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Browsing Posts tagged Danny Valencia

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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israel trip

Trailed by a documentary film crew, 10 Jewish ballplayers will be touring Israel from January 3-10, 2017

By Stuart M. Katz, correspondent

When centerfielder Sam Fuld and nine other Jewish athletes head to Israel on January 3 for what might be dubbed a ‘Baseball Birthright’ trip, they won’t be alone.

Wives, parents, sons, and a fiancée will be traveling with this minyan of Major League players and prospects, all of whom plan to represent Israel at the World Baseball Classic taking place in South Korea in March 2017. Team Israel qualified for the quadrennial contest by winning a qualifying tournament in September.

Also coming along for the ride? A film crew.

MLB.com reporter Jonathan Mayo (Twitter) and Ironbound Films co-founder Jeremy Newberger (Twitter) plan to create a documentary titled Heading Home about the one-week trip. For most of the players, it will be their first visit to the Jewish homeland.

“The idea for the film came first,” Mayo told Jewish Baseball News. “It wasn’t originally planned around the WBC, but after Team Israel qualified, it all came together.”

Mayo said he and Newberger, childhood friends from camp Young Judea, are getting a lot of help. Driving forces behind the project include the Jewish National Fund’s Project Baseball, JewishBaseballMuseum.com founder Jeff Aeder, and Ron Dermer, Israel’s ambassador to the United States.

Although plans for the film have not been finalized, Mayo expects the documentary will be screened at film festivals and air on MLB.com.

Fuld, who sat out the Oakland Athletics’ 2016 season with a rotator-cuff injury, will be joined on the trip by Ty Kelly of the New York Mets, Josh Zeid of the New York Mets’ organization, Ryan Lavarnway of the Athletics’ farm system, Jon Moscot of the Cincinnati Reds’ system, free agents Ike Davis and Cody Decker, former MLB outfielder Gabe Kapler (now director of player development for the Los Angeles Dodgers), St. Louis Cardinals prospect Corey Baker, and former MLB prospect, Jeremy Bleich, currently playing in the Dominican Winter League. Danny Valencia of the Seattle Mariners planned to come but had to drop out for family reasons.

A key motivation behind the trip and documentary is to build support for baseball within Israel, where soccer and basketball are king. The Israel Association of Baseball, hopes to recruit new players as well as raise funds to expand the country’s meager baseball infrastructure.

In addition to visiting Masada, the Dead Sea, an Israeli Air Force base, the Old City in Jerusalem and Independence Hall in Tel Aviv, the 10 ballplayers will conduct public practices and meet local dignitaries and ballplayers.

# # #

Stuart M. Katz is a die-hard Yankees fan. An attorney at Cohen and Wolf in Bridgeport, Conn., he chairs the firm’s Litigation Group, practicing mainly employment law, and represents employers as well as executives.

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

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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

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

When Oakland 3B Danny Valencia hit a career-best three home runs against the Tampa Bay Rays on May 15, it was by definition something special.

After all, only 354 MLB players have hit a trifecta during the course of a 9-inning game since 1913. Heck, Hank Aaron — whose 755 career home runs are second only to Barry Bonds’ asterisked 762 — did it just once in his 22-year MLB career.

But Valencia’s triplet was far from average. Consider these factoids, most of them cribbed from ESPN.com:

  • Valencia’s blasts were no-doubters. He is the first player to smash  three home runs at least 425 feet apiece in the same game since ESPN Stats & Information began tracking home-run distances in 2009.
  • Valencia was just the second Oakland player in 12 years to have a three-homer game — and the first Athletics third baseman to do so since 1935, when the team was known as the Philadelphia Athletics.
  • Valencia is only the second visiting player to accomplish the feat in Tropicana Field history. (Carlos Delgado did it for the Blue Jays in 2001.)
  • Valencia’s three-homer game came two days after he homered twice, giving him five HRs over three games, one short of the A.L. record. The MLB record is held by Dodgers RF (and fellow Jew) Shawn Green, who clubbed seven over a three-game stretch in 2002: four home runs on May 23, one on May 24, and two more on May 25.
  • All three of Valencia’s home runs were consequential. The first gave Oakland a 1-0 lead, the second cut a 5-2 deficit to 5-4, and the third converted a 6-5 deficit into a 7-6 victory.

For more on Valencia’s feat and his overall hitting prowess this season, check out Numberfire.com.

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By Scott Barancik, editor

A Jewish duo keyed Oakland’s 4-3 win yesterday over the Astros (9/18/2015).

Danny Valencia supplied the power. Batting cleanup, the mid-season acquisition hit a solo HR in the 4th inning and a two-run shot in the 8th that proved to be the game-winner.

Sam Fuld furnished the glove. Houston was up 2-0 in the 3rd inning and had men on first and second base with no outs when Carlos Correa smashed a shot to left-center. Fuld, playing center, sprinted 58 feet toward left and made a leaping, backhanded catch that evoked memories of his heyday as “Super Sam.”

“We get accustomed to seeing it because [Fuld’s] so great at it, but, I mean, it definitely changes the game,” Valencia told MLB.com. “It keeps the runs down; it keeps the score down. If he doesn’t make that play, there’s a good chance we could still be playing or end up on the other side of it.”

Valencia’s homers were his career-high 15th and 16th of the season and marked his first two-dinger game since 9/25/2010, his rookie year with the Minnesota Twins. The Miami native also singled and walked for a perfect day at the plate.

It was a fitting if slightly early birthday present for Valencia, who turns 31 today. Many Blue Jays fans were distraught when Toronto placed the Miami native on waivers earlier this season. Valencia had hit .296 off the bench with 7 HRs, 13 doubles and 29 RBIs in 162 at-bats. One blogger wondered aloud whether Oakland’s pick-up just might be the best mid-season acquisition off waivers in the past decade.

The blogger proved prescient. Since joining Oakland, Valencia has hit shown even more power, hitting .278 with 9 HRs and 31 RBIs in only 133 at-bats. For the full season, he’s hitting .288 with 16 HRs, 60 RBIs, 20 doubles, a .333 on-base percentage, and a .525 slugging percentage.

 

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By Scott Barancik, editor

Here’s what’s happening in Major League Baseball.

Ryan Braun hit his 250th career home run Wednesday. Among Jewish players, only legends Hank Greenberg (331) and Shawn Green (328) have hit more. The homer, Braun’s 20th of the season, came against the Cubs’ Jason Hammel, the same pitcher who gave up Braun’s 249th round-tripper on July 31. Unfortunately, it came in Wrigley Field, where the silence was audible.

Braun, who added two singles Wednesday, is the 19th active Major League player with 250 or more HRs and the second youngest next to Prince Fielder. He is one home run behind Brewers career leader Robin Yount.

Speaking of home runs, Oakland’s Danny Valencia hit a massive shot to center Wednesday against Toronto, his 10th home run of the season and third since joining the A’s on August 5. Meanwhile, teammate Sam Fuld made two highlight-reel plays in the field, throwing out the Blue Jays’ Troy Tulowitzki at home plate, and — in a classic Jew vs. Jew moment — makes a spectacular catch in left to rob Kevin Pillar of extra bases. (Pillar, who doubled earlier in the game, got the last laugh as Toronto won its 10th straight, 10-3.)

Houston’s Scott Feldman pitched six shutout innings Wednesday in a 2-0 win over the Giants, yielding just four hits and a walk while striking out four. It was the 6’7″ right-hander’s first win since May 26, having sat out nearly 2 months this season after getting knee surgery.

 

 

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valencia old newBy Scott Barancik, editor

Danny Valencia, who was as shocked as his fans were when the Toronto Blue Jays designated him for assignment on Saturday (8/1/2015), has been claimed off waivers by the Oakland Athletics.

The 30-year-old Florida native was hitting .296 with 7 HRs, 13 doubles, and 29 RBIs in 162 at-bats when the Blue Jays decided to move him off the team’s roster. A versatile utility man who spent most of his time in left field this season but also manned right field, third base, second base and first base, Valencia will join Ike Davis and Sam Fuld on what now will be this season’s most Jewish major-league team.

Valencia is losing a lot, too. In leaving Toronto, he gives up a clubhouse he loves, an exciting and highly-productive Jewish duet with teammate Kevin Pillar, and a 55-52 team whose playoffs chances rose with this week’s acquisition of ace pitcher David Price. The A’s, by contrast, are last in the A.L. West with a 47-60 record.

But Valencia is nothing if not resilient, having played for five teams since his 2010 debut with the Minnesota Twins, when he finished third in voting for A.L. Rookie of the Year.

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By Scott Barancik, editor

Matt Holliday’s misfortune has proved opportune for two Jewish ballplayers.

Thanks to the Cardinals outfielder’s injury — sorry, Matt — Dodgers rookie Joc Pederson will replace him in the National League’s starting lineup at Tuesday’s All-Star Game (7/14/2015), and Brewers veteran Ryan Braun will replace Holliday as a reserve on the roster. It’s Braun’s sixth career All-Star nod, but his first since his a 2013 drug suspension. The 31-year-old LF celebrated Sunday with his 16th HR.

Might Braun and Pederson end up in the outfield together sometime Tuesday night?

The All-Star Game isn’t the only occasion for a Pederson/Braun mash-up. In the 6th inning of Friday’s Dodgers-Brewers game, Pederson dropped a single in front of Braun to break up a Milwaukee no-hitter. Pederson’s RBI double in the 7th proved the game-winner.

Dynamic Jew-o: A 6th-inning defensive replacement Saturday, Blue Jays 3B Danny Valencia went 1-for-2 with a 3-run HR. Teammate Kevin Pillar singled, walked twice, and swiped a base in Toronto’s 6-2 win over Kansas City.

The Valencia/Pillar show resumed Sunday. Pillar tripled, doubled in Valencia, and tossed out Eric Hosmer when the Royals 1B tried to stretch a single into a double. Valencia singled and smacked a 2-run double.

Atlanta’s Ryan Lavarnway walked and hit a solo HR Saturday, his first round-tripper since Sep. 4, 2013.

Ian Kinsler, third in career doubles among MLB Jews, hit two Friday to give him 20 for the season. On Sunday, he stroked three singles.

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By Scott Barancik, editor

Danny Valencia has seen limited playing time this season, starting just 22 of Toronto’s 75 games through Friday (6/27/2015), and only now reaching 100 at-bats. But research by Jewish Baseball News suggests Toronto manager John Gibbons couldn’t ask for much more from a utility/platoon player.

To try to capture the universe of utility/platoon players, we looked at MLB players who had accumulated fewer than 200 at-bats thru 6/26/2015. An overbroad grouping, to be sure, but it was the best we could come up with on the spot.

So how is the 30-year-old Valencia doing when measured against this group?

Among A.L. and N.L. players with 75 to 200 at-bats through Friday, the 30-year-old Miami native’s .330 average ranked second only to teammate Chris Colabello, who’s not really a utility/platoon player. (Since his call-up from Triple-A a month into the season, Colabello has started 45 of Toronto’s 48 games.)

MLB: Batting average leaders with 75-to-200 at-bats (thru 6/26/2015)

Rank
Player
AB
BA
1Chris Colabello175.343
2Danny Valencia100.330
3Joey Butler163.325
4David Murphy145.324
5Jacoby Ellsbury148.324
6Yonder Alonso168.321
7Yasmany Tomas196.316
8Justin Turner174.316
9Yasiel Puig107.308
10Mitch Moreland196.306
11Josh Phegley95.305
12Nick Hundley194.304
13Maikel Franco152.303
14Matt Holliday178.303
15Francisco Cervelli192.302
16Brandon Barnes106.302
17Ezequiel Carrera100.300
Source: JewishBaseballNews.com

Valencia ranks high in RBI productivity. At one RBI per 4.76 at-bats, he trailed only L.A.’s Justin Turner and Baltimore’s Matt Wieters as of Friday.

MLB: RBI productivity leaders with 200 or fewer at-bats (thru 6/26/2015)

Rank
Player
AB
RBI
ABs per RBI
6Bryan Holaday44123.67
1Justin Turner174354.97
2Matt Wieters48104.80
3Danny Valencia100214.76
4Alex Guerrero141304.70
5Travis d'Arnaud71174.18
Source: JewishBaseballNews.com

Valencia also has shown impressive power. In 100 at-bats, he’s hit 4 HRs and 11 doubles, good enough for a .560 slugging percentage.

MLB: Slugging leaders with 75-to-200 at-bats (thru 6/26/2015)

Rank
Player
AB
SLG
1Maikel Franco152.572
2Justin Turner174.569
3Josh Phegley95.568
4Danny Valencia100.560
5Randal Grichuk136.559
6Alex Guerrero141.546
7Ryan Raburn107.542
8Ben Paulsen109.532
9Chris Colabello175.514
10Carlos Correa78.513
11Corey Dickerson127.512
12Mitch Moreland196.510
13Eduardo Nunez89.506
Source: JewishBaseballNews.com

Though not considered a high-level fielder, Valencia is versatile, having played five positions so far in 2015. And he hasn’t made a single error at any of them.

The NBA has its Sixth Man of the Year award. If the MLB had a 10th Man award, Danny Valencia would be a top candidate this season.

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By Scott Barancik, editor

Now here’s something you don’t see very often: two Jewish players, both centerfielders, smacking 2 HRs apiece on the same day.

Dodgers phenom Joc Pederson and Toronto’s Kevin Pillar accomplished the rare feat Tuesday night. Pederson hit the more prodigious bombs, launching a 477-foot monster in Game 1 of a doubleheader against Colorado and a 472-foot shot in Game 2.

The 23-year-old Palo Alto native added his first Major League triple and drove in 4 RBIs overall. He has homered in 4 straight games and is tied for second in the N.L. with 16 round-trippers.

Pillar was the bigger surprise. Entering Game 2 of a doubleheader against the Nations with just 2 HRs in nearly 200 at-bats this season, the 26-year-old launched a solo shot in the 2nd inning and a 3-run shot in the 6th that plated teammate Danny Valencia, who contributed a double and a sacrifice fly Tuesday. Pillar didn’t his 2nd HR of 2015 until May 30.

(MLB.com)

(MLB.com)

Ryan Braun owns the record for HRs by a Jewish rookie, with 34 in 2007, and was named N.L. Rookie of the Year.  All-time Jewish home run leader Hank Greenberg hit 12 his rookie year (1933), and runner-up Shawn Green hit 15 in his (1995).

The all-time N.L. rookie record of 38 HRs is shared by Baltimore’s Frank Robinson (1955) and the Boston Braves’ Wally Berger (1930). With 16 HRs in the Dodgers’ first 52 games this season, Pederson is on pace to hit 50.

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By Scott Barancik, editor

As baseball fans celebrate Opening Day, Jewish Baseball News is taking a look back at the 21 Jews who participated in MLB Spring Training this year.

Fifteen position players and six pitchers saw playing time, some as full-fledged team members, others as non-roster invitees, and several via short-term stints. Their stats are shown at the bottom; players who made their franchise’s Opening Day roster are shown in bold.

Following are some of the Spring’s top stories.

  • It will take a lot more for him to earn back some fans’ trust and affection, but Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun — fresh from a 65-game suspension for taking performance-enhancing drugs — dazzled, hitting .417 with nine RBIs and eight extra-base hits in 36 at-bats.
  • Ike Davis and Josh Satin both made the Mets’ Opening Day roster and will share First Base duties with Lucas Duda. But Davis — who squeaked by with a .241 average in Spring Training — is among the candidates to be sent down later this week to make room for Jon Niese.
  • Nate Freiman‘s 11 RBIs ranked eighth on the A’s, but it wasn’t enough to make the team’s Opening Day roster. Meanwhile, teammate Sam Fuld wowed his way onto the roster with four triples, 7 RBIs and a .348 on-base percentage.
  • With Boston’s Craig Breslow starting the season on the disabled list, Scott Feldman is the only Jewish pitcher to make an Opening Day roster. He also was the only Jewish starter during spring Training. As a group, Jewish pitchers went 1-and-5.
  • After missing much of the past three seasons with surgeries and injuries, former Boston Red Sox OF Ryan Kalish earned a spot on the Cubs’ Opening Day roster. Kalish hit .304 with 3 RBIs, stole 6 of 7 bases, and reached base 38.5% of the time.
  • Texas prospect Aaron Poreda earned some respect in his first MLB Spring Training since 2011. Poreda claimed one save in two chances, held opposing hitters to a .265 average, and walked just one batter over 8.1 innings.
  • Ian Kinsler, traded by Texas during the off-season for Detroit’s Cecil Fielder, outperformed “Big Daddy” with 3 HRs, 9 extra-based hits, 9 RBIs, a perfect 4-for-4 in stolen bases, a .300 average, and a .382 on-base percentage. Fielder matched Kinsler’s power (3 HRs, 9 extra-base hits, 10 RBIs) but hit .246 while striking out 16 times and drawing only two walks.
  • Ben Guez, a 27-year-old outfielder who spent part of the last four seasons with Detroit’s Triple-A club but has yet to be called up, made a brief but exciting splash in three Spring Training games. Against Toronto on 3/18/2014, Guez reached base all six times, going 3-for-3 with two doubles and three walks. His career MLB Spring Training average is a robust .529, along with a .692 on-base percentage.

 MLB Spring Training hitting, 2014

Team AB H 2B 3B HR RBI SB AVG OBP
Zach Borenstein LAA 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 NA 1.000
Ryan Braun MIL 36 15 5 0 3 9 0 .417 .500
Ike Davis NYM 29 7 2 0 2 7 0 .241 .313
Cody Decker SDP 10 3 1 0 1 4 0 .300 .417
Nate Freiman OAK 42 10 2 1 1 11 0 .238 .327
Sam Fuld OAK 59 16 1 4 1 7 1-1 .271 .348
Ben Guez DET 7 5 2 0 0 2 0-1 .714 .818
Ryan Kalish CHC 46 14 1 0 0 3 6-7 .304 .385
Ian Kinsler DET 60 18 5 1 3 9 4-4 .300 .382
Ryan Lavarnway BOS 38 11 1 0 2 5 0 .289 .357
Jake Lemmerman SDP 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .500
Joc Pederson LAD 38 7 1 0 3 6 0 .184 .311
Kevin Pillar TOR 33 5 1 1 0 4 0-1 .152 .176
Josh Satin NYM 50 13 2 0 1 4 0 .260 .333
Danny Valencia KCR 48 11 1 0 1 4 1-1 .229 .327

Notes: Zach Borenstein walked in his only plate appearance

MLB Spring Training pitching, 2014

Team W L ERA G IP H BB SO AVG WHIP
Jeremy Bleich NYY 0 0 9.00 1 1.0 2 0 0 .500 2.00
Scott Feldman HOU 0 2 5.40 4 16.2 21 2 14 .292 1.38
Aaron Poreda TEX 0 1 3.24 8 8.1 9 1 8 .265 1.20
Danny Rosenbaum WAS 0 1 2.70 3 3.1 3 2 2 .300 1.50
Jeff Urlaub OAK 1 1 8.10 4 3.1 4 2 1 .333 1.80
Josh Zeid HOU 0 0 4.15 7 8.2 12 4 12 .333 1.85

Notes: Aaron Poreda earned one save in two chances; Josh Zeid earned a save in his sole opportunity. Boston’s Craig Breslow did not play, due to injury

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By Scott Barancik, editor

Danny Valencia, a much-traveled third baseman who enjoyed a strong comeback with the Baltimore Orioles last season, has been traded again.

The O’s are sending Valencia, 29, to the Kansas City Royals in exchange for OF David Lough, who finished 8th in voting for the 2013 A.L. Rookie of the Year award.

According to MLB.com reporter Dick Kaegel, the Royals see Valencia as a logical back-up for third baseman Mike Moustakas against left-handed pitching. Valencia hit .371 last year against lefties, compared with Moustakas’ .196. Valencia also could see time at first base, where he has no Major League experience.

On his Twitter feed Wednesday, Valencia thanked his Orioles teammates and fans and said he was “looking forward to meeting my teammates in K.C. and starting a new chapter with the Royals organization.”

The University of Miami alum is used to starting over. Drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the 19th round of the 2006 amateur draft, Valencia made his MLB debut in 2010 and finished third in voting for A.L. Rookie of the Year, good enough to become the Twins’ starting third baseman in 2011. But a sub-.200 performance at the plate earned him an early trip to the minors in 2012 and a late-season trade to the Red Sox, who sold him to Baltimore during the off-season.

Reinvented as a designated hitter, Valencia broke out in 2013, hitting .304 with 8 HRs, 14 doubles, and 23 RBIs in 52 MLB games. He continued to play third base in the minors, where he hit .286 with 14 HRs and 51 RBIs in 65 games.

Jewish Baseball News thanks Zev Ben Avigdor for the tip on Valencia.

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By Scott Barancik, editor

For some Jewish baseball fans, Yom Kippur isn’t just the holiest day on the calendar. It’s also a litmus test of a ballplayer’s commitment to Judaism.

That’s not so true here at Jewish Baseball News, a secular website that holds no grudge against a ballplayer for choosing to swing a bat during the High Holidays (although we take pride when a player like Sandy Koufax or Shawn Green elects to pray rather than play).

Some players find ways to bridge the gap. Consider reliever Craig Breslow, who told Boston’s Jewish Journal:

“In previous years, I have participated in online Passover seders and High Holy Day services, and have fasted as best as I could, even on game days. ‘Typically, I try to observe the holidays in a way that is meaningful to me and indicative of my commitment to Judaism, but also honors and acknowledges the commitment that I have made to my teammates.”

So without further ado, here’s a breakdown of who played last night, and who didn’t.

Played

Six Jewish major leaguers played last night, and five of them emerged victorious:

  1. Nate Freiman, Oakland A’s.Went 1-for-2. Result: defeated the Texas Rangers.
  2. Ian Kinsler, Texas Rangers. Went 0-for-2 but drew three walks, drove in a run, and scored 2 more. Result: lost to the Oakland A’s.
  3. Danny Valencia, Baltimore Orioles. Went 1-for-4 with an RBI single. Result: defeated the Toronto Blue Jays.
  4. Craig Breslow, Boston Red Sox. Of the three batters faced, struck out one, walked another, and gave up a two-run double, leading to a blown save. Result: defeated the New York Yankees.
  5. Josh Zeid, Houston Astros. Pitched a scoreless 8th inning, giving up a walk and a hit but no runs, and earning a hold. Result: defeated the Los Angeles Angels.
  6. Sam Fuld, Tampa Bay Rays. Was brought in as a defensive replacement in the 9th inning. Result: defeated the Minnesota Twins.

Did not play, for one reason or another 

Four major leaguers didn’t play last night even though their teams did, and three of the teams won anyway. With the exception of Baltimore’s Scott Feldman, Baylawsuits doesn’t know whether it was the players’ decision not to play or their managers’.

  1. Scott Feldman, Baltimore Orioles. A member of the team’s starting rotation, he’d pitched 2 days earlier. Result: defeated the Toronto Blue Jays.
  2. Ryan Lavarnway, Boston Red Sox. A back-up catcher, he hasn’t played since Sept. 7. Result: defeated the New York Yankees.
  3. Kevin Pillar, Toronto Blue Jays. A back-up outfielder, he’d started seven of his team’s past 10 games and played part of one other. Result: lost to the Baltimore Orioles.
  4. Josh Satin, New York Mets. A versatile infielder, he’d started six of his team’s past 10 games and played parts of two others. Result: defeated the Miami Marlins.

Unable to play

Four players were on the disabled list, and one was on suspension for violating baseball’s anti-drug policy.

  1. Ike Davis, New York Mets. On disabled list.
  2. Ryan Kalish, Boston Red Sox. On disabled list.
  3. Jason Marquis, San Diego Padres. On disabled list.
  4. Kevin Youkilis, New York Yankees. On disabled list.
  5. Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers. Suspended.

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Danny Valencia celebrates in the dugout after his 3rd-inning home run (Rob Carr/Getty Images via MLB.com)

Danny Valencia is greeted in the dugout after his 3rd-inning home run (Rob Carr/Getty Images via MLB.com)

By Scott Barancik, editor

The surging Baltimore Orioles needed a solid start from Scott Feldman on Friday (9/6/2013) to advance their playoff hopes, but the 30-year-old right-hander gave them even more.

In the 127th start of his nine-year MLB career, Feldman pitched his first-ever shutout and second complete game as the O’s beat the Chicago White Sox 4-0 (see video). He needed just 106 pitches to win, giving up 5 hits and one walk while striking out three. Feldman is 3-1 with a 1.30 ERA in his last four starts.

According to MLB.com, the shutout was Baltimore’s first in nearly 15 months.

Half of Feldman’s run support came from DH Danny Valencia, whose solo home run and RBI single gave the O’s their first two runs. The home run was Valencia’ 7th in just 98 at-bats this season.

Both men are relative newcomers to Charm City. The 6-foot-7-inch Feldman was acquired from the Chicago Cubs in a July trade, and Valencia from the Boston Red Sox in the off-season.

 

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http://mlb.mlb.com/team/player.jsp?player_id=444857#gameType='R'&sectionType=career&statType=2&season=2013&level='ALL'

(milb.com)

By Scott Barancik, editor

The Orioles obtained Scott Feldman from the Chicago Cubs today in a bid to improve Baltimore’s starting rotation.

A 6-foot-7-inch righthander who spent 8 years with the Texas Rangers, Feldman‘s 2013 debut with Chicago was shaping up to be his best season yet. Along with a 7-6 record — no small accomplishment on a team that’s 35-and-45 overall — the 30-year-old hurler had a 3.46 ERA so far, on pace for a career best.

Which is precisely why Baltimore traded for Feldman. Although the O’s are 11 games above .500 and a mere 2.5 games behind the first-place Boston Red Sox in the highly competitive American League East, the team’s 4.43 ERA is second worst among the A.L.’s 15 teams, and its starting rotation’s ERA is even higher.

“He’s a proven veteran starting pitcher, and he should help stabilize our rotation in the second half of the season,” Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette told MLB.com.  Feldman is expected to get his first start for the O’s tomorrow night (7/3/2013) against the Chicago White Sox.

Feldman’s career pitching stats

Year Tm Lg W L ERA G IP H ER BB SO WHIP
2005 TEX AL 0 1 0.96 8 9.1 9 1 2 4 1.179
2006 TEX AL 0 2 3.92 36 41.1 42 18 10 30 1.258
2007 TEX AL 1 2 5.77 29 39.0 44 25 32 19 1.949
2008 TEX AL 6 8 5.29 28 151.1 161 89 56 74 1.434
2009 TEX AL 17 8 4.08 34 189.2 178 86 65 113 1.281
2010 TEX AL 7 11 5.48 29 141.1 181 86 45 75 1.599
2011 TEX AL 2 1 3.94 11 32.0 25 14 10 22 1.094
2012 TEX AL 6 11 5.09 29 123.2 139 70 32 96 1.383
2013 CHC NL 7 6 3.46 15 91.0 79 35 25 67 1.143
9 Yrs 46 50 4.66 219 818.2 858 424 277 500 1.386
162 Game Avg. 9 10 4.66 44 166 174 86 56 101 1.386
TEX (8 yrs) 39 44 4.81 204 727.2 779 389 252 433 1.417
CHC (1 yr) 7 6 3.46 15 91.0 79 35 25 67 1.143
AL (8 yrs) 39 44 4.81 204 727.2 779 389 252 433 1.417
NL (1 yr) 7 6 3.46 15 91.0 79 35 25 67 1.143
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/2/2013.

In exchange for Feldman and catcher Steve Clevenger, the O’s sent two pitchers — starter Jake Arrieta and reliever Pedro Strop — to Chicago plus $338,000 in international signing-slot bonuses. Clevenger and Arrieta were assigned to their respective Triple-A teams after the trade.

Baltimore has one other Jewish player on its roster, DH Danny Valencia. Duquette, though not Jewish, was instrumental in the formation of the now-defunct Israel Baseball League, serving as director of baseball operations during its lone season.

It’s a shame Feldman won’t get to bat regularly anymore. So far this season, his first and only in the N.L., he had one HR, 2 doubles, and 8 RBIs in 34 at-bats.

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(ESPN.com)

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By Scott Barancik, editor

Danny Valencia returned to the Major Leagues yesterday (5/19/2013), and he celebrated by hitting a double in his first at-bat as a Baltimore Oriole, a liner to the warning track in right-center field off Tampa Bay Rays ace Matt Moore (see video).

It was a sweet sound for the 28-year-old Miami native, a lifetime .316 hitter against southpaws whose once-promising career took a wrong turn in 2012 and left him mired in Triple-A with his second new team less than a year.

Valencia was the pride of Minnesota back in 2010, when he hit .311 with 7 HRs and 40 RBIs over 85 games and finished third in voting for A.L. Rookie of the Year. A year later he hit .246 with 15 HRs and a team-leading 72 RBIs. The Twins’ long search for a reliable third baseman seemed over.

But in 2012, Valencia struggled both at the plate and in the field, landing himself in Triple-A for several months. He didn’t fare much better after being acquired by the Boston Red Sox, for whom he hit just .143 in 10 games. The Sox traded him to the Baltimore Orioles during the offseason, for cash.

Valencia could have given up. After all, his career trajectory didn’t look good. He was due to open a season in the Minors for the first time since his rookie year, this time with the Norfolk Tides. But he fought back any shame or doubts and quickly caught fire. After 40 games in the International League (Triple-A) in 2013, he was hitting .306 and among league leaders with 11 HRs (1st/tie) — including seven in his last 10 games — 14 doubles (4th/tie), 35 RBIs (2nd), 29 runs (2nd), and a .600 slugging percentage (8th/tie). The O’s decided to give him another shot in the Majors.

Whether Orioles manager Buck Showalter will platoon Valencia against left-handed pitchers remains to be seen. But Valencia sounds optimistic. “The streak that I was on [in Norfolk] was probably one of the better streaks I’ve ever had in my career,” he told MLB.com. “I felt like any time they gave me a mistake to hit, I hit it pretty hard. It was a good feeling, and hopefully it carries over.”

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By Scott Barancik/Jewish Baseball News

Here are highlights from minor-league games played on Saturday, April 13:

  • Max Fried, a 19-year-old starter ranked the San Diego Padres’ No. 2 prospect by MLB.com, earned his first professional win, and in dominant fashion. Fried pitched 5 scoreless innings for the Fort Wayne TinCaps (Single-A), giving up just 3 hits and 2 walks while striking out eight (see article and box score). Chosen 7th overall in the 2012 amateur draft — for which he received a $3-million bonus — the 6’4″ Californian walked the first batter of the game but then picked him off first base. Providing support was Jewish teammate and roommate Maxx Tissenbaum, who drove in a run with a sacrifice fly and drew his Midwest League-leading 10th walk of the season. (Click here to see Tissenbaum‘s excellent blog.)
  • Double-A players Jack Marder and Jake Lemmerman both hit their first HRs of the 2013 season. Marder, a Seattle Mariners prospect who went 2/4 and added a walk, was Jewish Baseball News’ 2012 minor-league rookie of the year. Lemmerman plays shortstop for the St. Louis Cardinals’ organization.
  • Red-hot New York Mets prospect Josh Satin had a perfect day at the plate, going 2/2 with a home run, 3 RBIs, and 3 walks for the Las Vegas 51s (Triple-A). Satin is hitting .474 (3rd highest in the Pacific Coast League) with 4 HRs (1st/tie), 12 RBIs (3rd/tie), 12 runs (2nd/tie), a .545 on-base percentage (3rd/tie), and an on-base plus slugging of 1.440 (3rd).
  • Baltimore Orioles prospect (and former Major Leaguer) Danny Valencia went 3/4 and drove in a run, raising his batting average to .333. Valencia plays third base for the Norfolk Tides (Triple-A).
  • In his second start of the 2013 season, Tampa Bay Rays prospect Sean Bierman earned his second consecutive shutout. Bierman gave up five singles and no walks while striking out four batters for the Bowling Green Hot Rods (Single-A).

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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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Danny Valencia (mlb.com)

Danny Valencia (mlb.com)

Nate Freiman (mlb.com)

Nate Freiman (mlb.com)

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By Scott Barancik/Jewish Baseball News

A flurry of roster moves is taking place as Spring Training player evaluations near an end.

The Oakland A’s picked up Nate Freiman on Saturday (3/23/2013) after the Houston Astros put him on waivers. The 26-year-old first baseman, who dominated opposing pitchers during Team Israel’s World Baseball Classic bid last year, hit .278 for Houston during Spring Training, with 1 HR, two doubles, no walks and 7 whiffs in 36 at-bats.

According to MLB.com, the A’s are considering Freiman for a potential platoon job at first base. Acquired by the Astros in the Rule 5 postseason draft, the 6-foot-8, 250-pounder hit .298 with 24 HRs and 105 RBIs  for the San Diego Padres’ double-A team in 2012.

As Jewish Baseball News contributor Zev Ben Avigdor points out in his minor-league Twitter feed, Freiman joins a franchise rich in Jewish players, including pitchers Max Perlman and Jeff Urlaub and catcher Nick Rickles.

Danny Valencia‘s bid to start the 2013 season on the Baltimore Orioles’ roster ended Thursday (3/21/2013) when he was reassigned to the Norfolk Tides, the franchise’s triple-A team. The move came despite a strong Spring in which the 28-year-old third baseman hit .323 with 1 HR and 4 RBIs in 31 at-bats and had a .417 on-base percentage. He hit a game-winning HR in Tuesday’s (3/19/2013) 8-7 win over the Boston Red Sox.

According to the Baltimore Sun:

The 28-year-old Valencia entered camp as a possible right-handed designated hitter because of his .316/.359/.472 career batting line against right-handed pitching. He also competed for a utility infield spot this spring, playing both third base and first base.

The Sun also noted that during the offseason, Valencia‘s name “appeared on a list tied to a Miami-area anti-aging clinic that is being investigated by MLB for supplying major league players with performance-enhancing drugs. Valencia addressed the report on the first day of camp, denying that he’s ever used PEDs.”

Pittsburgh Pirates prospect (and one-time Major Leaguer) Aaron Poreda was released earlier this month by the club’s double-A team, the Altoona Curve. The 26-year-old hurler started three games for the Curve in 2012, going 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA. Poreda played briefly in 2009 for the San Diego Padres and the Chicago White Sox.

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