in almost every case, the parents were totally thrilled that their sons would compete for Team Israel,” Kurz said. “They would send in their son’s Bar Mitzvah certificate, or a birth certificate or a bris certificate. In some cases, I would need a birth certificate of the father. And in other cases, I would have to go to a grandparent.”

It wasn’t always so straightforward. For one player, a tombstone with a Jewish star had to serve as proof.

“The father went to take a picture of his mother’s tombstone, and sent it to me,” Kurz said. “That was the most extreme.”

In between identifying Jewish players and providing proof of their eligibility to MLB officials, Team Israel had to secure each player’s commitment to play. Some former MLBers, like Davis and Marquis, were tougher gets.

“I called both those guys twenty-something times before I got a return call,” Weinstein said. “Marquis had basically retired in the middle of 2015, when he was playing with the Reds. But he pitched on an alumni team in the [National Baseball Congress] World Series in Wichita, and scouts told me he pitched pretty well. So that sparked my interest in him. … He said, ‘I’m gonna check with my wife,’ then he said, ‘I’ll do it.’ He was a great teammate, and a great pitcher on the team.

“Ike Davis got his release from the Yankees, so he was hanging loose, and the timing was just right.”

Team Israel began with a list of known Jewish players maintained by Jewish Baseball News and Jewish Sports Review. Because certain positions were underrepresented, particularly in the middle infield, Weinstein asked his volunteer scouts to find unknowns.

“A lot of what we did was scouring through systems, like college rosters, to find more,” said Rosenthal, the Dodgers scout. “It was an all-hands-on-deck approach. Some of these guys we hadn’t seen. But we weren’t dealing with the biggest demographic out there. Sometimes it involved calling scouts. Sometimes it involved digging for information.” Roughly half a dozen previously-unknown players were discovered as a result of these efforts.

In March, Team Israel will head to Seoul to face off against Chinese Taipei, South Korea and the Netherlands in Pool A of the WBC, where a total of 16 teams will compete for the title of world’s best.

Unlike the qualifiers, which took place during MLB’s regular season, the WBC will take place during the offseason. Kurz and Weinstein hope to add several Major Leaguers to Israel’s roster, including Joc Pederson (who played for Israel in the 2013 WBC qualifiers), Scott Feldman, Alex Bregman, Ian Kinsler, Ryan Braun, Sam Fuld, and more. Weinstein said Kansas City Royals 3B Mike Moustakas, who is married to a Jewish woman, would be eligible if not for a recent stint on the disabled list.

However the roster pans out, volunteers like Gladstone, Jacobs and Rosenthal hope Israel’s success on the international stage will boosts its popularity within the country, which has been a consistent goal. In early January, players will head to Israel for a team trip.

“When we got that final out in Brooklyn, to know the positives that it would do for growing the game in Israel is amazing,” Gladstone said. “It’s not only the money, but also the equipment and notoriety. You felt like you accomplished something. You had a very small part in growing the game of baseball, and for providing opportunities for young kids in Israel who maybe wouldn’t have that if we didn’t win a baseball game.”

# # #

sam brief mugSam Brief is a sophomore at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, where he is a television reporter, radio producer, play-by-play man and writer. Follow him on Twitter @sambrief and feel free to shoot him an email at briefsam@gmail.com.

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By Scott Barancik, Editor

A total of 146 seasons have passed since Lip Pike became the first Jewish player to homer. Now, we have a new milestone to celebrate.

Joc Pederson‘s game-tying, 2-run blast last night was the 113th Jewish home run of the season, tying the mark set in 2012. Pederson’s home run, his 25th of the year, left his bat at a blistering 110.6 mph, tops in the MLB for the night.

Joc Pederson hits record-tying 113th Jewish HR of 2016

Joc Pederson hits record-tying 113th Jewish HR of 2016

Less than half an hour later, Ian Kinsler crushed a 2-run, go-ahead shot for the record-breaking 114th round-tripper of the year. Kinsler’s 27th home run traveled 410 feet to left-center and left him one behind Lou Whitaker (28) on Detroit’s all-time list of most HRs in a season by a second baseman. The 3rd-inning blast almost didn’t count: despite heavy rain, umpires allowed the Tigers and Cleveland to complete the 5th inning before calling a delay and, eventually, the game.

Ian Kinsler hits 114th Jewish HR of 2016 to break season record

Ian Kinsler hits 114th Jewish HR of 2016 to break season record

Both players likely were unaware they were making history. Earlier this month, Alex Bregman smashed the 3,000th Jewish home run in Major League history.

Although rookie Lip Pike led the National Association with four home runs in 1871, his rookie season with the Troy Haymakers, Jewish players and home runs have not always been so prolific.

In 49 of the past 146 season, Jewish players did not hit a single dinger. During the five seasons from 1986 to 1990, in fact, there was not a single Jewish at-bat.

Aside from Pike, the concept of a Jewish power hitter is, historically speaking, a relatively new one. No Jewish player had hit even 10 HRs in a season until a Detroit Tigers rookie named Hank Greenberg stroked 12 in 1933. This helps explain why Jewish fans went so crazy over Greenberg, who went on to hit a then-N.L. record 58 home runs in 1938, two short of Babe Ruth’s then-Major League record of 60.

By comparison, today is a golden age for Jewish baseball fans. Three players have 25 or more home runs — Ryan Braun (30), Ian Kinsler (27), and Joc Pederson (25) — an accomplishment matched only once before, in 2010.

Jewish HRs by season

Year
AB
HR
Total*107,3153,012
199000
198900
198800
198700
198600
189940
188740
190290
1881180
1985220
1901260
1903270
1920310
1882410
1919470
1991510
1910560
1908580
1927740
1895740
1916760
1918810
1909910
1911920
1907950
1906990
19051110
19041180
19641640
19762380
18753120
19174330
190000
189800
189700
189600
189400
189300
189200
189100
189000
188900
188800
188600
188500
188400
188300
188000
187900
1984631
19572041
18742341
19132491
18762821
18784191
19652372
19252862
19831323
19812233
19593023
19364903
19216373
18711344
19582254
18772664
18732854
19633154
19243554
19305984
19426804
19144225
19266145
19297015
19239495
19622576
19822636
19933116
19125246
18722857
19154367
19614817
19225767
19924248
19318988
19603789
19773959
19435359
19757149
19287579
19321,1609
199447110
194180911
194469913
196775213
195669516
197887518
19331,26118
198085119
199596521
19741,22121
196650622
197979323
194955726
19961,32226
19341,18927
194857930
19681,12231
19731,70534
19551,06035
19711,33536
19451,34837
194789739
19701,48540
20031,80540
19351,28741
20051,64141
19971,71845
20132,00647
19691,43750
19981,52750
19461,30454
19401,47154
19721,90754
20062,41455
19541,61456
20142,29556
19391,87457
20001,99160
19521,87962
20042,04563
19371,95764
19501,19465
20021,86866
19511,90269
20011,70973
19531,71077
20102,30978
19382,45681
20152,82781
20072,44484
20112,16294
20082,223100
20092,277101
19992,089102
20122,598113
2016*2,730114
* Through games played 9/28/2016
Note: The 3,012 Jewish home runs hit through 9/28/2016 were slugged by these Major League players. The tally includes home runs hit by David Newhan before 2000, when he began identifying as a Messianic Jew. It excludes home runs hit by Jim Gaudet, who converted to Judaism after his playing career ended.
Source: JewishBaseballNews.com



As great a season as Jewish players are having collectively, 2016 isn’t close to the most prodigious in terms of home-run frequency.

Through games played 9/28/2016, Jewish players are homering once every 23.95 at-bats, or 13th-best on the home-run frequency chart. The best year came way back in 1950, when Jewish players such as Al Rosen (37 HRs) and Sid Gordon (27 HRs) homered a total of once every 18.37 at-bats.

Jewish home-run frequency, by season

Year
AB/HR
Total*35.63
195018.37
194819.30
199920.48
194921.42
195322.21
200822.23
200922.54
201222.99
196623.00
194723.00
201123.00
200123.41
2016*23.95
194624.15
194027.24
195127.57
200228.30
196928.74
195428.82
200729.10
201029.60
195530.29
195230.31
193830.32
199830.54
193730.58
193531.39
200432.46
193932.88
200033.18
187133.50
197934.48
201534.90
197235.31
196836.19
194536.43
197137.08
197037.13
199738.18
200540.02
187240.71
201440.98
196042.00
201342.68
196242.83
195643.44
198243.83
197743.89
200643.89
198344.00
193444.04
198044.79
200345.13
199545.95
199447.10
197848.61
197350.15
199650.85
199351.83
199253.00
194453.77
195856.25
196757.85
197458.14
194359.44
191562.29
198463.00
187766.50
196168.71
193370.06
187371.25
194173.55
198174.33
196378.75
197579.33
192282.29
192884.11
191484.40
191287.33
192488.75
1959100.67
1931112.25
1965118.50
1926122.80
1932128.89
1929140.20
1925143.00
1930149.50
1936163.33
1942170.00
1923189.80
1957204.00
1921212.33
1874234.00
1913249.00
1876282.00
1878419.00
1990na
1989na
1988na
1987na
1986na
1899na
1887na
1902na
1881na
1985na
1901na
1903na
1920na
1882na
1919na
1991na
1910na
1908na
1927na
1895na
1916na
1918na
1909na
1911na
1907na
1906na
1905na
1904na
1964na
1976na
1875na
1917na
1900na
1898na
1897na
1896na
1894na
1893na
1892na
1891na
1890na
1889na
1888na
1886na
1885na
1884na
1883na
1880na
1879na
* Through games played 9/28/2016
Source: JewishBaseballNews.com

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He didn't know it, but <a href=

Alex Bregman was seconds away from hitting a historic home run" width="520" height="356" srcset="http://www.jewishbaseballnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/bregman-3000th-home-run-9-10-2016-120x82.jpg 120w, http://www.jewishbaseballnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/bregman-3000th-home-run-9-10-2016-300x205.jpg 300w, http://www.jewishbaseballnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/bregman-3000th-home-run-9-10-2016-768x526.jpg 768w, http://www.jewishbaseballnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/bregman-3000th-home-run-9-10-2016-900x616.jpg 900w, http://www.jewishbaseballnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/bregman-3000th-home-run-9-10-2016.jpg 982w" sizes="(max-width: 520px) 100vw, 520px" /> He didn’t know it, but Alex Bregman was seconds away from hitting a historic home run

By Scott Barancik, Editor

In 1871, Lip Pike was considered a slugger. An outfielder with the Troy Haymakers, the 5’8″ rookie led the National Association that season with four home runs, which also happened to be the first four round-trippers ever hit by a Jewish baseball player.

Flash forward 145 years to Sept. 10, 2016 — also known as last Saturday — when another red-hot Jewish rookie came to the plate. Host Houston and the Cubs were tied 0-0 in the bottom of the third when the Astros’ Alex Bregman took a 92mph two-seam fastball from Chicago’s John Lackey and parked it in the right-center seats. Houston never squandered the lead, finishing with a 2-1 win.

Bregman’s 384-foot shot wasn’t just a clutch hit for a playoff-hungry club in front of a hometown crowd. It was the 3,000th Jewish homer in Major League history.

The numbers continue to swell.

In fact, Jewish players are on pace to set a single-season record in 2016. Through games played September 14, they hit a combined 106 home runs, just seven short of the 113 hit in 2012. Three players — Ryan Braun (27), Ian Kinsler (26), and Joc Pederson (22) — have more than 20 apiece, while Danny Valencia is within striking distance at 16.

Jewish HRs, by year

Year
HRs
2016*106
201581
201456
201347
2012113
201194
201078
2009101
2008100
200784
200655
200541
200463
200340
200266
200173
200060
1999102
199850
199745
199626
199521
199410
19936
19928
19910
19900
19890
19880
19870
19860
19850
19841
19833
19826
19813
198019
197923
197818
19779
19760
19759
197421
197334
197254
197136
197040
196950
196831
196713
196622
19652
19640
19634
19626
19617
19609
19593
19584
19571
195616
195535
195456
195377
195262
195169
195065
194926
194830
194739
194654
194537
194413
19439
19424
194111
194054
193957
193881
193764
19363
193541
193427
193318
19329
19318
19304
19295
19289
19270
19265
19252
19244
19235
19227
19213
19200
19190
19180
19170
19160
19157
19145
19131
19126
19110
19100
19090
19080
19070
19060
19050
19040
19030
19020
19010
19000
18990
18980
18970
18960
18950
18940
18930
18920
18910
18900
18890
18880
18870
18860
18850
18840
18830
18820
18810
18800
18790
18781
18774
18761
18750
18741
18734
18727
18714
TOTAL*3004
* Through games played 9/14/2016
Source: JewishBaseballNews.com

The 3,004 home runs hit through 9/14/2016 were slugged by these Major League players. The tally excludes home runs hit by David Newhan after 1999, when he began identifying as a Messianic Jew. It also excludes home runs hit by Jim Gaudet, who converted to Judaism after his playing career ended.

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By Scott Barancik, Editor

Here are your minor-league updates from the week of July 25-31, 2016.

Jewish Baseball News Player of the Week

LF Zach Borenstein (Diamondbacks/AAA) hit .600 last week with a home run, triple, 3 doubles, 4 RBIS, and a walk. This is his second straight Player of the Week award. In his first full season at Triple-A, the 26-year-old Illinois native is hitting .293 with 7 HRs, 4 triples, 21 doubles, 49 RBIs, and a .838 OPS.

Other highlights

CF Rhett Wiseman (Nationals/A) hit .333 with 2 HRs, a triple and a double, 7 RBIs, and 4 walks.

In his first full week since being promoted to Single-A, 2016 draftee Michael Barash (Angels) went 4-for-10 with a home run, double, and 3 RBIs.

OF Jeremy Wolf (Mets/rookie), a 31st-round draft pick in 2016, hit a scorching .615 last week with a triple, double, walk, 3 RBIs, and no strikeouts. He has a six-game hitting streak going.

C Dalton Blumenfeld (Angels/rookie) went 4-for-9 (.444) with a double, 5 RBIs, and a walk.

1B Nate Freiman (Red Sox/AA) hit .321 with 2 triples, 3 doubles, and 6 RBIs.

C Ryan Gold (Blue Jays/rookie), an 18-year-old draftee out of South Carolina, went 4-for-8 with two doubles.

After nearly a month on the disabled list, 2B Mason Katz (Cardinals/AA) went 2-for-4 on July 25 but then returned to the list. He is hitting .381 with 3 HRs and 7 RBIs in 42 Double-A at-bats this season.

P Gabe Cramer (Royals/A) pitched four no-hit innings over two appearances, striking out 5 and walking 3. He is 3-2 with a 2.48 ERA and 37 strikeouts in 29 innings.

In three relief appearances, P Scott Effross (Cubs/A) gave up just 2 hits and one walk over 5 innings while striking out 7 batters.

P Jake Fishman (Blue Jays/rookie), a 2016 draftee, earned his third straight perfect relief appearance last week. In his last three games, he has struck out 10 batters over a total of 6.2 innings while yielding no hits, walks, or runs.

In his last game before being promoted to Single-A, P Raul Jacobson (Mets) pitched 5 shutout innings, yielding just 2 hits and no walks while striking out 4.

P Kenny Rosenberg (Rays/rookie), a 2016 draftee, pitched 4 scoreless innings over two appearances, yielding 4 hits and a walk while striking out three. In 5 games with the GCL Rays, he is 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA and 13 strikeouts in 11 innings.

Transactions

C Michael Barash (Angels), a 2016 draftee, was promoted from rookie league to Single-A.

SS Alex Bregman (Astros) was called-up from Triple-A to the Majors.

P Raul Jacobson (Mets) was promoted from short-season to Single-A.

C Adam Sonabend (Giants/A) came off the disabled list after more than a month.

P Corey Baker (Cardinals) was demoted from Triple-A to Double-A.

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By Scott Barancik, Editor

Here are your minor-league updates from the week of July 18-24, 2016, a period shortened by All-Star games.

Jewish Baseball News Player of the Week

LF Zach Borenstein (Diamondbacks/AAA) hit .353 last week with a home run, 2 doubles, 5 RBIs, and a stolen base.

Debuts

P Marc Huberman (Cubs/rookie), an 18th-round pick out of USC in the 2016 draft, pitched a scoreless inning of relief in his pro debut on July 18, yielding one hit while striking out two batters.

Other highlights

SS Alex Bregman (Astros/AAA) started the week going 8-for-14 before going hitless in his next three games, something he’d done only once before all season. But that didn’t stop Houston from calling-up the 2015 draftee, who’s expected to make his MLB debut tonight against the Yankees. Bregman also was named the minor leagues’ top offensive player at midseason by MiLB.com.

C Ryan Lavarnway (Red Sox/AA) hit safely in all five games last week, going 6-for-17 (.353) with 2 doubles, 5 RBIs, and 4 walks.

1B Ike Davis (Yankees/AAA) hit .333 with a home run and a double, drove in 5 runs, and drew 5 walks against 3 strikeouts.

C Ryan Gold (Blue Jays/rookie) went 2-for-5 with his first professional home run on July 23, a three-run shot.

C Mitchell Kranson (Twins/rookie) hit .444 last week, highlighted by a 4-for-5, two-RBI performance on July 18.

LF Mike Meyers (Red Sox/High-A) hit safely in all five games, going 9-for-20 (.450) with a double, 3 RBIs, and 2 walks. Meyuers is hitting .409 in July, and his 52 RBIs are tied for ninth-best in the Carolina League.

C Garrett Stubbs (Astros/AA) hit .444 last week with 3 RBIs and a stolen base. Since his promotion to Double-A ball on July 4, the USC alum is hitting .368 with a home run, 7 RBIs, and 7 walks against 2 strikeouts.

OF Adam Walton (Diamondbacks/short season) went 4-for-11 last week with 2 RBIs and a walk.

P Jake Fishman (Blue Jays/rookie) tossed three perfect innings of relief on July 22, yielding no walks or hits while striking out 5 batters.

P Rob Kaminsky (Indians/AA) won his fourth decision in a row on July 21, pitching six innings of one-run ball. He yielded 6 hits and 2 walks while striking out 6.

P Dean Kremer was nearly flawless in his third pro outing, a three-inning relief stint on July 22 in which he yielded 1 hit and no walks while striking out 3.

P Kenny Rosenberg (Rays/rookie) threw three no-hit innings on July 21, yielding one walk while striking out 3.

P Josh Zeid (Mets/AA) pitched eight shutout innings for the win on July 21, yielding 4 hits and 2 walks while fanning 7.

Transactions

C Zach Kapstein (Orioles/High-A) came off the disabled list.

Second-year P Jason Richman (Rangers) was reassigned to Single-A. Across four levels (all the way up to Triple-A), Richman is 2-4 this season with a 2.79 ERA.

The Texas Rangers signed P Craig Breslow to a minor-league contract and assigned him to the franchise’s Triple-A team.

Disabled list

P Max Fried (Braves/A).

P Alec Grosser (Dodgers/High-A).

LF Ryan Kalish (Cubs/AAA). Appendicitis.

2B Mason Katz (Cardinals/AA). Hamstring.

P Jon Moscot (Reds/AAA). Elbow.

C Adam Sonabend (Giants/A).

P Zack Weiss (Reds/AA). Shoulder.

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bregman astros mugBy Scott Barancik, Editor

Scarcely a year after being drafted by the Houston Astros, red-hot prospect Alex Bregman is being called-up to the Majors. He is expected to make his MLB debut tonight against the Yankees in New York.

A 22-year-old shortstop from Albuquerque, NM, Bregman has made quick work of the minors. After hitting a combined .294 last season with 4 HRs and 34 RBIs in Class A and High-A ball, in 2016 he’s added power, hitting a combined .306 with 20 HRs, 61 RBIs, and a .986 OPS, second-base among all full-season minor-leaguers. Bregman walks more than he strikes out, runs the bases intelligently, can play both shortstop and third base, and has confidence to spare.

It’s no wonder Minor League Baseball recently named him the top offensive player at midseason among all pro prospects. Bregman also has shined in showcase games, falling a home run short of the cycle in the All-Star Futures Games this month and going 2-for-3 in the Texas League All-Star Game. In his first game at Triple-A, he went 4-for-5 with 3 RBIs and a walk.

“It’s a dream come true,” Bregman told MLB.com about the call-up. “And I’m ready to go work, keep my mouth shut and hopefully help contribute.”

With teammate Jose Altuve well settled at shortstop, Bregman is expected to get playing time at third base, left field, and as designated hitter. MLB.com columnist Jim Callis enthused about the LSU alum yesterday:

“Wherever he plays, Bregman is equipped to be a star. There’s no weakness in his offensive game, as he has outstanding bat speed from the right side of the plate and has complete control of the strike zone. He barrels balls consistently, and since he has made an adjustment to attack and turn on pitches on the inner half of the plate since turning pro, he could hit 25 homers per season.

Though he has elicited comparisons to Dustin Pedroia for years because he has similar size and plays with the same chip on his shoulder, Bregman has more speed and defensive versatility. He’s an average runner with excellent instincts on the bases. He’s capable of playing at least an average shortstop, and his solid arm and gift for anticipating plays could make him a plus defender at third base.”

Bregman is the second Jewish player to get a call-up this season. In May, the New York Yankees called up P Richard Bleier, who had spent, by comparison, a biblically long nine seasons in the minors.

Bregman will be the second Jewish player on Houston’s 25-man roster, joining veteran hurler Scott Feldman. Of all 1,215 players drafted in 2015, he will be the first position player (and third player overall) to reach the Majors.

The Astros play the Yankees tonight at 8:10 ET, with Houston’s Dallas Keuchel facing Michael Pineda. Houston (54-44) is in second place in the A.L. West, 2.5 games behind Texas.

 

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By Scott Barancik, Editor

Here are your minor-league updates from the week of July 4-10, 2016.

Jewish Baseball News Player of the Week

LF Mike Meyers (Red Sox/High-A) had another strong week, hitting .409 with a HR, double, 3 RBIs, 2 stolen bases, and his sixth triple of the season. He ranks second on the Salem Red Sox in RBIs (44), and fourth in stolen bases (18).

Debuts

Two 2016 draftees made their pro debuts last week.

C Andy Yerzy (Diamondbacks/rookie) went 3-for-4 in his pro debut on July 6 and finished the week 6-for-15 (.400) with 5 strikeouts.

P Brandon Gold (Rockies/short season) had a rough go of it in his first pro game, yielding 3 hits, a walk, a wild pitch, a grand-slam HR, and 3 earned runs without retiring a batter on July 6. (One batter reached base on an error.) But Gold was golden in his second appearance, striking out 2 batters in a perfect inning on July 9.

Other highlights

The latest minor-league player to be identified as Jewish is P Gabe Cramer (Royals/A). A second-year pro out of Stanford, Cramer is 2-1 with one save, a 2.79 ERA, and 23 strikeouts in 19.1 innings against just 9 walks. Last week he was dominant, yielding one hit and 2 walks over a combined 3.1 innings while striking out 8 batters.

In his second week of Triple-A ball, SS Alex Bregman (Astros) hit .316 with 3 HRs and 6 RBIs while striking out just once. He also tripled, doubled, and singled in the All-Star Futures Games on Sunday while playing both shortstop and third base.

C Michael Barash (Angels/rookie), a 2016 draftee, went 4-for-5 on July 8 with 3 singles, a grand-slam HR, and 6 RBIs. The round-tripper was his first as a pro.

C Nick Rickles (Nationals/AA) hit just .231 last week, but two of his three hits were home runs, including a two-run, walk-off shot on July 10.

In his first week of Double-A ball, C Garrett Stubbs (Astros/AA) hit .357 with a HR, 4 RBIs, 3 walks, and one strikeout.

P Max Fried (Braves/A) earned his seventh win against five losses on July 4. Entering the game in the second inning, he yielded 4 hits and a walk over 4 shutout innings while striking out 6.

P Brad Goldberg (White Sox/AAA) earned two saves last week and was added to roster of the International League All-Star team, which will face the Pacific Coast League’s All-Stars on July 13.

P Kenny Koplove (Phillies/High-A) pitched a combined 5 scoreless innings in two relief appearances, yielding 3 hits and a walk while fanning 3.

P Jared Lakind (Pirates/AA) was named an Eastern League All-Star. He’s 3-0 this season with 6 saves, a 1.80 ERA, and 45 strikeouts in 45 innings.

P Ryan Sherriff (Cardinals/AAA) earned his first save of the season on July 9, pitching 1.2 perfect innings while striking out 3 batters.

Transactions

P Josh Zeid (Mets) was promoted to Triple-A.

C Garrett Stubbs (Astros), a 2015 draftee, was promoted to Double-A.

The Atlanta Braves traded pitching prospect Alec Grosser to the Los Angeles Dodgers, which assigned him to a rookie-league squad.

The White Sox released OF Kyle Ruchim, a Northwestern alum who signed as an undrafted free agent in May 2016.

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By Scott Barancik, Editor

Here are your minor-league updates from the week of June 27-July 3, 2016.

Jewish Baseball News Player of the Week

What an incredible week for SS Alex Bregman (Astros). Last year’s #2 overall draft pick homered and went 2-for-3 in the Texas League (AA) All-Star game. He was named to the U.S. roster for MLB’s All-Star Futures Game. He was promoted to Houston’s Triple-A club — and didn’t shrink from the challenge. Oh, no. Bregman went 4-for-5 with 3 RBIs and a walk in his first game with the Fresno Grizzlies. And in the next four games, he homered four times, including twice on July 4. (Yes, we’re cheating a bit here by counting Bregman’s play on July 4. Technically, that’s next week’s news.) All told, Bregman is 10-for-21 (.476) with 4 HRs, 2 doubles, eleven RBIs, and 2 walks since being promoted. Curiously, he’s played all of his Triple-A games at shortstop, even though the Astros had begun moving him to third base in order to speed his ascent to the Majors.

Debuts

Three draftees made their pro debuts last week.

Dodgers draftee Dean Kremer (P/rookie league), the first Israeli citizen to be drafted by an MLB team, started Sunday’s game for the Orem Owlz. He pitched 1.1 innings, yielding 2 hits, 2 walks, and 2 earned runs.

Blue Jays draftee Ryan Gold (C/rookie league), an 18-year-old from South Carolina, went 2-for-8 in his first four games, contributing a single, double, 2 walks, and an RBI.

Rays draftee Kenny Rosenberg (P/rookie league) made his pro debut on July 2, yielding 2 hits and an earned run over 2 innings.

Other highlights

Add one more player to the list of 2016 draftees: OF David Oppenheim of USC.

C Michael Barash (Angels/rookie league) hit .333 with 2 doubles and 3 RBIs. Since his debut, he’s thrown out three of 13 attempted base-stealers.

LF Zach Borenstein (Diamondbacks/AAA) raised his RBI total to 37, but he’s also working on his speed. The 25-year-old added three stolen bases last week to boost his 2016 total to 12, and he has yet to be tossed out. In 2015, Borenstein stole six bases in 10 attempts at the Double-A level and didn’t even try stealing in Triple-A.

P Craig Breslow (Marlins/AAA) has had a rough time since Miami demoted him earlier this season, going 0-for-3 with a 6.85 ERA, two blown saves in four chances, a .343 opponent batting average, and yielding nearly 2 hits/walks per inning. His very first appearance was a doozy: one inning, four hits, three earned runs. But Breslow has trimmed his ERA since then, and on Sunday, he was nearly perfect, yielding just one hit over 3 innings while striking out three.

1B Ike Davis (Yankees/AAA) hit a grand-slam HR in his first game after being sent back down to Triple-A.

Former major-league 1B Nate Freiman (Red Sox/AA) homered twice on July 1. Since signing a minor-league deal with Boston, he’s hitting .270 with a .347 on-base percentage and is leading the Portland Sea Dogs in home runs (8) and RBIs (31).

LF Mike Meyers (Red Sox/High-A) drove in four runs last week to boost his total to 41, second-highest on the Salem Red Sox. He has 16 stolen bases in 18 attempts.

C Nick Rickles (Nationals/AA) went 3-for-4 with a double, two singles, a walk, and an RBI on Sunday. In three games with the Harrisburg Senators, he’s hitting .455.

CF Rhett Wiseman (Nationals/A) didn’t hit for average last week (.231), but five of his six hits went for extra bases (2 HRs, 1 triple, 2 doubles) and he drove in 7 runs, boosting his season total to a team-high 44 RBIs (tied).

1B Jeremy Wolf (Mets/rookie league) went 4-for-5 on June 30 with a double, his first professional home run, and 4 RBIs.

P Max Fried (Braves/A) was masterful in a shutout start on June 29, yielding just 2 hits and 2 walks over 6 innings while striking out 9.

P Brad Goldberg (White Sox/AAA) racked up two more scoreless relief appearances, yielding a combined one walk and no hits over 2 innings while striking out 2. He has a 0.77 ERA over his last 10 appearances.

P Rob Kaminsky (Indians/AA) went 1-1 in two starts last week. In a combined 12.2 innings, he yielded 3 earned runs on 6 hits and 3 walks while striking out 13.

P Alex Katz (White Sox/A) held opponents scoreless in two relief appearances. He gave up one hit and no walks over 2.1 innings while striking out 2.

P Jared Lakind (Pittsburgh/AA) held opponents scoreless in two relief appearances, striking out 6 batters over 3 combined innings. For the season, he’s 3-0 with 5 saves in 6 chances, has a 1.74 ERA, 40 strikeouts in 41.1 innings, and has held opposing batters to a .190 average.

P R.C. Orlan (Nationals/High-A) held opponents scoreless three times. In 4 combined innings, he yielded one hit and three walks while striking out four.

Second-year P Jason Richman held opponents scoreless twice. In 2.1 combined innings, he yielded one hit and no walks while striking out one.

P Josh Zeid (Mets/AA) earned his second victory with a strong performance July 3, yielding just 2 hits and 3 walks over 7 innings while fanning 8.

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Mason Katz homers twice

Mason Katz homers twice (click for video)

By Scott Barancik, Editor

Here are your minor-league updates from the week of June 20-26, 2016.

Jewish Baseball News Player of the Week

P Corey Baker (Cardinals/AAA) earned a shutout win in his first-ever Triple-A game, scattering four singles and a walk over 6.2 innings while striking out 6. Baker had two 1-2-3 innings and threw 62 of 95 pitches for strikes.

Debuts

At least six draftees or undrafted free agents made their pro debuts last week.

Angels draftee Michael Barash (C/rookie league) hit .333.

Twins draftee Mitchell Kranson (C/rookie league) hit .286 with two RBIs.

White Sox prospect Steve Pollakov (C/rookie league), an undrafted free agent, hit a pinch-hit single in his first pro at-bat and went 2-for-4 with a three-run home run in his first start.

Diamondbacks prospect Adam Walton (IF/rookie league), an undrafted free agent, walked and drove in a run.

Mets draftee Jeremy Wolf (OF/rookie league) doubled and drew four walks.

Blue Jays draftee Jake Fishman (P/rookie league) earned a hold in his first appearance despite yielding 4 earned runs over 2.1 innings.

Other highlights

SS Alex Bregman (Astros/AA) didn’t hit for average last week (.227), but four of his five hits went for extra bases and he walked eight times. The bigger news is that the second-year player is being promoted to Triple-A after participating in the Texas League’s All-Star game and home run derby on June 28.

Playing in his first three games of the season, second-year pro C Dalton Blumenfeld (Angels/rookie league) went 4-for-7 with 2 walks and 2 RBIs.

LF Zach Borenstein (Diamondbacks/AAA) hit .294 last week with a home run, double, 3 walks, and 6 RBIs. He’s tied for fourth place on the Reno Aces with 34 RBIs.

Former major-league 1B Nate Freiman (Red Sox/AA) had a big week, hitting .417 with a home run, double, 2 walks, and 8 RBIs.

Former major-league C Ryan Lavarnway (Red Sox/AA) hit a pair of HRs on June 20 and .429 for the week.

2B Mason Katz (Cardinals/AA) went 3-for-3 on two solo HRs, a single and a walk. After hitting just .053 in 19 at-bats for the franchise’s High-A team, Katz is hitting .361 in Double-A, with 3 HRs and 7 RBIs in 36 at-bats.

C Garrett Stubbs (Astros/High-A) hit .400 last week, raising his average to .316, fifth best in the California League. The league’s next highest-ranked catcher is hitting .278. Behind the plate, Stubbs has nixed 16 of 26 stolen-base attempts and discouraged many more baserunners from even trying.

P Max Fried (Braves/A) pitched six innings on June 23 to earn his fifth win against five losses, yielding one earned run on six hits while striking out six and walking none.

Second-year pro Raul Jacobson (Mets/short season) made his 2016 debut last week. In two relief outings, he pitched 7 scoreless innings, earned a save, and yield 5 hits and 1 walk while striking out 7.

P Jared Lakind (Pittsburgh/AA) saw his 17-game scoreless streak end June 23, but he began another streak June 26 with a perfect inning of relief.

Transactions

SS Alex Bregman (Astros), a 2015 draftee, is being promoted to Triple-A.

P Corey Baker (Cardinals) was promoted to Triple-A for the first time in his career.

Yankees 1B Ike Davis was designated for assignment. He says he will report to the team’s Triple-A club if he isn’t signed by another MLB team.

C Nick Rickles (Nationals) was assigned to the team’s Double-A club after spending nearly the entire season in extended spring training. He doubled and had a ground-out RBI in his June 26 debut.

OF Kyle Ruchim (White Sox), an undrafted free agent, was sent from Single-A to the club’s rookie-league team.

After pitching one perfect inning in Triple-A, P Jeremy Bleich (Phillies) returned to the franchise’s Double-A club.

Draftee Brandon Gold (P/short-season) signed with the Rockies.

Draftee Matthew Gorst (P/rookie) signed with the Red Sox.

Draftee Ryan Gold (C/rookie) signed with the Blue Jays.

Draftee Kenny Rosenberg (P/rookie) signed with the Rays.

Draftee Andy Yerzy (C/rookie) signed with the Diamondbacks.

Update

Eagled-eyed readers may have noticed that Cardinals prospect Matt Fiedler has disappeared from our list of 2016 draftees. Although the U. of Minnesota alum has a Jewish parent and agreed to be identified as Jewish less than two years ago, he now identifies as Christian. We wish Matt the best and a great future in baseball.

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By Scott Barancik, Editor

At least 16 Jewish players were picked in the annual MLB draft that took place earlier this month. We’re going to tell you a little bit about each one.

First, the list:

  1. Andy Yerzy (C), D’backs (2nd round, #52 overall)
  2. Kenny Rosenberg (P), Rays (8th, #240)
  3. Jason Goldstein (C), Mariners (9th, #267)
  4. Mitchell Kranson (C), Twins (9th, #273)
  5. Michael Barash (C), Angels (9th rd, #276)
  6. Brandon Gold (P), Rockies (12th rd, #350)
  7. Matthew Gorst (P), Red Sox (12th rd, #358)
  8. Dean Kremer (P), Dodgers (14th rd, #431)
  9. Marc Huberman (P), Cubs (18th rd, #554)
  10. Ryan Gold (C), Blue Jays (27th rd, #822)
  11. Jordan Scheftz (P), Red Sox (28th rd, #838)
  12. Elliott Barzilli (3B), Astros (29th rd, #877)
  13. Jake Fishman (P), Blue Jays (30th rd, #912)
  14. Jeremy Wolf (LF), Mets (31st rd, #940)
  15. Matthew Popowitz (C), Marlins (36th rd, #1073)
  16. Leo Kaplan (OF), White Sox (37th rd, #1106)

The list might grow longer. After all, a number of today’s players — including Kevin Pillar and Danny Valencia — were unknown to the Jewish news media until well into their professional careers.

For only the second time in the past five years, no Jews were selected in the first round. Recent first-round picks have included SS Alex Bregman (2015, #2 overall pick, Astros), P Rob Kaminsky (2013, #28 overall pick, Cardinals), and P Max Fried (2012, #7 overall pick, Padres). There were none in 2014.

The most populous Jewish round in 2016 was the 9th. Among the 10 slots between pick numbers 267 and 276, three Jewish players were selected.

Two Georgia natives who pitched together at Georgia Tech, Brandon Gold and Matthew Gorst, were chosen eight picks apart from one another in the 12th round.

Four players (Andy Yerzy, Ryan Gold, Matthew Popowitz, Leo Kaplan) were drafted out of high school, one out of junior college (Jordan Scheftz), and the rest out after their junior or senior years of college.

Most of this year’s draftees either pitch (7) or catch (6). Three play outfield, and only one in the infield. This is not good news for Team Israel, which is preparing for the 2016 World Baseball Classic qualifiers and has few middle-infielders to choose from.

What do we know about them? Following are short bios largely drawn from MLB.comBaseballAmerica.com, and college baseball websites.

Andy Yerzy (C), Diamondbacks (2nd round, #52 overall)

  • Age: 17
  • Height/Weight: 6’3″, 215 pounds
  • Bats/Throws: L/R
  • Home: North York, Ontario
  • School: York Mills Collegiate Institute
  • Highlights: A power hitter, Yerzy tied for first place in 2016 High School Select home-run derby over All-Star Game weekend in Cincinnati. Homered in 2015 Under Armour All-American game at Wrigley Field. Played for Canada’s junior national team. Committed to Notre Dame before he signed with Diamondbacks.

Kenny Rosenberg (P), Rays (8th, #240)

  • Age: 20
  • Height/Weight: 6’1″, 195 pounds
  • Bats/Throws: L/L
  • Home: Mill Valley, CA
  • School: Cal State Northridge
  • Assigned team: Princeton Rays (rookie league)
  • Highlights: After missing sophomore season in 2015 with a back injury, ranked 14th in country with 118 strikeouts in 2016 (10.8 per nine innings). Was All-League goalkeeper on high school soccer team.

Jason Goldstein (C), Mariners (9th, #267)

  • Age: 22
  • Height/Weight: 6’0″, 210 pounds
  • Bats/Throws: R/R
  • Home: Highland Park, IL
  • School: University of Illinois
  • Highlights: Was picked by Angels in 17th round of 2015 draft but returned to school to finish degree. Senior year, led Illinis in average, OBP and RBIs, and threw out 15 of 39 attempted base-stealers.

Mitchell Kranson (C), Twins (9th, #273)

  • Age: 22
  • Height/Weight: 5’10”, 205 pounds
  • Bats/Throws: L/R
  • Home: Danville, CA
  • School: UC Berkeley
  • Highlights: Hit .333 with five HRs and 36 RBIs senior year while striking out just 26 times in 213 at-bats. Has played 1B, 3B, and LF in addition to catching.

Michael Barash (C), Angels (9th rd, #276)

  • Age: 21
  • Height/Weight: 6’1″, 200 pounds
  • Bats/Throws: R/R
  • Home: Boca Raton, FL
  • School: Texas A&M
  • Assigned team: Orem Owlz (rookie league)
  • Highlights: An “excellent defender,” according to Baseball America. Hit .324 his senior year with 5 HRs and 43 RBIs.

Brandon Gold (P), Rockies (12th rd, #350)

  • Age: 21
  • Height/Weight: 6’3″, 203 pounds
  • Bats/Throws: R/R
  • Home: Atlanta, GA
  • School: Georgia Tech
  • Assigned team: Boise Hawks (short season)
  • Highlights: A two-way player, went a team-best 9-3 with a 2.48 ERA as a junior. “He is a competitor with a strong track record in a power conference,” says Baseball America.

Matthew Gorst (P), Red Sox (12th rd, #358)

  • Age: 21
  • Height/Weight: 6’1″, 205  pounds
  • Bats/Throws: R/R
  • Home: Alpharetta, GA
  • School: Georgia Tech
  • Highlights: After posting ERAs of 7.59 and 4.81 in first two seasons, had one of best seasons in Georgia Tech history, going 2-1 with 12 saves and 0.55 ERA. Second-team All-ACC selection.

Dean Kremer (P), Dodgers (14th rd, #431)

  • Age: 20
  • Height/Weight: 6’2″, 185 pounds
  • Bats/Throws: R/R
  • Home: Stockton, CA
  • School: Las Vegas
  • Highlights: The first Israeli citizen to be drafted by an MLB team. Award-winning pitcher with Israel’s national team. In sole season at UNLV, went 4-5 with a 4.92 ERA.

Marc Huberman (P), Cubs (18th rd, #554)

  • Age: 22
  • Height/Weight: 6’2″, 190 pounds
  • Bats/Throws: L/L
  • Home: Los Angeles, CA
  • School: USC
  • Highlights: Went 2-1 with a 3 saves and a 1.94 ERA his senior year.

Ryan Gold (C), Blue Jays (27th rd, #822)

  • Age: 18
  • Height/Weight: 5’11”, 180 pounds
  • Bats/Throws: L/R
  • Home: Myrtle Beach, SC
  • School: Carolina Forest H.S.
  • Highlights: Signed with Toronto after committing to Coastal Carolina University. Moved from New Jersey the summer before senior year.

Jordan Scheftz (P), Red Sox (28th rd, #838)

  • Age: 20
  • Height/Weight: 6’3″, 190 pounds
  • Bats/Throws: R/R
  • Home: Irvine, CA
  • School: Saddleback Community College
  • Highlights: Went 4-3 with a 3.48 ERA as a sophomore.

Elliott Barzilli (3B), Astros (29th rd, #877)

  • Age: 21
  • Height/Weight: 6’0″, 175 pounds
  • Bats/Throws: R/R
  • Home: Los Angeles, CA
  • School: Texas Christian
  • Highlights: Hit .346 his junior year, with 7 HRs, 47 RBIs, and only one more strikeout (31) than walks (30). Younger brother of former Cardinals prospect Julian Barzilli.

Jake Fishman (P), Blue Jays (30th rd, #912)

  • Age: 21
  • Height/Weight: 6’3″, 195 pounds
  • Bats/Throws: L/L
  • Home: Sharon, MA
  • School: Union College (NY)
  • Highlights: Went 7-0 his junior year with 0.41 ERA. In 66 innings, fanned 85 while walking only 11. Had team’s second-best batting average (.361).

Jeremy Wolf (LF), Mets (31st rd, #940)

  • Age: 22
  • Height/Weight: 6’3″, 220 pounds
  • Bats/Throws: L/R
  • Home: Scottsdale, AZ
  • School: Trinity
  • Highlights: Hit .408 as a senior, leading team with 11 HRs and 70 RBIs in just 201 at-bats. Walked nearly twice as often as he struck out (35 vs. 19).

Matthew Popowitz (C), Marlins (36th rd, #1073)

  • Age: 18
  • Height/Weight: 5’11”, 160 pounds
  • Bats/Throws: R/R
  • School: Suffern H.S. (NY)

Leo Kaplan (OF), White Sox (37th rd, #1106)

  • Age: 18
  • Height/Weight: 6’1″, 180 pounds
  • Bats/Throws: R/R
  • Home: Santa Monica, CA
  • School: Harvard-Westlake H.S. (CA)
  • Highlights: Attended same high school as former 1st-round draft pick Max Fried.

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By Scott Barancik, Editor

Here they are, your minor-league updates from the week of June 6-12, 2016.

Jewish Baseball News Player of the Week

SS Alex Bregman (Astros/AA) hit .400, drove in 7 runs, and hit a walk-off HR last week. The second-year prospect ranks among Texas League leaders with a .314 average (2nd), 13 HRs (2nd/tied), 42 RBIs (1st/tied), .411 on-base percentage (1st), .596 slugging percentage (.596), and a walk-to-strikeout ratio of 1.35 (1st).

Other highlights

P Jared Lakind (Pirates/AA) upped his streak of scoreless relief appearances to 14. The 2013 draftee hasn’t allowed an earned run since April, a period during he has reduced his ERA from 4.63 to 1.65.

P Max Fried (Braves/A) tossed his second straight scoreless start, giving up 4 hits and 2 walks over 6 innings while striking out 9.

In his first games this season, OF Jake Thomas (Blue Jays/A) hit .435 (10-for-23) last week with 3 extra-base hits and 4 RBIs.

C Ryan Lavarnway (Blue Jays/AA) hit .389 last week with a home run, 2 doubles, 4 RBIs, and 3 walks.

LF Zach Borenstein (Diamondbacks/AAA) went 2-for-3 with 3 RBIs and 3 stolen bases on June 7. For the month of June, he’s hitting .455.

It seemed a bit surprising last week when the Cardinals promoted 2B Mason Katz to Double-A after he had gone 0-for-11 in High-A, but the 25-year-old responded by going 4-for-10 with a HR, double and 2 walks.

OF Kyle Ruchim (White Sox/A) made his minor-league debut last week. His first hit, a triple, came in his second game, on June 10.

Transactions

After ending the week going 7-for-7 on June 10-11, red-hot 1B Ike Davis (Rangers/AAA) signed with the New York Yankees today and was placed on the franchise’s 25-man roster.

Former major-leaguer and Team Israel alum Josh Satin voluntarily retired, citing the effects of repeated head injuries.

The Mets signed former major-leaguer and Team Israel alum Josh Zeid to a minor-league contract. Zeid, who worked exclusively out of the bullpen in the majors, performed beautifully in a start June 11 with the Double-A Binghamton Mets, pitching 6.2 scoreless innings.

Jason Richman (Cardinals) was assigned to extended spring training.

Injury updates

Adam Sonabend (Giants/A) came off the disabled list for one game — he went 1-for-2 with a walk on June 7 — but returned to the list on June 11.

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By Scott Barancik, Editor

Here they are, your minor-league updates from the week of May 23-29, 2016.

Jewish Baseball News Player of the Week

Jared Lakind (Pirates/AA) had a busy week, delivering four scoreless relief appearances to stretch his streak to 10. The 24-year-old gave up one hit and three walks while striking out five over a combined six innings. Lakind’s season ERA has shrunk to a slim 2.00.

Other highlights

Richard Bleier (Yankees/AAA) was called-up to the Majors for the first time in his nine-year professional career. Through May 29, he had not yet made his on-field debut.

LF Mike Meyers (Red Sox/High-A) knocked in four runs to boost his season total to 27, tying him for 11th in the Carolina League. His four triples rank fifth.

SS Alex Bregman (Astros/AA) added two HRs, two doubles, three walks and six RBIs last week while striking out just once. The 22-year-old phenom’s slugging percentage (.652) and OPS (1.077) rank second among all minor-leaguers, and his walk-to-strikeout ratio (1.54) ranks fifth.

C Garrett Stubbs (Astros/High-A) continued tearing up the ball, hitting .400 with a home run, two doubles, three walks, and four RBIs. For the season, the 23-year-old USC alum is hitting .292 with 5 HRs, 23 RBIs, 8 stolen bases, and a .394 on-base percentage in just 106 at-bats.

In just his second game back after a month on the disabled list, C Maxx Tissenbaum (Marlins/A) went hit a grand-slam home run.

CF Rhett Wiseman (Nationals/A) hit .357 with a home run, two doubles, and three RBIs.

LF Zach Borenstein (Diamondbacks/AAA) hit .333 with a home run, triple, two doubles, and four RBIs. His walk/strikeout ratio was a little lopsided, with eight whiffs and zero bases on balls.

Cincinnati Reds starter Jon Moscot was dominant in his third rehab game, pitching six shutout innings and striking out four batters while yielding four hits and no walks. He is scheduled to start tomorrow’s Reds game against the Rockies (May 31).

Reliever R.C. Orlan (Nationals/High-A) was busy too, earning two saves in three appearances. His three scoreless outings extended his streak to eight in a row. For the year, Orlan is 1-0 with a 1.27 ERA, six saves in seven opportunities, and is holding opposing batters to a .113 average and just 0.89 walks/hits per inning.

Also nailing four scoreless appearances was P Jason Richman (Rangers/High-A), who yielded four hits and a walk over a total of five innings while striking out five.

P Scott Effross (Cubs/A) was perfect in each of two relief appearances, striking out three batters over as many innings. The 22-year-old hasn’t yielded an earned run in eight straight outings.

Transactions

Former major-leaguer Ryan Lavarnway signed a minor-league deal with the Blue Jays and logged three games with the franchise’s Double-A team.

Former Athletics prospect Jeff Urlaub has joined the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs of the independent Atlantic League.

The Padres assigned former major-leaguer Josh Satin (AAA) to extended spring training.

Injury updates

Cleveland Indians prospect Rob Kaminsky (AA) remains on the disabled list.

Cincinnati Reds prospect Zack Weiss (AA) remains on the disabled list.

Birthdays

Astros prospect Garrett Stubbs (High-A) turned 23 on May 26.

Red Sox prospect Zach Kapstein (A-short season) turned 24 on May 28.

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By Scott Barancik, Editor

Here they are, your minor-league updates from the week of May 16-22, 2016.

Jewish Baseball News Player of the Week

SS Alex Bregman (Astros/AA) hit .367 with 3 HRs, 2 doubles, 10 RBIs, and 4 walks. The second-year pro is ranked first in the Texas League in on-base percentage (.425), slugging percentage (.658) and OPS (1.083), second in HRs (10/tied), third in RBIs (29), and fifth in batting average (.325) through games played May 22.

Other highlights

Former major leaguer Ike Davis (Rangers/AAA) was on a roll last week, hitting .450 with 2 HRs, 4 doubles, 7 RBIs, and 2 walks. Despite going 0-for-22 to start the season, Davis has lifted his batting average to .263 with 3 HRs, 8 doubles, and 18 RBIs in just 80 at-bats.

Richard Bleier (Yankees/AAA) bounced back from his worst outing of the season with a shutout win on May 22, yielding just three hits and two walks over 6 innings while striking out three. For the season, Bleier is 2-2 with a 2.57 ERA and a 1.17 walks/hits per inning.

C Garrett Stubbs (Astros/High-A) had a great week, hitting .273 with 3 HRs, 10 RBIs, and 6 walks. The highlight was a 2-homer, 4-RBI game on May 18.

LF Mike Meyers (Red Sox/High-A) knocked in 5 runs to boost his season total to 23, tying him for 12th in the Carolina League.

In his first game back after a month on the disabled list, C Maxx Tissenbaum (Marlins/A) went 2-for-2 on May 22.

Over two appearances, reliever Scott Effross (Cubs/A) struck out six batters and walked none in three scoreless innings as well as earned a win. He has three times as many strikeouts (21) as walks (7) this season.

Reliever Jared Lakind (Pirates/AA) skipped High-A ball altogether, but you wouldn’t know it from his performance this season. The 24-year-old Texas native is 0-0 with a 2.53 ERA, and he has a 1.50 ERA with two saves in his last 10 appearances.

Reliever R.C. Orlan (Nationals/High-A) earned his fourth save of the season on May 18 with one-and-two-thirds perfect innings. He’s 1-0 this season with a 1.45 ERA and is holding opposing batters to a .131 average and just 0.96 walk/hits per inning.

Starter Max Fried (Braves/A) pitched five innings of scoreless, one-hit ball on May 19, striking out four while walking as many.

Reliever Jeremy Bleich (Phillies/AA) was perfect in two brief stints, yielding no hits or walks over a combined two-and-a-third innings and striking out one. He’s held opponents scoreless in five of his last six outings.

Reds starter Jon Moscot got clobbered in his second rehab game, a 4-inning shift in which he gave up 11 hits (including 4 HRs), 9 earned runs, and 2 walks.

Mazel tov

Former Colorado Rockies prospect Ethan Katz has landed a job as pitching coach with the Bakersfield Blaze (Seattle Mariners/High-A).

Transactions

Sorry to report that Milwaukee released OF Ben Guez (AAA). A ninth-year pro, Guez is a .258 career hitter with 84 HRs, 94 stolen bases, and a .346 on-base percentage.

Injury updates

Cleveland Indians prospect Rob Kaminsky (AA) remains on the disabled list.

Cincinnati Reds prospect Zack Weiss (AA) remains on the disabled list.

Birthdays

Brewers prospect Jake Drossner (A) turned 22 on May 16.

Former Brewers prospect Steve Braun, the younger brother of slugger Ryan Braun, turned 31 on May 17

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By Scott Barancik, Editor

Here they are, your minor-league updates from the week of May 9-15, 2016.

Highlights

Astros #1 prospect Alex Bregman (AA) hit .286 with 2 HRs, 2 doubles, 5 RBIs, and 3 walks in the week ended May 15. He also made his first professional start at third base, a show of versatility that could ease his eventual rise to the Majors, given that Astros SS Carlos Correa is thought to have the shortstop position locked down. General manager Jeff Luhnow told MLB.com that depending how Bregman does the rest of the season and what sort of spaces open up in Houston, it’s possible the 2015 draftee could be called up later this year. Bregman ranks 1st in the Texas League in on-base percentage (.420), 7th in batting average (.310) and home runs (7/tied), and is homering once in every 12 at-bats.

After enduring a crushing loss on May 9 (3 IP, 9 H, 7 ER, 3 HR, 2 BB, 0 K), St. Louis Cardinals prospect Corey Baker (AA) could have gone into a protracted funk. Instead, the 26-year-old righty rebounded with a dominant 6-inning performance on May 15, yielding one earned run on three hits and two walks while striking out six.

Pittsburgh Pirates prospect Jared Lakind (AA) had three scoreless relief appearances, striking out seven batters over a combined four innings while yielding just one hit and one walk. He also earned his second save of the season.

Washington Nationals prospect Rhett Wiseman (A) drove in eight runs over the week’s final three games to raise his season total to 21, tying him for 11th place in the South Atlantic League. Wiseman hit just .173 in April but is hitting .300 in May.

Pittsburgh Pirates prospect Henry Hirsch (High-A) picked up his first save of the season on May 15 with a perfect inning of relief. For the season, he’s 1-2 with a 3.22 ERA.

In his first week with the Boston Red Sox franchise, former major leaguer Nate Freiman (AA) hit .333 with 3 doubles, 6 RBIs, and 3 walks.

Boston Red Sox prospect Mike Meyers (High-A) hit his third triple, his first two doubles of the season, and drove in six runs to raise his season total to 18. Meyers, who’s hitting .304, is one of very few minor leaguers with more triples than doubles.

Houston Astros prospect Garrett Stubbs (High-A) has reached base safely on all seven steal attempts this season, and he has done so in just 64 at-bats.

Washington Nationals prospect R.C. Orlan (High-A) lowered his ERA to 1.59 with two scoreless relief appearances. He’s 1-0 with three saves in four chances, has held opposing batters to a .143 average, and has yielded just eight hits over 17 innings.

Texas Rangers prospect Jason Richman, a 2015 draftee, held opponents hitless in his first two Double-A relief appearances, yielding two walks over two innings.

Transactions

Injury updates

  • Cleveland Indians prospect Rob Kaminsky (AA) was placed on the 7-day disabled list.
  • Cincinnati Reds prospect Zack Weiss (AA) remains on the disabled list.
  • Miami Marlins prospect Maxx Tissenbaum (A) remains on the disabled list.

Birthdays

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By Scott Barancik, Editor

Here they are, your minor-league updates from the week of May 2-8, 2016.

Highlights

After getting only one hit in his first 22 at-bats, former major leaguer Ike Davis (AAA/Rangers) went 3-for-5 with two doubles and five RBIs on May 2. Davis has reached base in his last six games and had one or more hits in five of them, raising his average to a respectable .257.

OF Zach Borenstein‘s 15 RBIs rank third on the Reno Aces (AAA/Diamondbacks), and he’s accumulated them in just 80 at-bats.

OF Mike Meyers (High-A/Red Sox) went 3-for-5 on May 8, stroking his second HR of the season and stealing his fourth base.

Brad Goldberg (AAA/White Sox) kept opponents scoreless in both relief appearances, yielding a total of two hits and no walks over three innings while striking out two. His overall ERA between AA and AAA ball this season is 2.19.

After tearing the ball apart in AAA, Ryan Kalish was called up by the Cubs and made his season debut May 3.

C Garrett Stubbs (High-A/Astros) has been on fire since returning from the disabled list May 5. In three games last week, he went 5-for-12 (.417) with a double, home run, 3 walks, 4 RBIs, and stolen base. He’s been spectacular behind the plate, throwing out 7 of 10 attempted base stealers with no errors.

CF Rhett Wiseman (A/Nationals) has a 5-game hitting streak and has raised his average to .223. On May 5, he went 4-for-5 with a triple and an RBI.

Jeremy Bleich (AA/Phillies) held batters scoreless in all three relief appearances last week, yielding four hits and two walks over five innings while striking out four.

Richard Bleier (AAA/Yankees) was dominant in his second start of the season May 5, a 7-inning gem in which he gave up six hits, a walk, and one earned run while striking out four.

Former major leaguer Ryan Lavarnway (AAA/Braves) has hit safely in nine of his last 10 games, raising his average to .275 with 7 doubles and 8 RBIs.

Scott Effross (A/Cubs) held opponents scoreless in two relief appearances, yielding one hit and two walks over three innings while striking out six.

Robert Orlan (High-A/Nationals) has earned saves in three of his last four appearances, including a one-inning stint May 8 that trimmed his ERA to 1.88, his opponents’ batting average to .109, and his walks/hits per innings to 1.05.

Transactions

  • Former major leaguer Nate Freiman has signed a minor-league contract with the Boston Red Sox and will suit up with the franchise’s Double-A club, the Portland Sea Dogs. After being released by the Washington Nationals’ Triple-A club last month, Freiman played six games for the independent Long Island Ducks, hitting .381 with two HRs and four RBIs.
  • White Sox prospect Alex Katz was reassigned to extended spring training.

Injury updates

  • Astros #1 prospect Alex Bregman (AA) returned from the disabled list on May 5. For the week, he was 3-for-13 (.231) with four walks and two strikeouts. He hit two doubles on May 6.
  • Former major leaguer Josh Satin is off the disabled list and has played five games with the El Paso Chihuahuas (AAA/Padres).
  • Marlins prospect Maxx Tissenbaum (A) has been placed on the 7-day disabled list retroactive to 4/27/2016.

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By Scott Barancik, Editor

Here they are, your minor-league highlights from the week of April 25-May 1, 2016.

Drossner is near perfect

Brewers Single-A prospect Jake Drossner, a 2015 draftee, was nearly perfect April 28, yielding one hit and no walks over 5 innings of relief while striking out six. It was his first relief appearance of the season after four starts.

Kalish battering hurlers

Former major-leaguer Ryan Kalish is one of the hottest hitters in Triple-A. The Cubs’ farmhand is ranked first in the Pacific Coast League in on-base percentage (.500), second in batting average (.396), and fifth in OPS (1.047). The highlight last week: Kalish singled, doubled, tripled, walked, drove in a run, and made a sliding catch on April 28.

Baker’s trifecta

Cardinals Double-A prospect Corey Baker recorded his third scoreless start in a row on April 28, yielding 2 hits and 2 walks over 5-and-two-thirds innings while striking out 7. Baker’s ERA is a slim 1.29, third-best in the Texas League.

Kaminsky settles in

Indians #10 prospect Rob Kaminsky settled down after a couple rough mid-April starts in Double-A. He yielded one earned run over 5 innings on April 26 and one earned run over 6-and-two-thirds innings on May 1, reducing his ERA from 6.60 to 4.39.

Orlan’s saves

Nationals High-A prospect Robert “R.C.” Orlan has two saves in his last three relief appearances and is limiting opponents to 1.05 walks and hits per inning.

Short hits

  • Diamondbacks Triple-A prospect Zach Borenstein has hit .391 with a home run and 6 RBIs over his last 10 games.
  • Astros #1 prospect Alex Bregman was placed on the disabled list April 23 with an injured hamstring. The fast-rising 2015 draftee started 2016 with a bang, stroking 5 HRs with 14 RBIs and six walks in just 50 at-bats.
  • Former major-leaguer Ike Davis has just one hit in 22 at-bats with the Rangers’ Triple-A team.

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By Scott Barancik, Editor

Here are minor-league highlights from the week of April 11-17.

Bregman’s power trip

It was a jaw-dropping week for No. 1 Astros prospect Alex Bregman. The No. 2 overall pick in the 2015 amateur draft tore up Double-A pitching with a total of 5 HRs — more than he hit in all of 2015 — and 12 RBIs on .440 hitting, including three HRs over a stretch of eight at-bats. They weren’t your average round-trippers, either. The 22-year-old shortstop hit two HRs on Monday (including a walk-off shot in the 12th inning), a solo shot on Tuesday (4/12/2016), and a grand-slam HR on Friday. Best sign that Bregman is playing at the right level? He only struck out three times. Don’t be surprised if Bregman is named the Texas League’s Player of the Week. He has hit safely in all 10 games this season. In 2015, Bregman hit a total of 4 home runs. Check out this article on his rapid progress.

Bregman’s grand slam

Kalish’s on-base onslaught

Opposing pitchers couldn’t keep former major-leaguer Ryan Kalish off the base paths last week. Playing for the Cubs’ Triple-A team, the 28-year-old left fielder hit .438, walked 4 times, and didn’t strike out once.

Meyers’ triple threat

Mike Meyers, a left fielder with Boston’s High-A club, tripled twice last week. He’s one of only five Carolina League players with 2 or more triples so far.

Sonabend’s surprise

Adam Sonabend‘s future in pro ball looked dim. He went undrafted out of college, an experience so painful that he blogged about it on Gabe Kapler’s website. Although the San Francisco Giants signed him as an undrafted free agent, he spent the entire 2015 season as a bullpen catcher, logging only two at-bats. But the Giants must have seen something in the 23-year-old catcher, because Sonabend’s already caught three games for the franchise’s Low-A team, where he’s hitting .308 with 1 RBI. He’ll have to do something about opposing runners, however, who are 8-for-8 in stolen bases against him so far.

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