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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.PlayerPos.AgeHometownMinor-league teamParent 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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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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JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — The number of Jewish minor-leaguers who will be attending a Major-League spring training this year has reached nine.

According to MLB.com, the invitees include:

  1. Sam Fuld (Tampa Bay Rays)
  2. Ben Guez (Detroit Tigers)
  3. Jason Hirsh (New York Yankees)
  4. Gabe Kapler (Los Angeles Dodgers)
  5. Jason Kipnis (Cleveland Indians)
  6. David Kopp (St. Louis Cardinals)
  7. Ryan Lavarnway (Boston Red Sox)
  8. Aaron Poreda (San Diego Padres)
  9. Michael Schwimer (Philadelphia Phillies)

Jewish Baseball News will maintain a running list of these and other spring-training invitees through the end of March on our home page.

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JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — So far, at least four Jewish minor-leaguers have been invited to attend Major League spring training camps in 2011.

According to MLB team web sites, four ballplayers have been identified as “non-roster invitees” — that is, they have been invited to attend spring training even though they are not on their team’s 40-man roster. They include:

  • CF Ben Guez, 23 (Detroit Tigers). Guez hit a combined .249 for 3 minor-league teams in 2010, including the “AAA” Toledo Mud Hens. He had 10 HRs, 43 RBIs, a .341 on-base percentage, and 14 stolen bases. Guez also played in the Arizona Fall League, which MLB teams typically reserve for their top minor-league prospects.
  • SP Jason Hirsh, 28 (New York Yankees). A 6’8″ right hander, Hirsh went 9-7 with the “AAA” Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees in 2010, racking up a 3.90 ERA and a strong strikeout-to-walk ratio of 95/39. He played in the MLB from 2006-08, pitching both for the Houston Astros and Colorado Rockies.
  • 2B Jason Kipnis, 23 (Cleveland Indians). The Indians’ minor-league player of the year in 2010, Kipnis hit a combined .307 for the club’s “AA” and “A-advanced” teams, with 16 HRs, 74 RBIs, a .386 OBP, .492 SLG, and 9 stolen bases. Called up to “AAA” for the post-season, he went 10/22, hit for the cycle once, and fell a single short of hitting for the cycle the following game. Also played in the Arizona Fall League, where he was among the league leaders in several batting categories.
  • SP Michael Schwimer, 24 (Philadelphia Phillies). Another 6’8″ right hander, Schwimer went a combined 7-5 with the Phillies’ “AAA” and “AA” teams in 2010, with a 2.85 ERA and an impressive 76 strikeouts in just 60 innings.

According to MLB.com, two additional Jewish minor leaguers have been added to their respective MLB team’s 40-man roster. Whether or not this means they’ll be attending spring training is unclear. They are:

  • SP David Kopp, 25 (St. Louis Cardinals). Kopp had a rough time with the Cards’ “AAA” team in 2010 (he went 0-5 with a 8.63 ERA) but finished the season strong with the “AA” squad, where he went 12-4 with a 3.05 ERA.
  • RP Aaron Poreda, 24 (San Diego Padres). The 6’6″ left hander, who pitched well during a brief major-league stint with the Padres in 2009, went a combined 1-2 with the team’s “AAA” and “AA” squads in 2010, along with a 3.83 ERA and an opponent batting average of just .176. Poreda gave up just one HR in 54 innings but had a weak strikeout-to-walk ratio of 47/64.

Thanks to Jewish Baseball News reader Michael Lebowitz for the tips about Guez and Kipnis.

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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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JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — Here are your Players of the Day for Friday (9/3/2010):

  • 3B Danny Valencia of the Minnesota Twins went 2/3 and hit a key single in a 4-3 win over the Texas Rangers. Shortly after hitting his second single of the night, the 25-year-old rookie left the game due to tightness in his right hamstring, but the pinch-runner who replaced him eventually scored to tie the game, 3-3. Valencia is batting a blistering .343 since being called up from the minors in June.
  • C Ryan Lavarnway of the “AA” Portland Sea Dogs (Boston Red Sox) hit a 2-run single, drew an intentional walk and scored the winning run in a 7-4 victory over the New Hampshire Fisher Cats. The Cats had good reason to walk Lavarnway: in a season split between Portland and the “A-Advanced” Salem Red Sox, he’s batting a combined .289 with 22 HRs and 98 RBIs.
  • SP David Kopp of the “AA” Springfield Cardinals (St. Louis Cardinals) gave up one run over 6 innings in a 4-2 loss to the Tulsa Drillers. Kopp left the game with a 2-1 lead, but the Drillers scored 3 in the 8th to win it. The 24-year-old Clemson recruit allowed 7 hits and no walks while striking out five. He was 0-5 during a stretch in “AAA” this season but is 12-4 with Springfield, where he has a trim 3.05 ERA.
  • RF David Rubinstein of the “A” West Virginia Power (Pittsburgh Pirates) went 2/4 with a single, double and run scored in a 6-5 loss to the Hagerstown Suns. An 11th-round pick in the 2008 amateur draft, Rubinstein leads the Power in doubles (36/tie), ranks 2nd  in batting average (.288) and stolen bases (22), and is 4th in on-base percentage (.348) and slugging percentage (.410).
  • SP Daniel Rosenbaum of the “A+” Potomac Nationals (Washington Nationals) gave up just four hits and walked none in a 5-0 win over the Salem Red Sox. His “overpowering” performance, which included four strikeouts, moved the Nationals within one game of clinching a spot in the Carolina League playoffs. A 22nd-round pick in the 2009 amateur draft, Rosenbaum is 3-2 with a 2.09 ERA and 115 strikeouts for the Nationals. In a stint earlier this season with the “A” Hagerstown Suns, he was 2-5 with a 2.32 ERA.

And now, your Jewish Star of the Day:

  • 1B Nate Freiman of the “A” Fort Wayne TinCaps (San Diego Padres) went a combined 7/7 with 3 doubles and 3 RBIs as the TinCaps split a double-header with the South Bend Silver Hawks. A 6’7″ recruit from Duke University, Freiman is batting .298 with 14 HRs, 82 RBIs, an on-base percentage of .373 and a .461 slugging percentage. According to this article, his 41 doubles this season are a franchise record.

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JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — Here are your Players of the Day for Sunday (8/29/2010):

  • LF Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers went 4/4 with a two-run HR, a walk and 3 runs scored in an 8-4 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates, raising his season batting average to .300 for the first time since June 28. The 2007 NL Rookie of the Year is hitting .422 in August, with a 5-hit game, a 4-hit game, three 3-hit performances, and six 2-hit games. Adding in 13 walks, his August on-base percentage is a sweet .495.
  • RP Craig Breslow of the Oakland A’s pitched 2 hitless innings in an 8-2 win over the Texas Rangers. The 30-year-old middle reliever is 4-4 with a 3.39 and 2 saves. He has 60 strikeouts in 58 1/3 innings and has held opposing hitters to a .202 batting average.
  • In a rehab assignment with the “AA” Frisco RoughRiders (Texas Rangers), 2B Ian Kinsler hit an RBI single and scored a run as the RoughRiders beat the Midland RockHounds 6-4. In five games with Frisco, Kinsler is 4/15 (.267) with 4 RBIs and 2 walks. He has been on the disabled list since July 28.
  • SP David Kopp of the “AA” Springfield Cardinals (St. Louis Cardinals) pitched 6 scoreless innings in a 3-1 victory over the Arkansas Travelers. A 24-year-old Clemson recruit, Kopp allowed 7 hits and no walks while striking out four. He got out of a bases-loaded, no-outs jam in the 5th inning by getting one batter to pop out and two to fan. Kopp was 0-5 during a stretch in “AAA” this season but is 12-3 with Springfield.
  • SS Jake Lemmerman of the rookie-league Ogden Raptors (Los Angeles Dodgers) went 2/5 with a double and a home run in a 9-5 loss to the Great Falls Voyagers. The top Jewish pick in the 2010 draft (5th round, 172nd overall), Lemmerman leads the league in doubles (23) and runs scored (62), ranks 2nd in OPS (.991), and has the third-highest batting average (.355).

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POTD: Stern, Satin, Kopp, Lavarnway

JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — Here are your Players of the Day for Thursday (8/19/2010):

  • Batting leadoff, LF Adam Stern of the “AAA” Nashville Sounds (Milwaukee Brewers) went 3/4 and scored 1 run in an 8-7 win over the Colorado Springs Sky Sox. The 30-year-old Canadian — who went 0/8 in brief stints with the Brewers this season — is hitting .309 (3rd highest on the team) with 4 HRs and 25 RBIs in 230 at-bats.
  • SP David Kopp of the “AA” Springfield Cardinals (St. Louis Cardinals) had his longest outing of the season, pitching 7 1/3 innings in a 4-2 victory over the Corpus Christi Hooks. A 24-year-old Clemson recruit, Kopp gave up 6 hits and walked one while striking out two. He was 0-5 during a stretch in “AAA” this season but is 11-3 with the Cardinals.
  • 2B Josh Satin of the “AA” Binghamton Mets (New York Mets) went 2/5 with a double, HR and 2 RBIs in a 5-0 win over the New Hampshire Fisher Cats. Since being promoted to “AA” ball mid-season, Satin is batting .327 with  a .416 on-base percentage and .500 slugging percentage. The 25-year-old Berkeley recruit has batted.450 in his last 10 games, with 4 HRs, 11 RBIs and an OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) of 1.372.
  • Playing in the DH position, C Ryan Lavarnway of the “AA” Portland Sea Dogs (Boston Red Sox) went 2/4 with a HR and one RBI in a 9-8 victory over the Altoona Curve. In a season split between the Sea Dogs and the “A+” Salem Red Sox, Lavarnway is batting a combined .281 with 17 HRs, 86 RBIs, a .379 on-base percentage and .462 slugging percentage.

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JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — Here are your Players of the Day for Friday, Aug. 13, 2010.

It was a memorable day for Jewish pitchers in the minor leagues. Three had lengthy stints in which they gave up one or no runs and racked up multiple strikeouts without giving up a single walk:

  • SP David Kopp of the “AA” Springfield Cardinals (St. Louis Cardinals) struck out six and walked none in a 6-1 win over the Corpus Christi Hooks. A 24-year-old out of Clemson, Kopp got roughed-up during a mid-season stint in “AAA”, where he went 0-5 with an 8.63 ERA. He has fared far better with the “AA” Cardinals, going 10-3 with a 3.14 ERA.
  • SP Dylan Axelrod of the “A-Advanced” Winston-Salem Dash (Chicago White Sox) gave up just four hits and one earned run over 7 innings, but the Dash gave up three runs in the 8th en route to a 4-3 loss to the Frederick Keys. Axelrod struck out nine batters while walking none. Since being promoted to “AA” earlier this season, Axelrod is 6-2 with a 2.20 ERA and a phenomenal strikeout-to-walk ratio of 68-10.
  • RP Jason Markovitz of the “A” Clinton LumberKings (Seattle Mariners) pitched 3 innings of one-hit ball in a 15-4 loss to the Burlington Bees, striking out four and walking none. A 21-year-old who was drafted in the 13th round of the 2010 amateur draft, Markovitz was promoted to the LumberKings after just 11 games with the “A-short season” Everett AquaSox.

Two minor-leaguers hit home runs:

  • 2B Jason Kipnis of the “AA” Akron Aeros (Cleveland Indians) went 2/5 with a HR and 2 RBIs in an 11-7 win over the New Britain Rock Cats. A second-round pick in the 2009 amateur draft, Kipnis is batting .333 with 8 HRs and 31 since being promoted to the Aeros mid-season. For the entire season, he is batting .318 with 14 HRs and 62 RBIs.
  • 1B Nate Freiman of the “A” Fort Wayne TinCaps (San Diego Padres) hit a three-run HR, accounting for all the TinCaps’ runs in a 3-2 victory over the Lake County Captains. A 6’7″ native of Wellesley, Mass., Freiman has four HRs in his past 10 games and is batting .301 with 14 HRs, 32 doubles and 73 RBIs.

Beset by injuries, Jewish major leaguers have not had much to report lately. But on Friday:

  • 3B Danny Valencia of the Minnesota Twins went 2/4 with a ground-rule double and 2 RBIs in a 4-3 win over the Oakland A’s. The 25-year-old rookie is batting .318 but has been in a slump, hitting just .171 over his last 10 games.

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POTD: Valencia, Kopp, Rapoport, Satin

JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — Here are your players of the day for Sun., August 1, 2010:

  • 3B Danny Valencia of the Minnesota Twins went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI in a 4-0 win over the Seattle Mariners, the Twins’ 8th-straight victory. The 25-year-old rookie is batting .388 for the season (103 at-bats) and .486 over his last 10 games.
  • LF James Rapoport of the Memphis Redbirds (AAA) went 2-for-5 with a triple and an RBI in a 12-6 victory over the Omaha Royals. Rapoport, who majored in public policy at Stanford Univ., is batting .253 since being called up to “AAA” ball.
  • 2B Joshua Satin of the Binghamton Mets (AA) went 2-for-5 with an RBI and two runs scored in an 8-3 win over the Erie SeaWolves. Since being promoted from the “A+) St. Lucie Mets, the 25-year-old UC-Berkeley product is batting .311 with one home run and 22 RBIs in 167 at-bats, as well as a .408 on-base percentage.
  • SP David Kopp of the Springfield Cardinals (AA) pitched a beauty of a game, giving up just one run, four hits and no walks in seven innings against the New Arkansas Naturals. But the Cards managed just two hits in a 1-o loss. Kopp — who went 0-and-5 during a mid-season stint with the Memphis Redbirds (AAA) — is 8-3 with a 2.92 ERA for Springfield.

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Mid-season minor-league leaders

JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — Midway through the 2010 season, Jewish minor leaguers are performing well. The 20 Jewish pitchers have a collective won-loss record of 59-52, a 3.85 ERA and a 2.17 strikeout-to-walk ratio through games played July 14. The 28 position players have a combined batting average of .274 and a walk-to-strikeout ratio of .503, according to Jewish Baseball News calculations.

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

  • Players marked with an asterisk have played in two or more leagues this season, and the statistics shown reflect their collective performance across all leagues. The team shown is the players’ current one.
  • Calling David Kopp the winningest pitcher is slightly misleading. Kopp assembled an 8-1 record and 3.08 ERA with the “AA” Springfield Cardinals before being called up to the “AAA” Memphis Redbirds. In his first four games in Memphis, Kopp went 0-4 with a 7.53 ERA.
  • Jake Lemmerman, a shortstop from Duke University and the top Jewish pick in the 2010 amateur draft, is tearing up the Rookie Pioneer League. Through 20 games with the Ogden Raptors, Lemmerman was batting .358 and had a .506 slugging percentage.

Now, your category leaders.

Position players

  • Highest batting average(100+ at-bats) : Casey Haerther, “A” Cedar Rapids Kernels (.319)
  • Lowest batting average (100+ at-bats) : Jake Wald, “AA”  Mobile BayBears (.175)
  • Most home runs: Ryan Lavarnway, “A+” Salem Red Sox (14)
  • Most triples: Sam Fuld, “AAA” Iowa Cubs (4)
  • Most doubles: Nathan Freiman, “A” Fort Wayne TinCaps (29)
  • Most RBIs: Ryan Lavarnway, “A+” Salem Red Sox (63)
  • Most walks: Ryan Lavarnway, “A+” Salem Red Sox (44)
  • Most strikeouts: Nathan Frieman, “A” Fort Wayne TinCaps (76)
  • Best walk/strikeout ratio: Sam Fuld, “AAA” Iowa Cubs (1.25)
  • Worst walk/strikeout ratio: David Rubinstein, “A” West Virginia Power (.31)
  • Highest on-base percentage: Joshua Satin, “AA” Binghamton Mets (.403)
  • Highest slugging percentage: Ryan Lavarnway, “A+” Salem Red Sox (.487)
  • Highest OPS (OBP+slugging): Ryan Lavarnway, “A+” Salem Red Sox (.879)
  • Most stolen bases: David Rubinstein, “A” West Virginia Power (13)

Pitchers

  • Most victories: David Kopp*, “AAA” Memphis Redbirds (8)
  • Most losses: Jason Hirsh, “AAA” Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees; Richard Bleier, “AA” Frisco RoughRiders (6)
  • Best win-loss record: Michael Schlact*, “A+” Bakersfield Blaze (3-0)
  • Best ERA (at least 25 innings): Dylan Axelrod*, “A+” Birmingham Barons (2.367); Daniel Rosenbaum, “A” Hagertown Suns (2.363)
  • Worst ERA (at least 25 innings): Scot Drucker, “AAA” Toledo Mud Hens (5.56)
  • Most strikeouts: Daniel Rosenbaum, “A” Hagertown Suns (85)
  • Most walks: Aaron Poreda*, “AAA” Portland Beavers; Eric Berger, “AA” Akron Aeros; David Kopp*, “AAA” Memphis Redbirds (39)
  • Best strikeout/walk ratio (20+ innings): Dylan Axelrod*, “A” Birmingham Barons (5.2)
  • Worst strikeout/walk ratio (20+ innings): Aaron Poreda*, “AAA” Portland Beavers (0.9)

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Sunday update

JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — An update from the world of Jewish baseball players:

  • Los Angeles Dodgers C Brad Ausmus is doing well in his rehab stint with the Inland Empire 66ers, a Class A-advanced team. The 41-year-old has six hits in 12 at-bats with two walks and two RBIs. Ausmus had just four at-bats with the Dodgers this season before injuring his back. It was his first and only time on the disabled list in a lengthy career. In Ausmus’ absence, Dodger catchers Russell Martin (.247 average, .351 on-base percentage, .337 slugging percentage) and A.J. Ellis (.214 average, .306 OBP, .238 SLG) have performed adequately, if not exceptionally.
  • As a group, MLB’s Jewish pitchers have had a dismal season. Boston Red Sox RP Scott Schoeneweis was released back in May, and their collective ERA only recently dipped below 6.00. Oakland A’s RP Craig Breslow remains an exception, with a 3-2 record, 3.15 ERA, strikeout/walk ratio of 40/16, and opponent batting average of just .175. A’s manager Bob Geren has been lobbying to get Breslow into the 2010 All-Star Game. In his most recent start, Scott Feldman (5-8, 5.32 ERA, 63/33) delivered a seven-inning, 2 ER performance against the Baltimore Orioles. (7/9/2010), Texas Rangers SP
  • Since returning from the disabled list, Texas Rangers 2B Ian Kinsler hasn’t displayed the power (31 HRs) and speed (31 stolen bases) that he did in 2009, but he is hitting for average (.311) and is on pace for a career-high on-base percentage of .411.
  • New York Mets 1B Ike Davis hit his 10th home run of the season on July 4, making him just the third rookie in Met history to hit 10 HRs before the All-Star break. Rumor has it that the Seattle Mariners wouldn’t consider trading star pitcher Cliff Lee to the Mets unless Davis was part of the deal. Davis’ habit of landing in the dugout after catching a pop foul has been immortalized in a video game.
  • Boston Red Sox 1B Kevin Youkilis narrowly lost another chance to join the 2010 All-Star Game. Youkilis was one of five AL players chosen to participate in a “Final Vote” for the last spot on the AL roster, but Youkilis finished second to New York Yankees RF Nick Swisher in the closest contest in the nine-year history of the Final Vote. According to MLB.com, Swisher used his Twitter account — baseball’s biggest at more than 1.2-million followers — to obtain endorsements from Jessica Alba, Ivanka Trump and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
  • Philadelphia Phillies prospect Michael Schwimer, a 6’8″ pitcher whom Jewish Baseball News dubbed a “monster of the mound,” was promoted to the Lehigh Valley IronPigs (AAA). The 24-year-old reliever had compiled a 5-3 record with the Reading Phillies (AA), including 58 strikeouts in just 40 innings. If you’re interested in what Schwimer has to say about things, you can catch his blog here.
  • Also moving up in the world is St. Louis Cardinals prospect David Kopp. The transition to AAA ball hasn’t been easy for the 24-year-old starting pitcher. Kopp dominated the AA Texas League while with the Springfield Cardinals this season, going 8-1 with a 3.08 ERA. By contrast, he has lost all four of his starts as a Memphis Redbird.
  • The Los Angeles Dodgers will celebrate Jewish Community Day on July 25 by giving away Dodgers yarmulkes. Their opponent? Ike Davis and the New York Mets.

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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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