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Browsing Posts tagged Eric Jaffe

By Scott Barancik, editor

A couple of minor-leaguers we didn’t know about until recently have been added to our roster of Jewish players.

As they used to say on Law and Order, here are their stories:

Jeremy Rathjen, 23

A 6-foot-5-inch, 195-pound outfielder out of Rice University, Rathjen was chosen by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 11th round of the 2012 amateur draft. He spent the 2012 season with the rookie-league Ogden Raptors, where he excelled, ranking among team leaders with a .324 average (4th), nine HRs (1st/tie), 53 RBIs (3rd), 17 doubles (2nd/tie), 16 stolen bases (2nd), a .443 on-base percentage (1st), and a .943 OPS (1st).

This year Rathjen’s playing for the Great Lakes Loons (Class A). Through Sunday’s games he was hitting .239 with 7 HRs, 60 RBIs (1st), 29 doubles (1st), 14 hit-by-pitches (1st), and a .347 on-base percentage (3rd).

Rathjen was the valedictorian of his high-school class in Houston, Tex. He turned down the Arizona Diamondbacks, who had selected him in the 45th round of the 2008 draft, to attend Rice. He was selected first team All-Conference USA his senior year and led the Owls with 9 home runs, 14 doubles, and a .525 slugging percentage.

Baseball America predicted he would be chosen within the first five rounds of the 2012 draft, but he dropped to the 11th round, possibly because of an ACL tear in his right knee. Improbably, he was one of three Jewish players chosen in the 11th round that year, the other two being Maxx Tissenbaum (San Diego Padres) and Eric Jaffe (Chicago White Sox).

Greg Zebrack, 22

Greg Zebrack went undrafted in 2013, but he didn’t escape the attention of the Washington Nationals, which signed him shortly after. Since then the 6-foot-1-inch, 200-pound outfielder has played 37 games for the Auburn Doubledays (Class A-short season), hitting .236 with 1 HR, 14 RBIs, 7 stolen bases, and a .336 on-base percentage. He’s hit significantly better with men in scoring position (.290) and against lefties (.310).

Zebrack’s path to the pros was serpentine. After starring on the baseball team at his North Hollywood high school, he rejected a 43rd-round draft bid by the Los Angeles Dodgers in favor of playing for the USC Trojans. But scant playing time his freshman year led him to transfer to the University of Pennsylvania, where he became a legitimate star after sitting out his sophomore season.

After graduating from Penn, Zebrack returned to USC for an MBA and another shot at baseball there. In 2013 he hit .345 with 3 HRs, 15 doubles, a .422 on-base percentage and a .495 slugging percentage for the Trojans.

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June recruits push current pro total to 65

By Scott Barancik/Jewish Baseball News

Major League teams drafted at least 13 Jewish amateurs in June and signed at least two undrafted players. Since then at least 10 have signed, pushing the current number of MOTs in the majors and minors to 65.

So who are the Fab 15? A complete list is included in the table below. Here are some other facts about them:

  • Nine of the 15 were selected out of college, and the remaining six from high school.
  • Four of the 15 decided to forego the pros temporarily in order to attend college. The only draftee we’re uncertain about is Macalester College alum Mitch Glasser. In a great interview with Rabbi Jeremy Fine, Glasser said he expected to sign with the White Sox and join the franchise in Spring 2013, but his status remains unconfirmed.
  • Baseball America ranked recent high-school grads Alex Bregman and Rhett Wiseman among the top 150 amateurs available in the 2012 draft but correctly predicted that both would choose to attend college now. The publication said scouts “love (Wiseman’s) athleticism and raw tools,” and it pointed out that Bregman broke New Mexico’s single-season high-school home run record last year with 18.
  • One recruit, Tampa Bay Rays prospect Sean Bierman, already has been promoted to Class A. Given the Rays’ reputation for finding bargains, it’s perhaps no surprise that Bierman received just $5,000 for signing.
  • Max Fried, an 18-year-old pitcher from Van Nuys, Calif., was the 7th overall pick in the June 2012 draft, making him the fifth-highest Jewish draft pick of all time. He also earned a tidy $3-million bonus. Baseball America calls him “cerebral and determined,” as well as a possible No. 1 or No. 2 starter in the majors.
1Max Fried (P)San Diego Padres (1/7)YesAZL Padres (Rookie)
2Jon Moscot (P)Cincinnati Reds (4/142)YesBillings Mustangs (Rookie)
3Sean Bierman (P)Tampa Bay Rays (10/332)YesBowling Green Hot Rods (A)
4Maxx Tissenbaum (2B)San Diego Padres (11/345)YesEugene Emeralds (A-short season)
5Eric Jaffe (P)Chicago White Sox (11/351)YesBristol White Sox (Rookie)
6Sam Kimmel (C)Baltimore Orioles (18/552)YesAberdeen Iron Birds (A-short season)
7Jeremy Schaffer (1B)St. Louis Cardinals (18/570)YesJohnson City Cardinals (Rookie)
8Jake Drossner (P)Chicago Cubs (23/704)NoUniv. of Maryland
9Rhett Wiseman (OF)Chicago Cubs (25/764)NoVanderbilt
10Alex Bregman (2B)Boston Red Sox (29/901)NoLSU
11Jacob Kapstein (P)Detroit Tigers (35/1084)YesGCL Tigers (Rookie)
12Max Ungar (C)Washington Nat'ls (36/1104)NoDenison Univ.
13Mitch Glasser (2B)Chicago White Sox (39/1191)UnknN.A.
14Jacob Booden (P)St. Louis Cardinals (undrafted)YesJohnson City Cardinals (Rookie)
15Tim Remes (C)Detroit Tigers (undrafted)YesConnecticut Tigers (A-short season)
Source: Jewish Baseball News, Jewish Sports Review, and reader input

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Tally of Jews in MLB draft reaches 11

JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — The running count of Jews chosen in last month’s MLB amateur draft has reached 11.

Jewish Baseball News last reported that at least six of the 1,500 players selected in the three-day draft were Jewish. Since then, our friends at Jewish Sports Review have identified another five Jews, shown below in red. Where possible, we list the signing status of each player, and which minor-league squad they have been assigned to, if any:

  1. Jake Lemmerman, SS (Los Angeles Dodgers: 5th round, 172th overall pick). Background: Duke University. Status: Signed.  Playing for the Ogden Raptors (Rookie Pioneer League).
  2. Zach Weiss, P (Pittsburgh Pirates: 10th round, 297th overall pick). Background: Northwood High School, Irvine, Calif. Status: Not signed. May play at UCLA instead.
  3. Jason Markovitz, RP (Seattle Mariners: 13th round, 402nd overall pick): Background: Long Beach State. Status: Signed. Playing for the Everett AquaSox (Class A-short season).
  4. Andrew Pevsner, P (Los Angeles Dodgers: 16th round, 502nd overall pick). Background: Johns Hopkins University. Status: Signed. Playing for the Ogden Raptors (Rookie Pioneer League).
  5. Mike Schwartz, 1B (Chicago White Sox: 17th round, 518th overall pick). Background: University of Tampa. Status: Signed. Playing for the Bristol White Sox (Rookie Applachian League).
  6. Eric Jaffe, 1B/P (Boston Red Sox: 19th round, 593rd overall pick). Background: Bishop O’Dowd High School, Oakland, Calif. Status: Not signed.
  7. Jeremy Gould, P (New York Mets: 28th round, 842nd overall pick). Background: Duke University. Status: Signed. Playing for the GCL Mets (Rookie Gulf Coast League) .
  8. Jeff Urlaub, P (Oakland A’s: 30th round, 905th pick). Background: Grand Canyon University. Status: Signed. Playing for the AZL Athletics (Rookie Arizona League).
  9. Zach Kapstein, C (Boston Red Sox: 44th round, 1343th pick). Backgound: Tiverton High School, Little Compton, R.I. Status: Signed. Playing for the GCL Red Sox (Rookie Gulf Coast League).
  10. Michael Fagan, SP (San Diego Padres: 45th round, 1354th pick). Status: Not signed. According to his school’s web site, Fagan “has decided to delay his professional (baseball) career and attend Princeton University in the Fall.”
  11. Harris Fanaroff, P (Washington Nationals: 50th round, 1496th pick). Status: Not signed. Will likely attend Lehigh University in the Fall.

Although he was not selected in the 2010 amateur draft, Lehigh University SP Andrew Berger attended a couple of the post-draft MLB tryouts as a free agent and later signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Berger is playing for the Yakima Bears (Class A-short season).


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