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Israel's bench empties after Sunday's series-clinching win

By Scott Barancik, Editor

Israel’s first two wins in the World Baseball Classic qualifiers were fairly close affairs, but the team crushed Great Britain 9-1 in the finals Sunday night to sweep the tournament and earn its first-ever trip to the main WBC event, which will take place in March 2017.

Israel dominated equally from the mound and the plate. Starter Jason Marquis and reliever Josh Zeid maintained a perfect game until one out in the 7th inning, and a no-hitter until two outs in the 8th. Zeid, who notched the win, led all qualifier pitchers with 9 strikeouts in the series. Dean Kremer, a 20-year-old Los Angeles Dodgers prospect who this summer became the first Israeli to be drafted by a Major League team, held Great Britain scoreless in the 9th despite yielding 2 hits.

Israel’s bats thundered, beginning with two 2-run home runs in the 5th inning. Blake Gailen, a 5’9″ outfielder making his first appearance in the tournament and batting last in the order, crushed the first round-tripper. Next was C Ryan Lavarnway, who later in the game stroked an RBI single.

3B Cody Decker, the San Diego Padres’ all-time minor-league home run leader, added a solo shot in the 7th inning. RF Zach Borenstein — who made a diving catch in the 5th to preserve Israel’s perfect game — contributed an RBI triple, and DH Charlie Cutler delivered a 2-run double. SS Scotty Burcham led Israel with three hits.

“This is very emotional. Highly emotional,” Decker told MLB.com. “More emotional than I’m letting on.”

In 2012, Israel lost a heartbreaker to Spain in the 10th inning of the qualifying final. That team was managed by Brad Ausmus, who went on to become manager of the Detroit Tigers.

Israel’s win Sunday earned it the 16th and final berth in the 2017 WBC tournament, which will begin in Seoul, South Korea. The team likely will add a few current Major Leaguers and high-level prospects to its roster, given that MLB will still be in off-season mode then.

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By Scott Barancik, editor

Nu, so what’s going on in the Minors?

Cody Decker — the San Diego Padres’ all-time minor-league HR leader and a participant in this month’s Triple-A Home Run Derby — has hit three HRs since the All-Star break, including Thursday’s solo shot (7/23/2015). The El Paso Chihuahuhas star has 18 HRs, and he’s hitting them at a league-leading pace of one in every 14 at-bats.

Jeff Urlaub is back from Tommy John surgery, albeit in a rehab assignment with the rookie-league AZL Athletics. In his first game in more than 14 months, the 28-year-old reliever pitched a scoreless inning of relief Thursday, striking out two batters and walking one. Mazel tov, Jeff!

At age 28 and in his first season with the Washington Nationals franchise, 2012 Team Israel member Richard Bleier is enjoying his best season yet. Check out this write-up in the Nats’ hometown paper, a modest rag called the Washington Post. And if you wish, check out JBN’s recent article on the lanky southpaw, too.

Diamondbacks prospect Zach Borenstein continues to tear-up Double-A pitching. Yesterday, he smashed his 10th HR in 220 at-bats, a 2-run shot that ran his RBI total to 50. The 25-year-old left fielder is hitting .318 with a .408 OBP and .958 OPS.

Charlie Cutler, who was batting .380 for the Salt Lake Bees (AAA) when the Angels released him earlier this month, remains unsigned. Why? Insiders agree the 28-year-old can hit. Owner of a .306 career average and .393 on-base percentage, the 2008 draftee is tough to strike out and walks as often as he whiffs, a rarity these days. But Cutler’s catching skills are uneven (he nixed only 2 of 23 stolen-base attempts in Triple-A this year), and with no more than 5 home runs per season, he lacks the power expected of a first baseman or designated hitter. Rough game, baseball is.

Dave Rosenfield, who served as general manager of the Norfolks Tides (AAA) from 1963 to 2011, hasn’t retired just yet. Among other duties, the 86-year-old vice president still creates the International League’s (AAA) entire season schedule by hand. You can learn about Dave’s storied baseball career in his 2013 book, Baseball: One Helluva Life.

SUNY-Purchase alum Mike Skoller has signed to play in the independent Ozarks Pro Baseball League, a newly-formed league that has a unique plan for moving players onto MLB-affiliated teams.

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For 3 minor leaguers, new teams

By Scott Barancik, editor

Twenty-three minor-league players were selected in the Triple-A phase of today’s (12/12/2013) Rule 5 draft, and three of them are Jewish.

  • The San Diego Padres acquired St. Louis Cardinals prospect Jake Lemmerman. A 24-year-old shortstop out of Duke University, Lemmerman has hit .273 over his 4-year career with the Cardinals and Los Angeles Dodgers franchises. He has never played above the Double-A level.
  • The Toronto Blue Jays selected Texas Rangers prospect Richard Bleier. A 6th-round draft pick of the Rangers in 2008, the 26-year-old reliever recorded a best-ever 3.32 ERA in 2013 for the franchise’s Double-A and Triple-A teams. Bleier has a career record of 33-44 with a 4.46 ERA, 3 shutouts, 4 complete games, and 5 saves.
  • The Chicago Cubs picked up Pittsburgh Pirates prospect Charlie Cutler. A .303 lifetime hitter who has never played at the Triple-A level, the 27-year-old catcher has tossed out 72 of the 229 runners who have tried to steal on him, or 24 percent. This is the second time Cutler has been selected in a Rule 5 draft; the Pirates acquired him from the St. Louis Cardinals in 2011.

Lemmerman, Bleier and Cutler all played on Team Israel during the 2012 qualifiers for the World Baseball Classic. No Jewish players were selected in the Major League or Double-A portions of today’s Rule 5 draft.

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By Scott Barancik/Jewish Baseball News

With the regular season now underway, we’re taking a quick look back at how Jewish players performed in spring training.

The sheer number who played was impressive: a total of at least 24 Jews — 18 position players and six pitchers — got on the field for at least one MLB game this spring.

BATTING

Collectively,  position players hit .255 with 14 HRs and 64 RBIs in 384 at-bats (see table below). Several stood out:

  • Kevin Youkilis had an eye-popping debut with the New York Yankees. He led all Jewish players (as well as all Yankees) with 6 HRs, 6 doubles and 14 RBIs in just 50 at-bats, along with an .800 slugging percentage and a 1.139 OPS (on-base plus slugging).
  • New York Mets prospect Josh Satin made the most of his 16 plate appearances, cobbling together 3 singles, 2 doubles, 5 walks, and 3 RBIs to amass a .455 batting average and .647 on-base percentage.
  • Ike Davis, another Met, showed great poise at the plate, hitting .327 with 4 doubles, 1 HR, and 4 RBIs. Davis’s 9 walks boosted his on-base percentage to a healthy .431.
  • Danny Valencia lost his fight for a spot on the Baltimore Orioles’ opening-day roster but made a good impression on his new team, hitting .323 with 1 HR, 4 RBIs, and a .417 on-base percentage.
  • Maxx Tissenbaum, a 21-year-old San Diego Padres prospect with one minor-league season under his belt, knocked in 3 runs in just 4 at-bats.
  • St. Louis Cardinals prospect Adam Ehrlich walked in both of his plate appearances, St. Louis Cardinals prospect Charlie Cutler singled in his only appearance of the spring, and San Diego Padres prospect Cody Decker went 3-for-6 with a double.

Final hitting stats, 2013 MLB Spring Training

 
TEAM
G
AB
H
HR
RBI
AVG
OBP
Ryan BraunMIL1023636.261.357
Charlie CutlerSTL111001.0001.000
Ike DavisNYM21551815.327.431
Cody DeckerSD26300.500.500
Adam EhrlichSTL30000-1.000
Nate Freiman*HOU/OAK25541319.241.268
Sam FuldTB820514.250.286
Adam GreenbergBAL21000.000.000
Ben GuezDET11000.000.000
Ian KinslerTEX24631419.222.292
Ryan LavarnwayBOS1644606.136.188
Jake LemmermanSTL11000.000.000
Joc PedersonLAD710101.100.182
Kevin PillarTOR79100.111.111
Josh SatinNYM1211503.455.647
Maxx TissenbaumSD44103.250.400
Danny ValenciaBAL17311014.323.417
Kevin YoukilisNYY185014614.280.339
* Now with Oakland A's
Source: Jewish Baseball News collection of data from MLB.com, baseball-reference.com, and cbssports.com.

 

PITCHING

Among the six Jewish pitchers who played in at least one spring training game (see below), these ones stood out:

  • Houston Astros prospect Josh Zeid went 1-0 with a 1.50 ERA in six relief appearances, held opposing players to a .235 batting average, and drew 3.33 times as many groundouts as flyouts.
  • San Diego Padres veteran Jason Marquis went 1-1 with a 3.74 ERA in six starts and held opponents to a .239 batting average.
  • Toronto Blue Jays prospect Michael Schwimer earned a 3.00 ERA in three relief appearances and limited opposing teams to a .182 batting average.
  • Scott Feldman stood out for less desirable reasons. The newly-minted Chicago Cub went 0-3 with an 11.25 ERA, gave up nearly 2 hits per inning, yielded 7 HRs, and got lit up by opposing batters to the tune of a .396 average.

Final pitching stats, 2013 MLB Spring Training

 
 
TEAM
W
L
ERA
G
IP
H
BB
SO
1Jeremy BleichNYY000.0010.1000
2Scott FeldmanCHC0311.25620.038617
3Jason MarquisSD113.74621.2211515
4Danny Rosenbaum*COL214.5068.0930
5Michael SchwimerTOR003.0033.0224
6Josh ZeidHOU101.5066.0442
* Now with Washington Nationals
Source: Jewish Baseball News collection of data from MLB.com, baseball-reference.com, and cbssports.com.

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By Scott Barancik/Jewish Baseball News

Team Israel defeated South Africa 7-3 on Wednesday night (9/19/2012) to take Game 1 of the World Baseball Classic qualifiers held in Jupiter, Fla. (see video recap and box score).

The greatest Jewish team in baseball history earned its victory both at the plate and on the mound, hitting a collective .278 while holding South Africa to just 3 hits and an .097 batting average. With the exception of a 9th-inning error, Team Israel dispatched grounders and fly balls with ease and worked well together despite its players’ relative unfamiliarity with one another.

San Diego Padres prospect Nate Freiman (1B) put Israel on the board with a solo HR in the 1st inning and followed up with another solo shot in the 9th (see video). Pittsburgh Pirates prospect Charlie Cutler (C) drove in three runs with a bases-loaded double down the right-field line in the 8th inning to break open the game (see video).

Strong pitching kept the score a close 1-0 through the sixth inning. South Africa starter Dylan Unsworth, a Seattle Mariners prospect, struck out 6 batters and walked none while scattering 5 hits across the six innings. Team Israel starter (and Cleveland Indians prospect) Eric Berger was lifted after three scoreless innings to avoid a 50-pitch threshold that, under WBC rules, would have kept him out of service for four days. Arizona Diamondbacks prospect Brett Lorin followed with two-and-a-third scoreless innings, and Houston Astros prospect Josh Zeid earned post-game kudos from manager Brad Ausmus for getting Team Israel out of a sixth-inning jam. Zeid entered the game with men on second and third and one out but retired the meat of South Africa’s order without giving up a run.

“A big momentum shift,” Ausmus said of Zeid’s stint.

Shlomo Lipetz, the only native Israeli to take the field Wednesday night, was charged with all three South African runs after giving up three walks in a shaky 9th-inning appearance. Teammates nevertheless greeted him with smiles and fist bumps after he was replaced by Israel’s sixth and final hurler of the 3-hour, 16-minute game, New York Mets prospect Jeff Kaplan.

Among the most anticipated appearances of the night was that of Team Israel player-coach Shawn Green (DH). The most accomplished person in uniform Wednesday — his 328 HRs over a 15-year MLB career are second only to Hank Greenberg‘s 331 among Jewish pros — Green also was the oldest, at 39, and hadn’t played baseball since retiring in 2007.

He looked overmatched in his first two trips at the plate, striking out on three pitches in the 2nd inning and grounding weakly into the evening’s only double play in the 4th. But Green’s baseball instincts seemed to take over afterward. After grounding-out sharply to shortstop in the 6th inning, he legged-out an infield single in the 8th inning, took second base on a passed ball, and scored on Cutler’s double. In the 9th inning, he added a bloop single to left field but proceeded to second base after South Africa’s Karl Weitz bobbled the ball, ending the night 2-for-5.

Team Israel’s second game will take place Friday (9/21) at 1:00pm EST against the winner of Thursday’s contest between Spain and France and will be streamed online at www.worldbaseballclassic.com. The eventual winner of the four-team, double-elimination qualifying tournament will advance to the main World Baseball Classic competition in March 2013.

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It’s here: Team Israel reveals its roster

By Scott Barancik/Jewish Baseball News

The long wait to see which players will represent Israel at World Baseball Classic qualifiers this week is over.

Team Israel’s 28-man roster (see below) includes two former Major Leaguers (player/coaches Shawn Green and Gabe Kapler), three Israelis, and 23 minor-leaguers. Because the MLB season is still underway, no current Major Leaguers are on the roster. Also missing are a number of Triple-A and even Double-A players whose teams wanted them around as potential call-ups later this month.

The double-elimination tournament takes place Sept. 19-23 in Jupiter, Fla., and pits Israel against teams from France, Spain, and South Africa. Whoever prevails will earn a spot in the main World Basic Classic competition, in November 2013. If Israel wins, the team it fields in 2013 likely will include a number of Major Leaguers (such as Kevin Youkilis, who already has committed to play) and Triple-A players.

Additional commentary on this week’s roster is shown below the table.

Team Israel: Roster for the WBC qualifying tourney
No.
Player
Pos.
Age
Hometown
Minor-league team
Parent club
27COLVIN, DavidRHP23Mill Valley, CAClinton LumberKings (A)Seattle Mariners
34KAPLAN, JeffRHP27Dana Point, CABinghamton Mets (AA)New York Mets
36KOPP, DavidRHP26Coral Springs, FLErie SeaWolves (AA)Detroit Tigers
16LEICHMAN, AlonRHP23Kibbutz Gezer, IsraelN.A.N.A.
22LIPETZ, ShlomoRHP33Tel Aviv, IsraelN.A.N.A.
10LORIN, BrettRHP25Laguna Niguel, CAMobile Bay Bears (AA)Arizona Diamondbacks
21PERLMAN, MaxRHP24Jupiter, FLStockton Ports (A+)Oakland A's
(-)ROTHEM, DanRHP35Tel Aviv, IsraelN.A.N.A.
26SCHUMER, JustinRHP24Houston, TXSan Jose Giants (A+)San Francisco Giants
28ZEID, JoshRHP25New Haven, CTCorpus Christi Hooks (AA)Houston Astros
14BERGER, EricLHP26Goldsboro, NCColumbus Clippers (AAA)Cleveland Indians
35BLEIER, RichardLHP25Davie, FLFrisco Roughriders (AA)Texas Rangers
17GOULD, JeremyLHP24Buffalo Grove, ILSavannah Sand Gnats (A)New York Mets
29URLAUB, JeffLHP25Scottsdale, AZStockton Ports (A+)Oakland A's
37CUTLER, CharlieC26San Fransico, CAAltoona Curve (AA)Pittsburgh Pirates
3MARDER, JackC/IF22Calabasas, CAHigh Desert Mavericks (A+)Seattle Mariners
19RICKLES, NickC22Ft. Lauderdale, FLBurlington Bees (A+)Oakland A's
6DECKER, Cody1B25Santa Monica, CASan Antonio Missions (AA)San Diego Padres
25FREIMAN, Nate1B25Wellesley, MASan Antonio Missions (AA)San Diego Padres
9ORLOFF, Ben2B25Simi Valley, CACorpus Christi Hooks (AA)Houston Astros
2SATIN, Josh2B27Hidden Hills, CABuffalo Bisons (AAA)New York Mets
33HAERTHER, Casey3B24West Hills, CAArkansas Travelers (AA)Los Angeles Angels
7LEMMERMAN, JakeSS23Coronoa del Mar, CAChattanooga Lookouts (AA)Los Angeles Dodgers
15GREEN, ShawnOF39Des Plaines, ILN.A.N.A.
24GUEZ, BenOF25Houston, TXToledo Mud Hens (AAA)Detroit Tigers
18KAPLER, GabeOF37Hollywood, CAN.A.N.A.
31PEDERSON, JocOF20Palo Ato, CARancho Cucamonga Quakes (A+)Los Angeles Dodgers
23WIDLANSKY, RobbieOF/3B27Plantation, FLBowie Baysox (AA)Baltimore Orioles

Here are some other facts and observations on Team Israel’s roster for the qualifiers:

  • Of the 23 minor leaguers on the roster, three ended the 2012 season with a Triple-A team, 12 at the Double-A level, six at A-advanced, and two with a Single-A team.
  • Adam Greenberg, a former Major Leaguer who is trying to mount a comeback, was invited to Jupiter for tryouts but is not on the roster.
  • Josh Satin, who played briefly for the New York Mets in 2011 and 2012, is the only player with MLB experience.
  • The youngest player on the roster is 20-year-old outfielder Joc Pederson, who is ranked the Los Angeles Dodgers’ No. 3 prospect by MLB.com. The oldest player is 39-year-old Shawn Green, whose 15-year MLB career included five seasons with the Dodgers and ended with the New York Mets in 2007. Green’s 328 career HRs are second only to Hank Greenberg’s 331 among Jewish ballplayers.
  • Israeli player Alon Leichman plays for Cypress College, a community college in California.
  • During the qualifiers for the 2012 European Championship, Israeli pitcher Shlomo Lipetz was masterful, giving up just one earned run over 16-and-a-third innings while striking out 18 and walking three.
  • Three players on Team Israel are 6-foot-7-inches tall: pitchers Brett Lorin and Max Perlman, and 1B Nate Freiman. At 5-foot-8-inches, Alon Leichman is the shortest.
  • Nate Freiman and Cody Decker, teammates on the San Antonio Missions (AA), finished 2nd and 3rd in HRs this season among Texas League players.

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Aaron Poreda

Charlie Cutler

JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — True to their name, the Pittsburgh Pirates plundered two Jewish minor-leaguers on the cheap in the recent Rule 5 draft.

One target was St. Louis Cardinals prospect Charlie Cutler. In 2011, the 25-year-old catcher hit a team-high .333 with the Springfield Cardinals (AA) and .404 with runners in scoring position, inspiring Jewish Baseball News to name him its Minor-League Comeback Player of the Year.

The Pirates also picked up reliever Aaron Poreda from the San Diego Padres. Also 25, Poreda has some major-league experience, having played for both the Chicago White Sox and the Padres in 2009, but has never lived up to his potential. In 2011 he went 4-3 with a 5.43 ERA for the Tucson Padres (AAA).

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JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — More than 50 Jewish athletes played minor-league baseball in 2011, and Jewish Baseball News has identified the very best.

Here is our 2011 list of the top Jewish minor-leaguers:

Lenny Linsky, P
Winner: Best rookie pitcher
Bowling Green Hot Rods (A)
Hudson Valley Renegages (A-short season)
Franchise: Tampa Bay Rays

 A 21-year-old in his first pro season, Linsky was 3-0 with 3 saves, a 1.23 ERA, 30 strikeouts, and just 7 walks in 29-and-1/3 innings. He held opposing batters to a .204 batting average.

Max Perlman, P
Runner-up: Best rookie pitcher
Sacramento River Cats (AAA)
AZL Athletics (Rookie)
Franchise: Oakland Athletics

Perlman’s story is among the season’s most interesting. Selected by Oakland in the 35th round of the 2011 amateur draft, the 23-year-old played just 13 games of rookie-league ball before the franchise’s AAA squad called him up. In his first AAA start, Perlman gave up only a single and a walk in five innings. For the season he went a combined 3-2 with a 2.63 ERA, 47 strikeouts, 13 walks, and an opposing-batter average of .187.

Nick Rickles, C
Winner: Best rookie batter
Vermont Lake Monsters (A-short season)
AZL Athletics (Rookie)
Franchise: Oakland Athletics

The 21-year-old rookie hit .310 this season with 2 HRs, 11 doubles, 2 triples, and 35 RBIs in 168 at-bats. Rickles had an on-base percentage of .370 and stole 6 bases in 7 attempts.

Zach Borenstein, LF
Runner-up: Best rookie batter
AZL Angels (rookie league)
Franchise: Los Angeles Angels

A first-year pro, Borenstein accomplished a lot in just 113 at-bats, hitting 2 HRs, 4 triples, 6 doubles, and driving in 21 runs. Although the 21-year-old hit a relatively modest .274, he hit .315 with runners in scoring position and had an on-base percentage of .397. Borenstein also stole an impressive 12 bases in 13 tries.

Charlie Cutler, C
Winner: Comeback player
Springfield Cardinals (AA)
Franchise: St. Louis Cardinals

Cutler fared so poorly with the Springfield Cardinals early last season that the franchise demoted him. His bad luck continued into the 2011 season, with injuries keeping him out of action much of the first several months. But the 25-year-old returned with a vengeance, ending the year with a team-high .333 average as well as 5 HRs, 34 RBIs, and a .404 average with runners in scoring position.

Danny Rosenbaum, P
Winner: Best starting pitcher
Potomac Nationals (A)
Harrisburg Senators (AA)
Franchise: Washington Nationals

Rosenbaum amassed a 9-6 record and a 2.52 ERA while striking out 135 batters and walking 52. The 23-year-old was particularly effective against lefties, whom he held scoreless across 10-and-2/3 innings.

Brett Lorin, P
Runner-up: Best starting pitcher
Bradenton Marauders (A-advanced)
Franchise: Pittsburgh Pirates

Lorin finished the year with a 2.84 ERA, 99 strikeouts, and just 19 walks. Though thin run support left him with a middling 7-6 record, the 24-year-old went 5-2 during the season’s second half and held opposing teams to a .230 batting average.

Michael Schwimer, P
Winner: Best reliever
Lehigh Valley IronPigs (AAA)
Franchise: Philadelphia Phillies

One of three Jewish minor-leaguers to reach the Majors this year, Schwimer baffled AAA batters, going 9-1 with 10 saves and a 1.85 ERA. The 25-year-old averaged 1.25 strikeouts per inning versus just 0.32 walks.

Jeff Urlaub, P
Runner-up: Best reliever
Burlington Bees (A)
Vermont Lake Monsters (A-short season)
Franchise: Oakland A’s

Urlaub finished the 2011 season with a 4-3 record, 5 saves, and a 2.41 ERA. The 24-year-old held opposing teams to a .217 batting average and struck out 7 times as many batters as he walked.

Ryan Lavarnway, C
Winner: Most Valuable Player
Pawtucket Red Sox (AAA)
Portland Sea Dogs (AA)
Franchise: Boston Red Sox

One of three Jewish minor-leaguers to reach the Majors this year, Lavarnway had career highs in batting average (.290) and HRs (32) while driving in 93 runs. The 24-year-old’s combination of plate discipline and power resulted in a .376 on-base percentage and .563 slugging percentage.

Josh Satin, 2B
Runner-up: Most valuable player
Buffalo Bisons (AAA)
Binghamton Mets (AA)
Franchise: New York Mets

One of three Jewish minor-leaguers to reach the Majors this season, Satin hit a career-high .323 with 12 HRs, 43 doubles, 2 triples, and 76 RBIs. The 26-year-old struck out 124 times but also drew 71 walks, giving him a .411 on-base percentage.

Nate Freiman, 1B
Honorable mention: Most Valuable Player
Lake Elsinore Storm (A-advanced)
Franchise: San Diego Padres

In his third year as a pro, Freiman batted .288 and led the Storm with 22 HRs and 111 RBIs. The 24-year-old’s RBI total was third-highest in the California League.

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JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — Middle East politics got you down? Strike out again at the company softball game?

Cheer up! Life is good for Jewish baseball fans these days. Here are 12 reasons to smile:

  1. So far this season, MLB Jews are out-hitting their peers .266 to .257, and out-slugging them .460 to .400.
  2. At least 59 Jews currently play major- or minor-league ball, with many more playing in independent leagues or overseas. And the list is growing.
  3. The topic of Judaism probably didn’t come up last week when sports radio celeb Jim Rome interviewed former outfielder Shawn Green about his new book, The Way of Baseball: Finding Stillness at 95 mph. And while some listeners may have known Green is Jewish, few would have guessed that Rome is, too.
  4. For the first time, Israel is being given a chance to compete in the World Baseball Classic. At least half a dozen current or former American pros have publicly expressed interest in playing for or coaching Team Israel in the 2012 competition, including Jewish home-run king Shawn Green, Texas Rangers 2B Ian Kinsler, Milwaukee Brewers LF Ryan Braun (whose father was born in Israel), and St. Louis Cardinals prospect Charlie Cutler.
  5. Speaking of Israel, last week the country hosted a qualifying tournament for the 2012 European Championship — and narrowly missed winning the tourney itself. Team Israel made it to the finals against Great Britain but lost the series 2 games to 1. Particularly impressive was 32-year-old Shlomo Lipetz, an Israeli native and New York resident who gave up just one earned run in 16.33 innings during the tournament while striking out 18 batters and walking three.
  6. Coming off an injury-laden season in which he missed a third of his team’s games, Boston Red Sox 3B Kevin Youkilis (.275/16 hr/76 rbi) is once again among A.L. leaders in multiple categories. Youk is ranked 5th in on-base percentage (.389), 7th in RBIs (76/tie), 8th in doubles (28/tie), and 10th in wins above replacement (4.1 wins/tie), a measure of a player’s total offensive and defensive contributions to his team. Youkilis has been typically fearless (or perhaps nuts) at the plate, where he ranks 2nd in times hit by pitch, with 12. And despite having to switch back from first base to third this season, he’s 2nd among A.L. third basemen in putouts (73) and 3rd in fielding percentage (.968).
  7. The St. Louis Jewish Light published an article last week about 3 of the 4 Jews who play on the Springfield Cardinals, the St. Louis Cardinals’ “AA” team: C Charlie Cutler (see above), P David Kopp, and P Scott Schneider. (The fourth Jewish player for Springfield, CF James Rapoport, arrived after the article was written.) Cutler, who told the Light he’d “love to play for Israel” in the World Baseball Classic, has made the most of an injury-shortened season. In just 143 at-bats he’s hitting .364 with 4 HRs, 27 RBIs, a .423 on-base percentage, and a .503 slugging percentage.
  8. Milwaukee Brewers LF Ryan Braun (.322/21 hr/73 rbi) is enjoying one of the best seasons of his 5-year career. He has yet to make an error in the field for the first-place Brewers; ranks 2nd among N.L. players in batting average (.322) and power-speed combination; 3rd in wins above replacement (5.1), slugging percentage (.585), total bases (213), and extra-base hits (50); 5th in RBIs (72); 6th in runs scored (68) and on-base percentage (.394); 7th in HRs (21); and 10th in doubles (26). Braun’s 19 stolen bases are one shy of a career best, and he’s one of few players this season with a legitimate shot at joining the “30-30” club — players with 30-plus HRs and stolen bases in a single year.
  9. Most minor-leaguers see their performance dip after being promoted to a higher league, but not C Ryan Lavarnway. The Boston Red Sox prospect and Yale philosophy alum has been on fire since moving up from “AA” Portland to “AAA” Pawtucket mid-season, where he is batting .343 (versus .284 in Portland) with 13 HRs, 16 doubles, and 42 RBIs in just 169 at-bats, along with a .425 on-base percentage and .669 slugging percentage.
  10. ESPN Boston recently published a terrific article on Lavarnway and fellow Red Sox prospect Matt Kramer, a former catcher and Ivy League rival (Harvard) who was released by the Atlanta Braves franchise last year and is trying to reinvent himself as a pitcher. Viewing the statistics on Kramer’s growing pains is a curious joy. In 6 games and 5 total innings with Boston’s rookie-league team, the St. Louis native has faced 28 batters without giving up a single hit. However, he has walked 11 opponents, hit 3 more, struck out none, and recorded a 5.40 ERA. Who wouldn’t want to go watch this kid pitch?
  11. Just to prove you never know who’s Jewish: the most recent Jewish player to be signed by a major-league club, Tampa Bay Rays recruit Dave Laufer, attended Jesuit-founded Boston College. And he did so after graduating from Christian Brothers Academy. (Thanks to Jewish Baseball News contributor Bill Ressler for the tip on Laufer’s hiring.)
  12. Can you imagine an MLB team composed entirely of Jewish players? A fiction writer named Ross Ufberg can. The Jewish Daily Forward is now publishing weekly installments of his story about the Lions of Zion, an N.L. team playing in 1933. Here are links to chapters one and two.

— Scott Barancik, Editor

Jewish Baseball News

August 3, 2011

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Jews playing key role in minor-league playoffs

JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — How are Jewish players doing in the minor-league playoffs? Here is an overview, starting with players whose teams are still in the mix, and followed by those already celebrating victory or recently ousted.

Fighting for a championship

The Columbus Clippers (Cleveland Indians) are fighting for the International League (AAA) championship, and 2B Jason Kipnis is doing his best to help. Called up Tuesday (9/14/2010) from the “AA” Akron Aeros, the 23-year-old contributed immediately, going 2/4 with a walk and 3 runs scored in an 18-5, Game 1 victory over the Durham Bulls.

The Memphis Redbirds (St. Louis Cardinals) lost Game 1 of the Pacific Coast League (AAA) championship series to the Tacoma Rainiers, 5-3. Memphis CF James Rapoport went 1/5 with a double in the loss. During a 1st-round sweep of the Oklahoma City RedHawks, he went a combined 7/11 with 2 RBIs, 2 walks and a stolen base.

Each of the two teams battling for the Carolina League (A-advanced) championship features a Jewish pitcher. In fact, one opened Game 1, while the other opened Game 2:

  • In Game 1 of the series (9/14/2010), SP Danny Rosenbaum of the Potomac Nationals (Washington Nationals) gave up 6 hits and 1 earned run over 4 and 1/3 innings in a 4-0 loss to the Winston-Salem Dash. Rosenbaum had a disastrous start earlier in the playoffs, giving up 7 earned runs over one inning in a 10-9 loss to the Frederick Keys (9/8/2010). (The Keys’ starter that night did slightly worse, giving up 8 runs, 6 of them earned, in just 2/3 of an inning.)
  • In Game 2 of the series (9/14/2010), SP Dylan Axelrod of the Winston-Salem Dash (Chicago White Sox) pitched well in a 5-3 loss to  Potomac, allowing two runs on just 3 hits and 1 walk over 7 innings while striking out 5. The defeat evened the series at 1-1. Earlier in the playoffs, Axelrod led Winston-Salem to a 2-0 victory over the Kinston Indians, allowing just two hits and 1 walk over 7 innings, while striking out 9 and retiring 19 batters in a row.

The Midwest League (A) championship series features yet another match-up between Jewish pitchers:

  • The Lake County Captains (Cleveland Indians) will open Game 1 of the series tonight (9/15/2010) with rookie Jason Knapp on the mound. The 20-year-old phenom was dominant in his only other playoff game, a 3-2 win over the West Michigan WhiteCaps (9/10/2010). In that game, Knapp gave up just two infield hits over 5 innings while striking out six and walking one.
  • Jason Markovitz will serve a relief role for the Clinton LumberKings (Seattle Mariners). So far he has pitched one scoreless inning in the playoffs.

The Lakewood BlueClaws (Philadelphia Phillies) are tied 1-1 with the Greenville Drive in the South Atlantic League (A) championship series. BlueClaws RP Josh Zeid pitched 3 perfect innings and struck out 4 en route to a 6-1 win in Game 2 (9/14/2010). In an earlier playoff series against the Hickory Crawdads, the 23-year-old pitched a scoreless inning in a 7-0 victory (9/8/2010), and then hit and walked the only 2 batters he faced in a 2-1 loss to the Crawdads (9/10/2010).

Two Jews are playing for the Ogden Raptors (Los Angeles Dodgers) for the Pioneer League (Rookie) championship, a 3-game series currently led 1-0 by the Orem Owlz:

  • SS Jake Lemmerman went 1/3 and drew a walk in the Raptors’ Game 1 loss to the Owlz, 3-2. The top Jewish pick in the 2010 draft (5th round, 172nd overall), Lemmerman is batting .231 in the playoffs but has a .444 on-base percentage and has scored 5 runs, tied for tops in the Pioneer League playoffs.
  • In two separate playoff appearances, including Tuesday’s loss, RP Andrew Pevsner struck out the only batter he faced. In a third outing he faced three batters and gave up a double, and was charged with an earned run when the next pitcher gave up a home run. Pevsner’s ERA for the playoffs is 6.75.

Already celebrating

The Tri-City Valley Cats (Houston Astros) swept the New York-Penn League (A-short season) championship over the Brooklyn Cyclones (New York Mets). One of the stars was Valley Cats IF Ben Orloff, who led the team with a .333 batting average in the playoffs and recently was named its 2010 Most Valuable Player. In Tuesday’s 5-2 finale (9/14/2010), Orloff went 2/5 and drove in a run.

Out of the running

Two Jewish players made it to the 1st round of the Texas League (AA) playoffs:

  • In his only playoff appearance, Springfield Cardinals (St. Louis Cardinals) SP David Kopp pitched 5 and 1/3 innings in a loss to the Northwest Arkansas Naturals (Kansas City Royals), giving up 5 hits and 2 earned runs. Springfield lost the series 3-2. Cardinals C Charlie Cutler did not play.
  • SP Richard Bleier of the Frisco RoughRiders (Texas Rangers) pitched 5 and 2/3 innings in a series-opening loss to the Midland RockHounds, giving up 3 earned runs on 7 hits. Midland won the series 3-1.

Two Jewish players made it to the 1st round of the Midwest League (A) playoffs:

  • 1B Nate Freiman of the Fort Wayne TinCaps (San Diego Padres) went 4/9 (.444) with 2 RBIs and drew 5 walks, raising his on-base percentage to .643. Fort Wayne lost the series 2-1 to the Great Lakes Loons.
  • 1B Casey Haerther of the Cedar Rapids Kernels (Los Angeles Angels) went 1/12 (.083) and struck out six times; his only hit was a double. Cedar Rapids lost the series 2-1 to the Clinton LumberKings.
  • RP Jason Novak of the Quad Cities River Bandits (St. Louis Cardinals) was on the disabled list and did not play.

We’ll keep you posted on the playoff picture.

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The minors’ best hitters

JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — For the Spring/Summer minor leagues, the 2010 season is over. So how did Jewish batters do?

According to Jewish Baseball News calculations, the 28 Jews who swung a bat in the minors this season — including several major-leaguers doing rehab stints — had a combined batting average of .280, along with 127 HRs and 834 RBIs.

A list of category leaders and laggards is shown below. But first, a couple clarifications:

  • Players marked with an asterisk played at two or more levels in 2010. Statistics shown for them are cumulative; the team shown is the one a player ended the season with.
  • To qualify for this list, a player must have had at least 300 plate appearances. (A total of 13 met the standard.)

Now, your category leaders.

HIGHEST BATTING AVERAGE

  • SS Jake Lemmerman, “rookie-league” Ogden Raptors (Los Angeles Dodgers) — .363
  • OF Adam Stern, “AAA” Nashville Sounds (Milwaukee Brewers) — .326
  • 2B Josh Satin, “AA” Binghamton Mets* (New York Mets) — .311

LOWEST BATTING AVERAGE

  • OF Ben Guez, “AAA” Toledo Mud Hens* (Detroit Tigers) — .249
  • C Charlie Cutler, “AA” Springfield Cardinals* (St. Louis Cardinals) — .260

MOST HOME RUNS

  • C Ryan Lavarnway, “AA” Portland Sea Dogs* (Boston Red Sox) — 22
  • 2B Jason Kipnis, “AA” Akron Aeros* (Cleveland Indians) — 16
  • 1B Nate Freiman, “A” Fort Wayne TinCaps (San Diego Padres) — 14

MOST TRIPLES

  • OF Sam Fuld, “AAA” Iowa Cubs (Chicago Cubs) — 9
  • 2B Jason Kipnis, “AA” Akron Aeros* (Cleveland Indians) — 8
  • CF James Rapoport, “AAA” Memphis Redbirds* (St. Louis Cardinals) — 4

MOST DOUBLES

  • 1B Nate Freiman, “A” Fort Wayne TinCaps (San Diego Padres) — 43
  • 2B Josh Satin, “AA” Binghamton Mets* (New York Mets) — 39
  • RF David Rubinstein, “A” West Virginia Power (Pittsburgh Pirates) — 37

MOST RBIs

  • C Ryan Lavarnway, “AA” Portland Sea Dogs* (Boston Red Sox) — 102
  • 1B Nate Freiman, “A” Fort Wayne TinCaps (San Diego Padres) — 84
  • 1B Casey Haerther, “A” Cedar Rapids Kernels (Los Angeles Angels) — 74
  • 2B Jason Kipnis, “AA” Akron Aeros* (Cleveland Indians) — 74
  • 2B Josh Satin, “AA” Binghamton Mets* (New York Mets) — 74

MOST WALKS

  • C Ryan Lavarnway, “AA” Portland Sea Dogs* (Boston Red Sox) — 70
  • 2B Josh Satin, “AA” Binghamton Mets* (New York Mets) — 66
  • OF Sam Fuld, “AAA” Iowa Cubs (Chicago Cubs) — 66

MOST STRIKEOUTS

  • 2B Josh Satin, “AA” Binghamton Mets* (New York Mets) — 121
  • 1B Nate Freiman, “A” Fort Wayne TinCaps (San Diego Padres) — 117
  • 2B Jason Kipnis, “AA” Akron Aeros* (Cleveland Indians) — 107

FEWEST STRIKEOUTS

  • C Charlie Cutler, “AA” Springfield Cardinals* (St. Louis Cardinals) — 33
  • OF Sam Fuld, “AAA” Iowa Cubs (Chicago Cubs) — 37
  • OF Adam Stern, “AAA” Nashville Sounds (Milwaukee Brewers) — 47

BEST WALK/STRIKEOUT RATIO

  • OF Sam Fuld, “AAA” Iowa Cubs (Chicago Cubs) — 1.78 (66/37)
  • C Charlie Cutler, “AA” Springfield Cardinals* (St. Louis Cardinals) — .97 (32/33)
  • 1B James Rapoport, “AAA” Memphis Redbirds* (St. Louis Cardinals) — .78 (54/69)

WORST WALK/STRIKEOUT RATIO

  • RF David Rubinstein, “A” West Virginia Power (Pittsburgh Pirates) — .33 (31/95)
  • 1B Robbie Widlansky, “AA” Bowie Baysox (Baltimore Orioles) — .37 (18/49)
  • OF Ben Guez, “AAA” Toledo Mud Hens* (Detroit Tigers) — .41 (37/91)

HIGHEST ON-BASE PERCENTAGE

  • SS Jake Lemmerman, “rookie-league” Ogden Raptors (Los Angeles Dodgers) — .432
  • 2B Josh Satin, “AA” Binghamton Mets* (New York Mets) — .399
  • OF Adam Stern, “AAA” Nashville Sounds (Milwaukee Brewers) — .399

HIGHEST SLUGGING PERCENTAGE

  • SS Jake Lemmerman, “rookie-league” Ogden Raptors (Los Angeles Dodgers) — .610
  • 2B Jason Kipnis, “AA” Akron Aeros* (Cleveland Indians) — .492
  • C Ryan Lavarnway, “AA” Portland Sea Dogs* (Boston Red Sox) — .489

HIGHEST OPS (OBP+SLUGGING)

  • SS Jake Lemmerman, “rookie-league” Ogden Raptors (Los Angeles Dodgers) — 1.042
  • C Ryan Lavarnway, “AA” Portland Sea Dogs* (Boston Red Sox) — .882
  • 2B Jason Kipnis, “AA” Akron Aeros* (Cleveland Indians) — .878

MOST STOLEN BASES

  • RF David Rubinstein, “A” West Virginia Power (Pittsburgh Pirates) — 23
  • OF Sam Fuld, “AAA” Iowa Cubs (Chicago Cubs) — 21
  • OF Ben Guez, “AAA” Toledo Mud Hens* (Detroit Tigers) — 14

Up next: the best minor-league pitchers of 2010.

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JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — Here are your Players of the Day for Saturday (8/28/2010):

  • LF Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers went 2/4 with two doubles and scored the winning run in an 11-inning, 8-7 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates. The 2007 NL Rookie of the Year is hitting .395 in August after batting just .200 in July. For the season, Braun is batting .295 with 18 HRs and 77 RBIs.
  • Just off the disabled list, SP Jason Hirsh of the “AAA” Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees pitched two scoreless innings in a 2-1 victory over the Buffalo Bisons. The 6’8″ right-hander removed himself from the game after feeling shoulder pain resume.
  • C Charlie Cutler of the “AA” Springfield Cardinals (St. Louis Cardinals) went 3/4 with an RBI single and scored a run in a 10-5 victory over the Arkansas Travelers. The 24-year-old San Francisco native hit .292 with the “A-advanced” Palm Beach Cardinals earlier this season but has struggled in “AA” ball, where he is hitting .214.
  • 1B Nate Freiman of the “A” Fort Wayne TinCaps (San Diego Padres) hit an RBI double and drew a walk in a 3-2 win over the Bowling Green Hot Rods. The victory clinched the TinCaps’ second consecutive trip to the playoffs. A 6’7″ native of Wellesley, Mass., Freiman leads the TinCaps in doubles (36), HRs (14/tie) and RBIs (74/tie).
  • RF David Rubinstein of the “A” West Virginia Power (Pittsburgh Pirates) went 2/4 with an RBI single in a 7-4 loss to the Augusta GreenJackets. An 11th-round pick in the 2008 amateur draft, Rubinstein ranks 2nd among Power players in batting average (.286), doubles (34) and stolen bases (21), and is 4th in on-base percentage (.346) and slugging percentage (.406).
  • Playing in the DH slot, 1B Mike Schwartz of the rookie-league Bristol White Sox (Chicago White Sox) went 1/4 with a two-run single in a 9-6 win over the Pulaski Mariners. A 2010 draftee with an uncanny ability to draw walks — he leads the Sox with 26 in just 105 at-bats — Schwartz is batting .248 with an on-base percentage of .423.

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POTD: Braun, Kipnis, Cutler

JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — Here are your Players of the Day for Tuesday, August 3, 2010:

  • A day after going 5-for 7 with 2 RBIs, LF Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers smacked three hits and walked once in a 4-3 victory over the Chicago Cubs. Braun’s two-day barrage has lifted his season batting average 12 points to .286.
  • 2B Jason Kipnis of the “AA” Akron Aeros (Cleveland Indians) went 2-for-3 and 2-for-4 in double-header losses to the Altoona Curve. Kipnis, a 23-year-old out of Arizona State, drove in two runs and scored and walked once apiece. Since being promoted to “AA” ball earlier this season, he’s batting a sizzling .333 with 6 HRs and 23 RBIs in 180 at-bats. Kipnis leads the Aeros in on-base percentage (.412) and OPS (.940) and is third in slugging percentage (.528).
  • Playing as designated hitter, C Charlie Cutler of the “A+” Palm Beach Cardinals (St. Louis Cardinals) went 3-for-3 with 1 RBI and 3 runs scored in a 7-2 win over the Clearwater Thrashers. Since being demoted from “AA” ball earlier this season, the 24-year-old San Francisco native is batting .295 with 1 HR and 17 RBIs in 146 at-bats.

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Players of the day

JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — The best major- or minor-league performances of Sunday, July 25:

  • Jake Lemmerman, “Rookie Pioneer League” Ogden Raptors (Los Angeles Dodgers). The 21-year-old shortstop went 2-for-2 on Sunday with a home run and two walks. The top Jewish pick in the June 2010 amateur draft — 5th round, 172nd overall — Lemmerman ranks among Rookie Pioneer League leaders in multiple categories, including runs scored (32, 1st), batting average (.371, tied for 2nd), on-base percentage (.430, 2nd), OPS (1.018, tied for 2nd), and slugging percentage (.589, 5th). The Raptors have the best record in their league.
  • Charlie Cutler, “A+” Palm Beach Cardinals (St. Louis Cardinals). The 23-year-old catcher hit a double and triple Sunday and had one RBI in a 6-4 victory over the Tampa Yankees. Since his demotion from the “AA” Springfield Cardinals, Lavarnway is batting .281 with a .348 on-base percentage. The Cardinals share the division lead with the Bradenton Maurauders.
  • Richard Bleier, “AA” Frisco RoughRiders (Texas Rangers). The 23-year-old starting pitcher threw his second complete-game shutout of the season Sunday in a 4-0 victory over the Corpus Christi Hooks. Bleier tossed just 90 pitches, allowing just six hits and one walk while striking out three. The RoughRiders are tied for the best record in the Texas League.

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Monday Roundup: Lots o’ good news

JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — Here are the latest developments among Jewish professional baseball players:

MLB

  • Boston Red Sox 1B Kevin Youkilis is having a remarkable season. After 68 games, the “Greek god of walks” is hitting home runs and RBIs at the same pace he did last year, walking more, and striking out less. Far less. Consider this: in 136 games last season, Youk struck out 62 percent more often than he walked (125 strikeouts vs. 77 walks). In 2010, he has walked more times (47) than he has struck out (41). “It’s freakish,” Red Sox first-base coach Ron Johnson told the Providence Journal. “It’s really fun to watch. Where he’s come from and where he is now, to lower his strikeout totals and still have the power and drive in the runs and hit over .300, he’s up there with those superstar guys.” Alas, Youkilis probably won’t appear in next month’s All-Star Game. In fan voting through today, he is ranked a distant 4th among American League shortstops.
  • Since inserting rookie 1B Ike Davis into the cleanup spot on May 19, the New York Mets have gone 20-9 after a 19-21 start.
  • After serving as the ace of the Texas Rangers’ pitching squad in 2009, SP Scott Feldman got off to a disappointing start this season. But he’s begun to right himself lately. In his past four starts, Feldman has won three games, amassed a 3.70 ERA, struck out 19 in 26.67 innings and walked just nine. Feldman pitches tonight (6/21/2010) against the Houston Astros.
  • Los Angeles Dodgers C Brad Ausmus, 41, had only four at-bats this season before suffering a back injury that required surgery. But Ausmus — who had never before been on the disabled list — has begun taking batting practice with his teammates and recently caught his first bullpen session.
  • Tampa Bay Rays RF Gabe Kapler went on the disabled list June 12 after straining his right hip flexor.
  • For the third time this season, the Milwaukee Brewers called OF Adam Stern up from the AAA Nashville Sounds and then sent him back down. The 30-year-old’s initial call-up was a major accomplishment, given that he hadn’t had a major-league at-bat in four years. But Stern went hitless in eight at-bats during his stints with the Brewers this season.

Minors

  • The San Diego Padres promoted SP Aaron Poreda to the Portland Beavers, the franchise’s AAA squad. Since arriving, Poreda has pitched 7.33 scoreless innings in four appearances and struck out seven batters. The 23-year-old spent part of last season in the majors, pitching for both the Chicago White Sox and the Padres.
  • Springfield Cardinals SP David Kopp (AA/St. Louis Cardinals) has been named a Texas League All-Star. Kopp, 24, leads the league with an 8-1 record and has an 3.08 ERA. According to the Springfield (Mo.) News-Leader:

For Kopp, the selection culminates a terrific first half in which he has re-claimed his prospect tag. Kopp underwent a pair of shoulder surgeries in 2008 and 2009, and reached Double-A late last season with little hype. He walked 11 and struck out six in five starts. This year, his line features 45 strikeouts in 69 innings as the right-hander has gone on the attack with a low-90s fastball. The pitch shields his sharp, tight slider from over-use, and managers and scouts are beginning to think of Kopp not in terms of a Double-A pitcher but one with the stuff to reach the majors.

  • Reading Phillies RP Michael Schwimer (AA/Philadelphia Phillies) is 5-3 this season and has struck out an impressive 47 batters in 34.67 innings, more than triple the number of batters he has walked (14). “He has good stuff, but he has been a little inconsistent,” Philadelphia Phillies assistant general manager Chuck Lamar told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “He may get a shot by the end of the year to move up to triple-A.”
  • The New York Mets recently promoted 2B Joshua Satin to the AA Binghamton Mets. Since arriving, the 25-year-old has hit .320 in six games.
  • Likewise, the Cleveland Indians moved 2B Jason Kipnis up to its AA squad, the Akron Aeros. Kipnis wasted no time making his mark. After eight games with the Aeros, he is batting .355 with two home runs, three doubles, and an OPS of 1.090.
  • Corpus Christi Hooks C Jonathan Fixler (AA/Houston Astros) didn’t take it easy on Frisco RoughRiders SP (and fellow Jew) Richard Bleier this weekend. Fixler, 24, went 2-for-4 with a home run and three RBIs during a 7-1 thrashing of the RoughRiders on Sunday (6/20/2010). Bleier gave up 7 runs and 13 hits in seven innings, and his record fell to 3-6.
  • The St. Louis Cardinals demoted C Charlie Cutler to its A-advanced farm team, the Palm Beach Cardinals. Cutler had batted just .205 with six RBIs for the AA Springfield Cardinals. But he’s batting .350 after six games with Palm Beach.
  • OF Ben Guez took an even bigger fall recently. The Detroit Tigers franchise sent him down from AAA Toledo, where he hit .273 with five RBIs in 66 at-bats, to the Lakeland Flying Tigers (A-advanced).

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Minor-league roundup

JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — The latest news on minor-league players:

  • Trenton Thunder (AA/New York Yankees) SP Jeremy Bleich is out for the season with a shoulder injury. Bleich finished the season with a 3-2 record and 4.79 ERA, holding opposing batters to a .236 average.
  • Springfield Cardinals (AA/St. Louis Cardinals) SP David Kopp continues to enjoy a strong season, with a 6-1 record, 3.00 ERA and 39 strikeouts in 57 innings. He’s scheduled to pitch game two of today’s (6/6/2010) doubleheader against the San Antonio Missions. Kopp, a 6’3″, 205 lb. right-hander from Margate, Fla., is one of three Jews in the St. Louis Cardinals’ farm system, along with C Charles Cutler (AA) and CF James Rapoport (AAA).
  • Florida International University sophomore Garrett Wittels extended his astounding hitting streak to 56 games Saturday in a season-ending loss to Dartmouth. According to the Associated Press:

Wittels hit an RBI double in the top of the first inning, leaving him two games shy of the Division I record set by Oklahoma State’s Robin Ventura in 1987. Wittels’ attempt to break the mark will resume next season. He went 3-for-5 and finished the season with a .417 average and a school-record 100 hits.

  • Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees (AAA/New York Yankees) SP Jason Hirsh is in a slump. Hirsh, a 6’8″, 250-pound right-hander from Burbank, Calif., won four straight at one point but hasn’t recorded a victory since May 13.

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