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By Scott Barancik, editor

Alex Bregman didn’t have to go to college.

By his senior year in high school, in 2012, he had led the USA Baseball 18-and-under National Team to a gold medal, just as he had done with the 16-and-under National Team before. He had set a New Mexico single-season record with 18 HRs. ESPN had named him the No. 3 prospect among high school catchers nationwide, and Baseball America rated him among the top 150 draft prospects overall.

But Alex Bregman didn’t want to go pro just yet, and so he signed on to play for Louisiana State University.

Lucky for LSU, which plays UCLA this evening in the 8-team College World Series (8pm EST on ESPN2). As a freshman in 2013, Bregman led the LSU Tigers during the regular season in batting average (.380), doubles (18), triples (7), runs (59), and stolen bases (16 out of 17 attempts), and his season included a 23-game hitting streak. He also has won a raft of awards, including:

  • Freshman Hitter of the Year (National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association)
  • National Freshman of the Year (Baseball America)
  • SEC Freshman of the Year
  • All-SEC Baseball First Team, Shortstop
  • Invited to play this summer for Team USA during its 33-game international tour

Bregman also is one of three finalists currently vying for the Brooks Wallace Award, which recognizes the best college shortstop in the country.

In its 2013 College World Series preview, Baseball America wrote that Bregman, a “converted catcher,” “plays shortstop like a pro, not like a freshman.” It went on to say that “Bregman has special leadership qualities; he is the kind of player that championship teams are often built around.”

Here’s a video interview in which Bregman reflects on his decision to attend LSU rather than go pro in 2012.

Bregman’s teammate (and fellow Jew) Mason Katz — who was selected by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 4th round of this month’s amateur draft — hit .366 during the regular season (second only to Bregman) and led the team with 15 HRs, 68 RBIs, 37 walks, a .454 on-base percentage, and a .630 slugging percentage.

In tonight’s College World Series game, Bregman and Katz will square off against UCLA, whose pitching staff includes Zach Weiss. Weiss is a recent 6th round draft pick of the Cincinnati Reds.

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June recruits push current pro total to 65

By Scott Barancik/Jewish Baseball News

Major League teams drafted at least 13 Jewish amateurs in June and signed at least two undrafted players. Since then at least 10 have signed, pushing the current number of MOTs in the majors and minors to 65.

So who are the Fab 15? A complete list is included in the table below. Here are some other facts about them:

  • Nine of the 15 were selected out of college, and the remaining six from high school.
  • Four of the 15 decided to forego the pros temporarily in order to attend college. The only draftee we’re uncertain about is Macalester College alum Mitch Glasser. In a great interview with Rabbi Jeremy Fine, Glasser said he expected to sign with the White Sox and join the franchise in Spring 2013, but his status remains unconfirmed.
  • Baseball America ranked recent high-school grads Alex Bregman and Rhett Wiseman among the top 150 amateurs available in the 2012 draft but correctly predicted that both would choose to attend college now. The publication said scouts “love (Wiseman’s) athleticism and raw tools,” and it pointed out that Bregman broke New Mexico’s single-season high-school home run record last year with 18.
  • One recruit, Tampa Bay Rays prospect Sean Bierman, already has been promoted to Class A. Given the Rays’ reputation for finding bargains, it’s perhaps no surprise that Bierman received just $5,000 for signing.
  • Max Fried, an 18-year-old pitcher from Van Nuys, Calif., was the 7th overall pick in the June 2012 draft, making him the fifth-highest Jewish draft pick of all time. He also earned a tidy $3-million bonus. Baseball America calls him “cerebral and determined,” as well as a possible No. 1 or No. 2 starter in the majors.
1Max Fried (P)San Diego Padres (1/7)YesAZL Padres (Rookie)
2Jon Moscot (P)Cincinnati Reds (4/142)YesBillings Mustangs (Rookie)
3Sean Bierman (P)Tampa Bay Rays (10/332)YesBowling Green Hot Rods (A)
4Maxx Tissenbaum (2B)San Diego Padres (11/345)YesEugene Emeralds (A-short season)
5Eric Jaffe (P)Chicago White Sox (11/351)YesBristol White Sox (Rookie)
6Sam Kimmel (C)Baltimore Orioles (18/552)YesAberdeen Iron Birds (A-short season)
7Jeremy Schaffer (1B)St. Louis Cardinals (18/570)YesJohnson City Cardinals (Rookie)
8Jake Drossner (P)Chicago Cubs (23/704)NoUniv. of Maryland
9Rhett Wiseman (OF)Chicago Cubs (25/764)NoVanderbilt
10Alex Bregman (2B)Boston Red Sox (29/901)NoLSU
11Jacob Kapstein (P)Detroit Tigers (35/1084)YesGCL Tigers (Rookie)
12Max Ungar (C)Washington Nat'ls (36/1104)NoDenison Univ.
13Mitch Glasser (2B)Chicago White Sox (39/1191)UnknN.A.
14Jacob Booden (P)St. Louis Cardinals (undrafted)YesJohnson City Cardinals (Rookie)
15Tim Remes (C)Detroit Tigers (undrafted)YesConnecticut Tigers (A-short season)
Source: Jewish Baseball News, Jewish Sports Review, and reader input

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