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Browsing Posts tagged Danny Valencia

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

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

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 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.


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

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

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, 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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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  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

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 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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