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By Scott Barancik/Jewish Baseball News

Here are highlights from minor-league games played on Sunday, April 7:

  • Joc Pederson, ranked the Los Angeles Dodgers’ #4 prospect by Baseball America, went a combined 3-for-7 with two HRs, a double, and 3 RBIs. Pederson is an outfielder with the Chattanooga Lookouts (AA).
  • New York Mets prospect Josh Satin went 2-for-4 with a double to raise his average to .412. Satin plays for the Las Vegas 51s (AAA).
  • In his first start of the 2013 season, Tampa Bay Rays prospect Sean Bierman pitched 5 innings of one-hit ball. Bierman plays for the Bowling Green Hot Rods (A).
  • Seattle Mariners prospect David Colvin pitched two and 1/3 perfect innings. Colvin plays for the High Desert Mavericks (High-A).

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By Scott Barancik/Jewish Baseball News

Jewish Baseball News, the website that brings you “News and stats on Jews with bats,” has selected the top Jewish minor-leaguers of the 2012 season.

Here are the award winners:

Rookie of the year

Jack Marder, 2B/C/LF, High Desert Mavericks (Seattle Mariners)

Most improved

Mauricio Tabachnik, P, Guerreros de Oaxaca (no MLB affiliation)

Comeback player

Jeremy Bleich, P, Tampa Yankees (New York Yankees)

Best starter

No winner

Best reliever

Jeff Urlaub, Stockton Ports (Oakland Athletics)

Power hitter

Nate Freiman, 1B, San Antonio Missions (San Diego Padres); obtained by the Houston Astros on 12/6/2012.

Most valuable player

Robbie Widlansky, DH/OF/1B, Bowie Baysox (Baltimore Orioles); obtained by the Los Angeles Angels on 12/6/2012.

Additional information on the award winners and runners-up is provided below.

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Detailed information

Rookie of the Year

Jack Marder, 22, made his minor-league debut in 2011. Because he had just 71 at-bats that year, Jewish Baseball News considers 2012 his “rookie” season. And what a season it was. The versatile 22-year-old hit .360, including .410 with runners in scoring position, and reached base 42.5 percent of the time. Marder had only 278 at-bats but still drilled 24 doubles, 4 triples, and 10 HRs, drove in 56 runs, and stole 16 bases in 22 attempts.

Honorable mention (in alphabetical order): Sean Bierman (Tampa Bay Rays), Jeremy Schaffer (St. Louis Cardinals), Maxx Tissenbaum (San Diego Padres)

Most improved

Mauricio Tabachnik, 23, spent three years in the San Diego Padres’ farm system before being released in 2011. A native of Mexico, he took his right arm to the Mexican League that year but did not impress. In addition to compiling a 5.36 ERA, he gave up an average of two walks and/or hits per inning and walked more batters (41) than he struck out (24). But Tabachnik was a different player in 2012, finishing 4-2 with a 3.18 ERA, more strikeouts (38) than walks (27), and giving up an average of five fewer hits and/or walks per nine innings.

Honorable mention: Richard Bleier (Texas Rangers), Cameron Selik (Washington Nationals)

Comeback player

Jeremy Bleich, 25, was a starting pitcher with the Trenton Thunder (AA) when he seriously hurt his shoulder in May 2010. It would be another two years before the former 1st-round draft pick would pitch again, this time as a reliever. Bleich’s 2012 comeback was impressive. He went 2-1 with a career-best 3.86 ERA, struck out 24 while walking just eight, and held opposing batters to a .242 average.

Honorable mention: Ryan Kalish (Boston Red Sox)

Best reliever

Jeff Urlaub, 25, finished the 2012 season with a winning record (7-6) and a 3.18 ERA, despite playing for two teams with losing records. He produced some eye-popping stats along the way, striking out a combined 58 batters while walking only 9, holding opposing teams to a .197 batting average, and allowing just 4 HRs in 65 innings.

Honorable mention: Corey Baker (St. Louis Cardinals), David Colvin (Seattle Mariners), Ian Kadish (Toronto Blue Jays)

Power hitter

Nate Freiman, 25, doesn’t just look imposing at the plate. The 6-foot-7-inch terrorized Texas League pitchers in 2012 with a career-high 24 HRs and a league-leading 105 RBIs. He didn’t sacrifice discipline, turning in a tidy .298 batting average and .370 on-base percentage. Later, Freiman brought his big bat to the World Baseball Classic, where he launched 4 HRs in 12 at-bats for Team Israel.

Honorable mention: Cody Decker (San Diego Padres)

Most valuable player

Robbie Widlansky, 28, helped the Bowie Baysox (AA) earn a playoff berth with the best performance of his 6-year professional career. He ranked among Eastern League leaders with a .316 batting average (3rd place), 83 RBIs (3rd), 35 doubles (2nd/tie), and a .404 on-base percentage (2nd). Widlansky also stole 11 bases, and his walk-to-strikeout ratio (64 to 74) was a career high.

Honorable mention: Joc Pederson (Los Angeles Dodgers), Nate Freiman (San Diego Padres)

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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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Good news Monday (9/3/2012)

By Scott Barancik and Zev Ben Avigdor/Jewish Baseball News

Your weekly source of pride-inducing updates:

  • Ryan Braun hit his 37th HR on Sunday (9/2/2012), tying a career high. Thanks to the 3-run blast, he needs only 5 more RBIs to pierce the 100-RBI mark for the 5th straight season. So far, the only player to reach 100+ RBIs every season from 2008-2012 is Detroit Tigers 3B Miguel Cabrera. Braun also enjoyed a 4-for-6, 5-RBI performance last Monday (8/27/2012).
  • The good news is that San Diego Padres prospect Cody Decker hit his 28th HR of the season last week (8/26/2012), a solo shot in the 7th inning. The bad news is that he did it off of Corpus Christi Hooks (AA) reliever Josh Zeid. Zeid got the last laugh, however, earning a “hold” in the Hooks’ 2-1 win over Decker’s San Antonio Missions (AA).
  • David Colvin, a 6’3″ reliever selected by the Seattle Mariners in the 27th round of the 2011 draft, was named Midwest League (A) pitcher of the week for July 23-30. The 23-year-old righty, who plays for the Clinton LumberKings, is 5-3 this season with a 3.15 ERA, 61 strikeouts in 68-and-one-third innings, and just 16 walks.
  • Jacob Booden is showing increasing mastery in his first pro season. Totally ignored in the 2012 amateur draft, the 6’7″ reliever signed a free-agent contract with the St. Louis Cardinals afterward and was assigned to the Johnson City Cardinals (rookie). Booden ran up a 6.35 ERA in June, a 4.76 ERA in July, and an 0.79 ERA in August. The 22-year-old is averaging a strikeout per inning.
  • It’s good news all around for Nate Freiman. The San Diego Padres assigned him to play in the prestigious Arizona Fall League once the minor-league season ends. Freiman also has been named a Texas League All-Star. As if to celebrate, the San Antonio Missions (AA) first baseman hit a score-tying HR in the 7th inning of Sunday’s (9/2/2012) game against the Corpus Christi Hooks, and a walk-off single in the bottom of the 9th inning. Freiman is hitting a career-high .301, with 24 HRs and 105 RBIs.
  • Other players picked to play in the AFL are Los Angeles Dodgers prospect Joc Pederson and Tampa Bay Rays prospect Lenny Linsky.
  • Tikkun magazine has published an article titled In Praise of Baseball. In it, author Andrew Kimbrell commends the sport for celebrating nonviolence, collegiality, natural time, agrarianism, diversity of place, sacrifice, the common man, transcendence, failure, and coming home. Thanks to The Izzy Project for sharing it.
  • Maxx Tissenbaum reached base in 10 straight plate appearances last week, including his final two chances on Monday (8/27/2012) and all four appearances both on Tuesday and Wednesday. An MLB.com article about the 21-year-old Toronto native called him a “tough out,” observing that Tissenbaum has walked 27 times this season, nearly twice as often as he has struck out (13 times).
  • Forget ‘People of the book’ —  just call us ‘People of the tweet.’ Twitter feeds authored by Toronto Blue Jays prospect Ian Kadish (Twitter) and San Diego Padres prospect Cody Decker (Twitter) are among minor-league baseball’s 20  best, according to Going 9 Baseball. Another top-ranked tweeter, Michael Schlacht, used to identify as Jewish but now is a practicing Christian.
  • Most of you know the story of Adam Greenberg, a Chicago Cub who was struck in the head by the first pitch of his first and only plate appearance in the major leagues. But you may not know about a new campaign, called One At Bat, to let the 31-year-old return to Wrigley Field later this season and get an official at-bat. Yahoo! Sports writer Kevin Kaduk argues that the Cubs have no roster space to accommodate Greenberg, but that the cellar-dwelling Houston Astros — who will play their final series of the season in Chicago — do. Click here to sign the petition.

Have any good news about Jewish athletes? Send it to sbarancik@jewishbaseballnews.com.

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JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — A total of 10 Jewish ballplayers were selected in the 2011 amateur draft, one more than we last reported. So where are they playing, and how well?

Here, in draft order, are the 10 players, their minor-league assignments, and their performance at this early date:

  1. Lenny Linsky, P (Tampa Bay Rays: 2nd round, 89th pick overall). Playing for the “A-short season” Hudson Valley Renegades, where, in his only appearance, he recorded two strikeouts and two walks over one inning.
  2. Adam Ehrlich, C (St. Louis Cardinals: 6th round, 200th pick overall). Playing for the rookie-league GCL Cardinals, where he is hitting .250/.400/.458 (batting average/on-base percentage/slugging percentage) with 1 HR and 4 RBIS in 24 at-bats.
  3. Nick Rickles, C (Oakland A’s: 14th round, 436th overall). After playing three games for the rookie-league AZL Athletics, Rickles was sent to the “A-short season” Vermont Lake Monsters. Overall, he is hitting .303/.425/.485 with 2 doubles, 2 triples, and 4 RBIs in 33 at-bats.
  4. Jack Marder, C (Seattle Mariners: 16th round, 483rd overall). Unsigned.
  5. Zach Borenstein, OF/3B (Los Angeles Angels: 23rd round, 705th overall). Playing for the rookie-league AZL Athletics, where he is hitting .270/.372/.459 with 2 triples, 1 HR, and 5 RBIs in 37 at-bats.
  6. David Colvin, P (Seattle Mariners: 27th round, 813rd overall). Playing for the rookie-league Pulaski Mariners, where he is 0-1 but has a 0.00 ERA, 9 strikeouts, and 3 walks over 9 innings.
  7. Max Perlman, P (Oakland A’s: 35th round, 1,066th overall). Playing for the AZL Athletics with fellow Jewish draftee Nick Rickles, Perlman is 1-2 with a 4.76 ERA, 19 strikeouts, and 4 walks over 17 innings.
  8. Corey Baker, P (St. Louis Cardinals: 49th round, 1,490th overall). Playing for the “A-short season” Batavia Muckdogs, where he is 1-1 with a 3.65 ERA, 6 strikeouts, and 1 walk over 12-and-one-third innings.
  9. Jadd Schmeltzer, P (Boston Red Sox: 49th round, 1,492nd overall). Playing for the rookie-league GCL Red Sox, where he is 0-2 with a 3.24 ERA, 4 strikeouts, and 4 walks over 8-and-one-third innings.
  10. Benny Sosnick, 2B (San Francisco Giants: 49th round, 1,497th overall). Unsigned.

Nine of the 10 draftees were identified in prior Jewish Baseball News articles (one, two, three). The latest addition, thanks to Jewish Sports Review, is Adam Ehrlich.

Adam Ehrlich

The second-highest Jewish draft pick last month, Ehrlich was one of just two Jews drafted out of high school. He is a 2011 graduate of Campbell Hall H.S., an Episcopal school in North Hollywood, Calif., where he hit .566 with 5 HRs and 49 RBIs as a senior. Ehrlich had signed a letter-of-intent to play at Loyola Marymount University.

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JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — The running count of Jews chosen in the 2011 MLB draft has reached 8.

Last week we reported that at least four of the 1,500 players selected in the three-day amateur draft were Jewish. But thanks to help from Jewish Baseball News reader Dan Cooper, we have identified 4 more. They are:

http://www.gohatters.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=14600&ATCLID=3685622Nick Rickles (Oakland A’s: 14th round, 436th overall pick). A 6’3″ catcher who just completed his junior year at Stetson University, the Loxahatchee, Fla., native led his team in batting average (.347/tied), HRs (12), doubles (20), and slugging percentage (.600) in 2011. Rickles, named a second-team All-American by Baseball America, struck out just 10 times in 245 at-bats — giving him more HRs than strikeouts — while drawing 25 walks. He was the 7th toughest batter to strike out in NCAA/Division I play this year. According to this article, he was “expected to go 10 rounds higher and might be tough to sign in this round.” 

http://www.goducks.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=500&ATCLID=204836128Jack Marder (Seattle Mariners: 16th round, 483rd overall). A 6’0″ catcher (and converted shortstop) who just completed his sophomore year at the University of Oregon, the Calabasas, Calif., native showed good speed in 2011 (10 stolen bases in 13 attempts) but only modest success at the plate, hitting .209 with 2 HRs, 19 RBIs, and a .360 on-base percentage.

http://www.nesn.com/2010/07/harvard-pitcher-max-perlman-delivers-stellar-performance-in-cape-league-allstar-game.htmlHarvard University may have compiled a miserable 9-36 record in 2011, but that didn’t stop Max Perlman (Oakland A’s: 35th round, 1,066th overall pick) from excelling. A 6’7″ starting pitcher who just graduated from Harvard University, the Longwood, Fla., native missed most of his sophomore and junior seasons with an elbow injury (and Tommy John surgery) but struck gold during his senior year, leading all Ivy Leaguers with an 1.80 ERA, holding opposing teams to a .213 batting average, and recording more strikeouts (55) than hits surrendered (46). (See local article on him.)

Jadd Schmeltzer (Boston Red Sox: 49th round, 1,492nd pick). A 6’5″ starting pitcher who just graduated from Cornell University, the Tappan, N.Y., native went 3-4 with a 3.63 ERA and was named Pitcher of the Year on a team that finished 2011 with a 10-30 record.

Details on our four previously-identified players (listed below) are available here:

  • Lenny Linsky (Tampa Bay Rays: 2nd round, 89th overall pick)
  • Zach Borenstein (Los Angeles Angels: 23rd round, 705th overall)
  • David Colvin (Seattle Mariners: 27th round, 813rd overall pick)
  • Benny Sosnick (San Francisco Giants: 49th round, 1,497th pick)

For updates on the 2011 draft, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Google Reader.

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JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — At least four Jewish players were among the 1,530 amateurs drafted last week by MLB teams.

Though the list is likely to grow — Jewish Sports Review typically publishes a more comprehensive tally in its July/August issue — we believe this preliminary list is the first published anywhere this season.

Two of the more interesting story lines in the 2011 draft involve P Lenny Linsky and SS Garrett Wittels. Linsky is noteworthy because he was a relatively high draft pick (2nd round, 89th overall); by comparison, of the 11 Jews selected in the 2010 draft, the highest pick was SS Jake Lemmerman (5th round, 172nd overall). Wittels — a rising senior at Florida International University whose 56-game hitting streak in 2010 drew national attention but was overshadowed by a subsequent arrest — is notable because he wasn’t drafted at all.

The four known draftees include:

Lenny Linsky (Tampa Bay Rays: 2nd round, 89th overall pick). A 6’2″ closer who just finished his junior year at the University of Hawaii, the Palos Verdes, Calif., native led his team with a 1.30 ERA and 14 saves, had a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 34/9, and gave up a total of just 3 extra-base hits in 34-and-two-thirds innings this season, all doubles. Baseball America described Linsky as “nearly unhittable” and had predicted he might be drafted even higher than he eventually was. (See local article on him.)

 

Zach Borenstein (Los Angeles Angels: 23rd round, 705th overall). A 6’0″ OF/3B who just completed his junior year at Eastern Illinois University, the Buffalo Grove, IL, native led his team in at least 10 offensive categories this season, including batting average (.349), on-base percentage (.419), slugging percentage (.554), average with runners in scoring position (.391), runs (38), doubles (13/tie), and stolen bases (9). In the first game of a double-header against Morehead State, Borenstein went 4/5 with 3 HRs and 6 RBIs.

David Colvin (Seattle Mariners: 27th round, 813rd overall pick). A 6’3″ starting pitcher who just completed his senior year at Pomona-Pitzer, the Mill Valley, Calif., native led his team with an 8-2 record and 5 complete games while posting a 2.96 ERA. He fanned 94 batters and walked 21. (See local article on him.)

 

https://www.facebook.com/people/Benny-Sosnick/1797229155Benny Sosnick (San Francisco Giants: 49th round, 1,497th pick). A 2011 graduate of the Jewish Community High School of the Bay, the 6’1″ Sosnick “primarily played pitcher, catcher and shortstop” but was drafted as a second baseman (see article). He led his team with a .583 batting average. The Giants reportedly will consider offering Sosnick a contract pending his performance in a summer league.

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