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Browsing Posts tagged Ian Kinsler

By Scott Barancik, editor

With Team Israel’s surprising run at the World Baseball Championship behind us, Jewish Baseball News turns to that beloved annual rite: Spring Training.

A total of 19 Jewish players were invited to MLB Spring Training camps this year, either as part of their teams’ active roster, 40-man roster, or non-roster invitee list. Here is how they’re doing through games played March 17.

Danny Valencia (Mariners)

  • In the first Spring Training with his new team, 32-year-old Valencia is hitting .184 with 1 HR, 3 RBIs, and 5 walks in 38 at-bats. Although he’s a career .321 hitter against righties (and .246 vs. lefties), he has struggled equally against both so far.
  • Seattle has Valencia playing first base almost exclusively. Last season with Oakland, Valencia had no errors at first base, one in the outfield, and 13 at third base.

Richard Bleier (Orioles)

  • Traded to Baltimore by the Yankees last month, Bleier has performed well this Spring, delivering a 1.50 ERA across four outings and six innings overall, and yielding six hits and one walk while fanning four.
  • Bleier is among several pitchers still fighting for a spot in the Orioles’ bullpen.

Max Fried (Braves/minors)

  • A 1st-round draft pick of the San Diego Padres in 2012, Fried — who missed the entire 2015 season due to Tommy John surgery — was impressive in his first MLB Spring Training, yielding a hit and three walks in three outings (and four innings overall) while striking out five.
  • Atlanta not only has promoted Fried to Double-A but added him to the Braves’ 40-man roster, meaning he will be eligible for call-up during the regular season.

Ryan Braun (Brewers)

  • Braun has seen limited action in Spring Training, going 3-for-11 with a HR, double, three RBIs and a walk while striking out three times. Nevertheless, the 33-year-old has remained something of a lightning rod for criticism, most recently for his complaints that Spring Training lasts too long.

Kevin Pillar (Blue Jays)

  • Pillar has been hot this Spring, hitting .355 with six extra-base hits, one RBI, and a .444 on-base percentage. He’s also been batting leadoff, a privilege largely denied him in past seasons due to a dearth of walks.
  • In prior Springs, Pillar’s average has ranged from .111 to .264.

Rowdy Tellez (Blue Jays/minors)

  • A non-roster invitee with a reputation for power — he hit .297 with 23 HRs last season at Double-A — Tellez has hit .259 this Spring with no home runs, two doubles, two RBIs, four walks, and 10 strikeouts.
  • No word yet on which minor-league team Tellez will be sent to after Spring Training ends.

Brad Goldberg (White Sox/minors)

  • In addition to playing for Team Israel in the 2017 World Baseball Championship, Goldberg pitched well for Chicago during Spring Training. In four appearances and 4.2 innings overall, he delivered a 0.00 ERA and earned a save while yielding two walks a hit and striking out one.
  • Earlier this week, the White Sox sent Goldberg back to Triple-A but placed him on the Major League club’s 40-man roster. He’s likely to make his MLB debut this season.

Ian Kinsler (Tigers)

  • Normally a strong Spring Training performer — through games played March 17, his career average was .328 with 30 HRs and 117 RBIs — Kinsler has hit .263 this year, with one HR and one RBI in 19 at-bats.
  • Kinsler also has played for Team USA in the WBC, hitting .294 in 17 at-bats.

Craig Breslow (Twins/minors)

  • Breslow, who has adjusted his pitching form in a data-driven bid to revive his stalled career, earned a minor-league contract with the Twins and an invitation to Spring Training. So far, so good: in five appearances and 4.1 innings overall, Breslow has yielded no earned runs and just one hit while striking out four. On the down side, he’s walked five.
  • Breslow is likely to begin the 2017 regular season in Triple-A.

Alex Bregman (Astros)

  • In addition to playing for Team USA in the WBC, Bregman has hit .304 in Spring Training, stroking two doubles and a walk while striking out once in 23 at-bats.

Garrett Stubbs (Astros/minors)

  • A non-roster invitee who hit a combined .304 in High-A and Double-A last season, Stubbs didn’t get a chance to play with Houston this Spring due to a problem with his throwing arm. He was later assigned to minor-league camp, but manager A.J Hinch said the Astros were “excited” about Stubbs, whom he called “really good behind the plate.”

Michael Barash (Angels/minors)

  • Barash, a 2016 draft pick, was perhaps the most unlikely non-roster invitee this Spring, having topped out at Single-A his rookie season (and hitting .240 there after batting .314 in rookie-league ball). The 22-year-old catcher went a perfect 2-for-2 with the Angels, singling and doubling in two pinch-hit at-bats.

Ryan Lavarnway (Athletics/minors)

  • Despite a non-roster invite, former major leaguer Lavarnway has seen limited play during Spring Training, having instead spent his time starring for Team Israel in the WBC. The 6’4″ catcher went 2-for-3 with a double for the Athletics before joining Team Israel.

Scott Feldman (Reds)

  • Signed to a one-year deal during the offseason, the 34-year-old Feldman is 0-1 this Spring with a 4.50 ERA. In eight innings spread across the starts, he’s yielded seven hits (including 3 HRs) and two walks while striking out seven.
  • Feldman has secured a spot as a starter in Cincinnati’s rotation and might start the team’s Opening Day game.

Jared Lakind (Pittsburgh/minors)

  • A non-roster invitee, Lakind has recorded one save this Spring and held opponents scoreless over three relief appearances. He has yielded two walks and two hits over three total innings while striking out two.
  • Lakind also played for Team Israel in the WBC.

Corey Baker (Cardinals/minors)

  • A non-roster invitee, Baker made his MLB Spring Training debut before playing for Team Israel in the WBC. In a 2.2-inning relief stint, he gave up 2 hits and a hit batsman but struck out one and yielded no runs.

Ryan Sherriff (Cardinals/minors)

  • A non-roster invitee, Sherriff has made the most of his first MLB Spring Training, going 0-1 with a 1.35 in six appearances and 6.2 innings overall. The 28th-round 2011 draft pick yielded six hits and one walk while hitting one batter and striking out an impressive eight.

Joc Pederson (Dodgers)

  • In a familiar pattern, Joc Pederson is hitting .242 this Spring with both a lot of home runs (4) and a lot of strikeouts (10). But that’s not giving him credit for advances he made in 2016, his second full season in the Majors. Pederson raised his batting average 36 points last year (to .246) while reducing his strikeouts, hitting more doubles, and slightly improving his home-run frequency.

Ike Davis (Dodgers/minors)

  • Davis, a former major leaguer who signed a minor-league contract with Los Angeles during the offseason, went 2-for-2 as a non-roster invitee before joining Team Israel in the WBC. He has been assigned to the Dodgers’ Triple-A team.

Ty Kelly (Mets/minors)

  • Kelly, who played for Team Israel in the WBC but does not identify exclusively as Jewish, is 2-for-8 this Spring with two RBIs and a .500 on-base percentage. He made his MLB debut in 2016.

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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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By Sam Brief, Correspondent

In September’s qualifying round for the 2017 World Baseball Classic (WBC), Colorado Rockies prospect Scotty Burcham tallied a .455 batting average, the best on Team Israel and among the top 15 for all teams.

If not for Facebook, Burcham might never have swung a bat in Brooklyn.

Since anyone who is Jewish or has a Jewish parent, grandparent or spouse can play for Team Israel, volunteers like Alex Jacobs, a Houston Astros scout, were asked to help find such players. Jacobs often employed creative methods.

Jewish baseball fans didn't know that Colorado Rockies prospect <a href=

Scotty Burcham was Jewish until a volunteer scout for Team Israel 'discovered' him" width="300" height="290" srcset="http://www.jewishbaseballnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/burcham-120x116.jpg 120w, http://www.jewishbaseballnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/burcham-300x290.jpg 300w, http://www.jewishbaseballnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/burcham.jpg 381w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" /> Jewish baseball fans didn’t know Colorado Rockies prospect Scotty Burcham was Jewish until a volunteer scout for Team Israel ‘discovered’ him

“It’s Facebook stalking,” said Jacobs, who recently was named Team Israel’s director of player personnel. “I researched Scotty Burcham, and I found his Facebook. When I research these kids, I look for their parents, and I see if their parents have any Jewish in them. His mother was from New York, I believe. So I checked one box. Then, I looked at a picture of her and thought she looked kind of Jewish.

“So I called [Team Israel manager] Jerry Weinstein and said, ‘How about Scotty Burcham?’ And he said ‘Scotty Burcham? What do you have on him?’ And I’m like, ‘He plays shortstop. He’s Jewish. His mom looks like she’s Jewish.’ So Jerry called Scotty’s manager, and the manager asked Scotty if he was Jewish, and Scotty said, ‘Yeah, I am. Why do you ask?’ And the rest is history. He played really well for us.”

Burcham filled a gaping roster hole in the middle infield and helped Team Israel win the WBC qualifiers for the first time. Israel took down Great Britain and Brazil and then crushed Great Britain, 9-1, in the championship game, to advance to the March 2017 WBC games in Seoul, South Korea.

Houston Astros scout Alex Jacobs (left) and Los Angeles Dodgers scout Jonah Rosenthal (right) volunteered to help Team Israel build its roster for the World Baseball Classic

Houston Astros scout Alex Jacobs (left) and Los Angeles Dodgers scout Jonah Rosenthal (right) volunteered to help Team Israel build its roster for the World Baseball Classic

Israel’s 28-man roster in Brooklyn included former Major League Baseball players such as Ike Davis, Jason Marquis and Josh Satin, who skipped the final game to fly to California for the birth of his child. But Israel’s Law of Return made the roster-building process unlike any other, as the team would venture outside of the database of ballplayers already identified as Jewish.

The WBC’s rules state that a player can join a country’s team if he is eligible for citizenship within that country. Per Israel’s Law of Return, citizenship can be granted to anyone who has a Jewish parent, grandparent or spouse.

“We’re looking for ballplayers who can meet the Law of Return for the land of Israel and become Israeli citizens,” said Peter Kurz, the president of the Israeli Association of Baseball. “That’s a much wider interpretation than the actual Jewish law, which says that you have to have a Jewish mother in order to be considered as a Jew. We were able to make it a little broader.”

Kurz added that Paul Goldschmidt of the Arizona Diamondbacks, whose father is Jewish, doesn’t qualify since he is devoutly Christian.

“We don’t want people who don’t feel Jewish heritage,” Kurz said.

Volunteers like Houston’s Jacobs, Jonah Rosenthal of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Guy Stevens of the Kansas City Royals, and baseball veterans Adam Gladstone and Ty Eriksen uncovered some previously-unknown gems, such as Burcham. But MLB’s rules require proof of eligibility. That was Kurz’s job. Jacobs, Rosenthal and the others gave Kurz the names, Kurz reached out to the players and proved a Jewish connection, and Weinstein managed the team.

“I would get the emails or numbers of their parents, and in almost every case, the parents were totally thrilled that their sons would compete for Team Israel,” Kurz said. “They would send in their son’s Bar Mitzvah certificate, or a birth certificate or a bris certificate. In some cases, I would need a birth certificate of the father. And in other cases, I would have to go to a grandparent.”

It wasn’t always so straightforward. For one player, a tombstone with a Jewish star had to serve as proof.

“The father went to take a picture of his mother’s tombstone, and sent it to me,” Kurz said. “That was the most extreme.”

In between identifying Jewish players and providing proof of their eligibility to MLB officials, Team Israel had to secure each player’s commitment to play. Some former MLBers, like Davis and Marquis, were tougher gets.

“I called both those guys twenty-something times before I got a return call,” Weinstein said. “Marquis had basically retired in the middle of 2015, when he was playing with the Reds. But he pitched on an alumni team in the [National Baseball Congress] World Series in Wichita, and scouts told me he pitched pretty well. So that sparked my interest in him. … He said, ‘I’m gonna check with my wife,’ then he said, ‘I’ll do it.’ He was a great teammate, and a great pitcher on the team.

“Ike Davis got his release from the Yankees, so he was hanging loose, and the timing was just right.”

Team Israel began with a list of known Jewish players maintained by Jewish Baseball News and Jewish Sports Review. Because certain positions were underrepresented, particularly in the middle infield, Weinstein asked his volunteer scouts to find unknowns.

“A lot of what we did was scouring through systems, like college rosters, to find more,” said Rosenthal, the Dodgers scout. “It was an all-hands-on-deck approach. Some of these guys we hadn’t seen. But we weren’t dealing with the biggest demographic out there. Sometimes it involved calling scouts. Sometimes it involved digging for information.” Roughly half a dozen previously-unknown players were discovered as a result of these efforts.

In March, Team Israel will head to Seoul to face off against Chinese Taipei, South Korea and the Netherlands in Pool A of the WBC, where a total of 16 teams will compete for the title of world’s best.

Unlike the qualifiers, which took place during MLB’s regular season, the WBC will take place during the offseason. Kurz and Weinstein hope to add several Major Leaguers to Israel’s roster, including Joc Pederson (who played for Israel in the 2013 WBC qualifiers), Scott Feldman, Alex Bregman, Ian Kinsler, Ryan Braun, Sam Fuld, and more. Weinstein said Kansas City Royals 3B Mike Moustakas, who is married to a Jewish woman, would be eligible if not for a recent stint on the disabled list.

However the roster pans out, volunteers like Gladstone, Jacobs and Rosenthal hope Israel’s success on the international stage will boosts its popularity within the country, which has been a consistent goal. In early January, players will head to Israel for a team trip.

“When we got that final out in Brooklyn, to know the positives that it would do for growing the game in Israel is amazing,” Gladstone said. “It’s not only the money, but also the equipment and notoriety. You felt like you accomplished something. You had a very small part in growing the game of baseball, and for providing opportunities for young kids in Israel who maybe wouldn’t have that if we didn’t win a baseball game.”

# # #

sam brief mugSam Brief is a sophomore at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, where he is a television reporter, radio producer, play-by-play man and writer. Follow him on Twitter @sambrief and feel free to shoot him an email at briefsam@gmail.com.

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By Scott Barancik, Editor

A total of 146 seasons have passed since Lip Pike became the first Jewish player to homer. Now, we have a new milestone to celebrate.

Joc Pederson‘s game-tying, 2-run blast last night was the 113th Jewish home run of the season, tying the mark set in 2012. Pederson’s home run, his 25th of the year, left his bat at a blistering 110.6 mph, tops in the MLB for the night.

Joc Pederson hits record-tying 113th Jewish HR of 2016

Joc Pederson hits record-tying 113th Jewish HR of 2016

Less than half an hour later, Ian Kinsler crushed a 2-run, go-ahead shot for the record-breaking 114th round-tripper of the year. Kinsler’s 27th home run traveled 410 feet to left-center and left him one behind Lou Whitaker (28) on Detroit’s all-time list of most HRs in a season by a second baseman. The 3rd-inning blast almost didn’t count: despite heavy rain, umpires allowed the Tigers and Cleveland to complete the 5th inning before calling a delay and, eventually, the game.

Ian Kinsler hits 114th Jewish HR of 2016 to break season record

Ian Kinsler hits 114th Jewish HR of 2016 to break season record

Both players likely were unaware they were making history. Earlier this month, Alex Bregman smashed the 3,000th Jewish home run in Major League history.

Although rookie Lip Pike led the National Association with four home runs in 1871, his rookie season with the Troy Haymakers, Jewish players and home runs have not always been so prolific.

In 49 of the past 146 season, Jewish players did not hit a single dinger. During the five seasons from 1986 to 1990, in fact, there was not a single Jewish at-bat.

Aside from Pike, the concept of a Jewish power hitter is, historically speaking, a relatively new one. No Jewish player had hit even 10 HRs in a season until a Detroit Tigers rookie named Hank Greenberg stroked 12 in 1933. This helps explain why Jewish fans went so crazy over Greenberg, who went on to hit a then-N.L. record 58 home runs in 1938, two short of Babe Ruth’s then-Major League record of 60.

By comparison, today is a golden age for Jewish baseball fans. Three players have 25 or more home runs — Ryan Braun (30), Ian Kinsler (27), and Joc Pederson (25) — an accomplishment matched only once before, in 2010.

Jewish HRs by season

Year
AB
HR
Total*107,3153,012
199000
198900
198800
198700
198600
189940
188740
190290
1881180
1985220
1901260
1903270
1920310
1882410
1919470
1991510
1910560
1908580
1927740
1895740
1916760
1918810
1909910
1911920
1907950
1906990
19051110
19041180
19641640
19762380
18753120
19174330
190000
189800
189700
189600
189400
189300
189200
189100
189000
188900
188800
188600
188500
188400
188300
188000
187900
1984631
19572041
18742341
19132491
18762821
18784191
19652372
19252862
19831323
19812233
19593023
19364903
19216373
18711344
19582254
18772664
18732854
19633154
19243554
19305984
19426804
19144225
19266145
19297015
19239495
19622576
19822636
19933116
19125246
18722857
19154367
19614817
19225767
19924248
19318988
19603789
19773959
19435359
19757149
19287579
19321,1609
199447110
194180911
194469913
196775213
195669516
197887518
19331,26118
198085119
199596521
19741,22121
196650622
197979323
194955726
19961,32226
19341,18927
194857930
19681,12231
19731,70534
19551,06035
19711,33536
19451,34837
194789739
19701,48540
20031,80540
19351,28741
20051,64141
19971,71845
20132,00647
19691,43750
19981,52750
19461,30454
19401,47154
19721,90754
20062,41455
19541,61456
20142,29556
19391,87457
20001,99160
19521,87962
20042,04563
19371,95764
19501,19465
20021,86866
19511,90269
20011,70973
19531,71077
20102,30978
19382,45681
20152,82781
20072,44484
20112,16294
20082,223100
20092,277101
19992,089102
20122,598113
2016*2,730114
* Through games played 9/28/2016
Note: The 3,012 Jewish home runs hit through 9/28/2016 were slugged by these Major League players. The tally includes home runs hit by David Newhan before 2000, when he began identifying as a Messianic Jew. It excludes home runs hit by Jim Gaudet, who converted to Judaism after his playing career ended.
Source: JewishBaseballNews.com



As great a season as Jewish players are having collectively, 2016 isn’t close to the most prodigious in terms of home-run frequency.

Through games played 9/28/2016, Jewish players are homering once every 23.95 at-bats, or 13th-best on the home-run frequency chart. The best year came way back in 1950, when Jewish players such as Al Rosen (37 HRs) and Sid Gordon (27 HRs) homered a total of once every 18.37 at-bats.

Jewish home-run frequency, by season

Year
AB/HR
Total*35.63
195018.37
194819.30
199920.48
194921.42
195322.21
200822.23
200922.54
201222.99
196623.00
194723.00
201123.00
200123.41
2016*23.95
194624.15
194027.24
195127.57
200228.30
196928.74
195428.82
200729.10
201029.60
195530.29
195230.31
193830.32
199830.54
193730.58
193531.39
200432.46
193932.88
200033.18
187133.50
197934.48
201534.90
197235.31
196836.19
194536.43
197137.08
197037.13
199738.18
200540.02
187240.71
201440.98
196042.00
201342.68
196242.83
195643.44
198243.83
197743.89
200643.89
198344.00
193444.04
198044.79
200345.13
199545.95
199447.10
197848.61
197350.15
199650.85
199351.83
199253.00
194453.77
195856.25
196757.85
197458.14
194359.44
191562.29
198463.00
187766.50
196168.71
193370.06
187371.25
194173.55
198174.33
196378.75
197579.33
192282.29
192884.11
191484.40
191287.33
192488.75
1959100.67
1931112.25
1965118.50
1926122.80
1932128.89
1929140.20
1925143.00
1930149.50
1936163.33
1942170.00
1923189.80
1957204.00
1921212.33
1874234.00
1913249.00
1876282.00
1878419.00
1990na
1989na
1988na
1987na
1986na
1899na
1887na
1902na
1881na
1985na
1901na
1903na
1920na
1882na
1919na
1991na
1910na
1908na
1927na
1895na
1916na
1918na
1909na
1911na
1907na
1906na
1905na
1904na
1964na
1976na
1875na
1917na
1900na
1898na
1897na
1896na
1894na
1893na
1892na
1891na
1890na
1889na
1888na
1886na
1885na
1884na
1883na
1880na
1879na
* Through games played 9/28/2016
Source: JewishBaseballNews.com

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

Alex Bregman was seconds away from hitting a historic home run" width="520" height="356" srcset="http://www.jewishbaseballnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/bregman-3000th-home-run-9-10-2016-120x82.jpg 120w, http://www.jewishbaseballnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/bregman-3000th-home-run-9-10-2016-300x205.jpg 300w, http://www.jewishbaseballnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/bregman-3000th-home-run-9-10-2016-768x526.jpg 768w, http://www.jewishbaseballnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/bregman-3000th-home-run-9-10-2016-900x616.jpg 900w, http://www.jewishbaseballnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/bregman-3000th-home-run-9-10-2016.jpg 982w" sizes="(max-width: 520px) 100vw, 520px" /> He didn’t know it, but Alex Bregman was seconds away from hitting a historic home run

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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kinsler 200th hr 7-3-2016xxxx
By Scott Barancik, Editor

Detroit 2B Ian Kinsler crushed his 200th career home run today in a 5-1 win over the Rays.

The two-run shot, his second in two days, came off P Danny Farquhar in the 9th inning and struck the catwalk high above Tampa Bay’s Tropicana Field.

Kinsler is the fifth Jewish player to reach the 200-homer threshold. He joins Hank Greenberg (331 HRs), Shawn Green (328), Ryan Braun (268), and Sid Gordon (202). Kinsler passed Al Rosen (192) earlier this season.

Kinsler’s 200th came in his 1,460th MLB game. By comparison, Greenberg reached 200 HRs in his 860th game, Braun in his 867th, Green in his 1,084th, and Gordon in his 1,458th. All four other players hit multiple homers on the day they reached 200: Green hit a record-tying four round-trippers (May 23, 2002), Greenberg hit two (September 7, 1939), Braun hit two (September 16, 2012) and Gordon hit two (August 14, 1955) — one each in both games of a double-header.

It’s not the only milestone Kinsler reached today. According to MLB.com, he now is one of only three active players — and 40 total in MLB history — with 200 home runs, 1,000 runs scored, 1,600 hits and 200 stolen bases. The other active players are Alex Rodriguez and Carlos Beltran.

Kinsler is enjoying an unexpected power surge this season. Since peaking at 32 home runs in 2011, the 34-year-old Arizona native has yet to hit 20 again. With 16 so far in 2016, however, he already has exceeded his season totals from 2013 (13 HRs) and 2015 (11) and is on pace to breach 30.

Kinsler’s home run was just one of his contribution’s to today’s win over the Rays. With Detroit down 1-0 in the top of the 8th inning, the Arizona State alum doubled and later daringly scored from second base on an attempted double-play. “That got us going, really,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus told MLB.com. “It was great heads-up baserunning, aggressive baserunning.”

The 11th-year player also shone in the field, making a slick backhanded stop and toss to retire Curt Casali in the 3rd inning.

Ausmus summed up Kinsler’s attitude thusly. “He definitely plays with an edge, in a good way. He wants to beat the other team. It’s almost as if he’s a little bit mad at the other team.”

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By Scott Barancik, editor

It looks like manager Brad Ausmus’s stay with the Detroit Tigers is coming to an end.

Citing an unnamed source with “knowledge of the front office’s plans,” the Detroit Free Press reported this morning that Tigers owner Mike Ilitch will fire Ausmus sometime after the the team’s final game of the regular season, on Oct. 4. The 46-year-old former catcher, who coached Team Israel in the 2012 World Baseball Classic qualifiers and is the sixth Jewish manager in MLB history, is in the second year of a 3-year contract.

Expectations were high when the rookie manager took the helm in 2014. Detroit had finished in first place in 2013 with a 93-69 record and made it to the American League Championship Series, which it lost to the Red Sox four games to two. Under Ausmus, the Tigers again finished in first, this time with a 90-72 record, but was swept by the Orioles in the division series.

The 2015 season, by contrast, has been a major disappointment. The last-place Tigers are 64-75 with 23 games to go and have lost 15 of their last 20. According to the Free Press, “many fans have blamed the Tigers’ disappointing season in large part on the manager.” But despite strong play from 2B Ian Kinsler and others, Ausmus has been working with a denuded roster.

After four straight division titles, the Tigers were expected to be serious contenders again this season. But Dombrowksi traded stars David Price, Yoenis Cespedes and Joakim Soria at the July trade deadline after it was decided that the team was too far out of the playoff race. Injuries to Miguel Cabrera and the offensive struggles of Victor Martinez didn’t give the Tigers optimism they could earn a wild-card berth.

It’s not all bleak for Ausmus. Minutes ago, USA Today baseball columnist Bob Nightingale tweeted that the Connecticut native could end up in San Diego if the Padres let manager Pat Murphy go.

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By Scott Barancik, editor

Detroit’s Ian Kinsler hit 2 home runs Sunday, and he made sure the second one counted.

Seattle was leading the Tigers 4-3 when Kinsler came up with a man on and two outs in the bottom of the 8th inning. Down 1-and-2 in the count to reliever Mark Lowe, who entered the game with a 0.62 ERA and no home runs yielded this season, Kinsler pounded a 96mph fastball into the left-field stands. The score stood as Detroit won the game 5-4.

Kinsler also hit a solo HR in the 1st inning. (You can see both home runs here.) Yesterday’s was his 13th multi-HR game but the first since 9/7/2011.

After the game, Kinsler joked about Lowe, his former Texas Rangers teammate. “He’ll probably send me a text,” Kinsler said. “He’ll probably send me something nasty because that’s just the way he is. He’s a jokester. He’s a great teammate to have. But tonight we’re on different teams, and we have to compete.”

Kinsler, 33, told MLB.com he hoped Sunday’s win sent a message to his teammates and Detroit’s front office that a playoff run was still possible. At 46-46, the Tigers are in third place in the A.L. Central, 9.5 games behind the division-leading Royals.

Yesterday’s game came amid a season-long power drought for Kinsler, who averaged 23 HRs per 162 games through the first nine years of his career but has just 5 round-trippers in 91 games this season.

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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

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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jml

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Ben Guez congratulates teammate Ian Kinsler after scoring on his 5th-inning home run (Carlos Osorio, AP)

By Scott Barancik, editor

Detroit’s love affair with the late Hank Greenberg may never be matched. But for a day at least, the Tigers again were powered by Jews.

Playing under newly-minted manager Brad Ausmus, Detroit crushed the Blue Jays 18-4 thanks partly to contributions from two Jewish players.

Three-time All-Star Ian Kinsler led the way, going 2-for-3 with a three-run homer, a double, and two walks. Obtained from Texas during the off-season, Kinsler is hitting .333 with 3 HRs, 8 RBIs, a .442 on-base percentage, and an impressive 1.136 OPS.

The big surprise Tuesday was the contribution of outfielder Ben Guez, a last-minute call-up from the Tigers’ minor-league camp who filled- in for injured starter Rajaj Davis. The 27-year-old Guez , who hasn’t played a day of regular-season ball in the Majors, reached base all six times he came to the plate, finishing the day 3-for-3 with 2 doubles, 3 walks, 1 RBI, and 3 runs scored.

Guez was on base when Kinsler homered in the 5th inning.

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By Scott Barancik, editor

Ah, the off-season. That time of year when baseball fans and writers have little else to do but speculate about which players will move, and where. Ian Kinsler made a splash recently when the Texas Rangers traded him to the Milwaukee Brewers for slugger Prince Fielder. Who’s next?

We at Jewish Baseball News profess no inside information or special insight on the topic. Following is a brief update on the latest rumors.

  • Scott Feldman, a 30-year-old starter who split 2013 between the Chicago Cubs and Baltimore Orioles, is a free agent. At least one reputable website, mlbtraderumors.com, thinks the O’s will resign him. Feldman went a combined 12-12 last season with two completes games, a shutout, and a 3.86 ERA .
  • Kevin Youkilis, a 34-year-old infielder who played just 28 games for the New York Yankees last season due to injury, is a free agent. Where he’ll end up is unknown. Youkilis‘ agent told the New York Daily News that he’s “100 percent healthy” after recovering from back surgery. MLB.com’s Ian Browne says it’s unlikely he’ll return to Boston, where Youk spent the first nine years of his MLB career.
  • Jason Marquis, a 35-year-old starter who underwent Tommy John elbow surgery this season and will begin 2014 on the disabled list, is a free agent. Given uncertainty over his health, it’s possible Marquis will be offered a minor-league contract rather than a major-league one.
  • Sam Fuld, a 32-year-old outfielder with the Tampa Bay Rays, is arbitration eligible. On December 2, Fuld will find out whether the Tampa Bay Rays are going to tender a contract or set him loose as a free agent.
  • Kevin Pillar, a 24-year-old who just completed his rookie season with the Toronto Blue Jays, is not a free agent. But as Pillar departed recently to play in the Dominican Winter League, at least one observer wondered whether the Jays might be showcasing him for a possible trade.

  • Ike Davis, a 26-year-old first baseman with the New York Mets, is not a free agent. But general manager Sandy Alderson says either Davis or fellow first baseman Lucas Duda is likely to be dealt before Spring Training begins. Davis, for his part, says he wants to stay in New York.

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Ian Kinsler and Prince Fielder in a 2010 ad

Ian Kinsler and Prince Fielder in a 2010 ad

By Scott Barancik, editor

File this one under the category “Life imitates art.”

It came as news to most of us this week that the Texas Rangers were trading Ian Kinsler for Detroit Tigers slugger Prince Fielder. Few could have predicted the swap.

But looking back, ESPN seems prescient.

In an odd coincidence, a 2010 ad for ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball featured Kinsler and Fielder casually sitting on a couch and musing about  possible trades involving themselves and San Francisco Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum.

See the ad for yourself by clicking here.

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Prince Fielder

By Scott Barancik, editor

Ian Kinsler, a 32-year-old second baseman who has spent his entire 8-year career with the Texas Rangers, is being traded to the Detroit Tigers for slugger Prince Fielder.

Detroit will pay the Rangers an additional $30-million to help cover Fielder’s massive contract. The 29-year-old first baseman “has seven years remaining on his $214-million, nine-year contract while Kinsler has four years on his $75-million, five-year contract,” according to CBSsports.com.

A three-time All-Star and fan favorite in Texas, Kinsler’s move to Detroit comes on the cleats of news that retired All-Star catcher and Team Israel manager Brad Ausmus will succeed Jim Leyland as the Tigers’ helmsman. He is one of only a handful of major leaguers to twice hit 30 or more home runs and steal 30 or more bases in the same season. In 2013 he hit .277 with 13 HRs and 72 RBIs while stealing 15 bases.

CBSsports.com says the trade will open up second base for Rangers prospect Jurickson Profar and will allow MVP Miguel Cabrera to move back from third base to first.

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By Scott Barancik, editor

According to research by our friend Ron Kaplan at his excellent Kaplan’s Korner blog, Boston reliever Craig Breslow will be just the 24th Jewish player to appear in a World Series when he appears in the upcoming Red Sox-Cardinals finale.

The New Haven, Conn., native is expected to be a key piece of Boston’s pitching puzzle. Breslow finished the 2013 regular season with a 5-2 record and a 1.81 ERA across 61 games.

The other active Major Leaguers with World Series experience are Scott Feldman (Texas Rangers, 2011), Ian Kinsler (Texas Rangers, 2010-11), Kevin Youkilis (Boston Red Sox, 2007), and Jason Marquis (St. Louis Cardinals, 2004).

Two Jewish players have been named MVP of a World Series. Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Larry Sherry had a hand in all four Dodger victories over the Chicago White Sox in 1959, earning two wins and two saves on the strength of a 0.71 ERA. Just 23 at the time, he also went a nifty 2-for-4 at the plate. Sherry’s teammate, a kid named Koufax, pitched excellently in the series but lost his only decision, a 1-0 squeaker to the Sox. Still, Sandy went on to be named World Series MVP twice, in 1963 and 1965.

Another Dodger, Steve Yeager, was named co-MVP of the 1981 World Series. He converted to Judaism after his playing career ended.

See Kaplan’s article for a complete list of World Series veterans and how each one performed.

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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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Ian Kinsler races home on a single, shortly after recording his record-setting 163rd stolen base (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Ian Kinsler races home on a single shortly after recording his record-setting 163rd stolen base (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

By Scott Barancik, editor

Ian Kinsler became the career leader in stolen bases among Jewish players Monday night (7/22/2013) with his 163rd theft in 200 attempts (box score).

The 31-year-old Texas Ranger drew a first-inning walk off of New York Yankees pitcher Ivan Nova, promptly stole second off of catcher Chris Stewart, and then scored on a single by Adrian Beltre. The steal nudged Kinsler ahead of retired slugger Shawn Green, who dropped to 2nd on the career leader list (see below).


[table “21” not found /]


Kinsler climbed the career leader list with relative efficiency, reaching the top spot in his 8th MLB season (compared to Green’s 15th), his 4,502th plate appearance (Green had 7,963), and his 200th attempted steal (Green attempted 214), giving him a success rate of 81.5 percent (Green’s was an admirable 75.7 percent) .

Although there is video of Kinsler stealing his record-tying 162nd base — he tied the record on July 13 — MLB.com did not post video of the 163rd theft. By coincidence, Kinsler’s 162nd stolen base made him the Texas Rangers’ career leader.

Kinsler had attempted to steal his 162nd base on July 8 against former teammate (and fellow Jew) Scott Feldman, but Orioles catcher Matt Wieters tossed him out. The Arizona State alum had spent a month on the disabled list earlier this season.

Kinsler is one of only a dozen players in MLB history to twice hit 30 HRs and steal 30 bases in the same season (2009, 2011), making him a two-time member of the “30/30 club.”

Year Tm AB HR RBI SB CS
2006 TEX 423 14 55 11 4
2007 TEX 483 20 61 23 2
2008 TEX 518 18 71 26 2
2009 TEX 566 31 86 31 5
2010 TEX 391 9 45 15 5
2011 TEX 620 32 77 30 4
2012 TEX 655 19 72 21 9
2013 TEX 285 9 36 6 6
8 Yrs 3941 152 503 163 37
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/23/2013.


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Ian Kinsler stealing his record-tying 162nd base (7/13/2013); click photo to see video

Ian Kinsler stealing his record-tying 162nd base (7/13/2013); click photo to see video

By Scott Barancik, editor

The Eighth Commandment orders us not to steal. For Ian Kinsler, we make an exception.

When the 31-year-old Texas Ranger singled and stole second base uncontested in the 9th inning of Saturday’s win over the Detroit Tigers (see video), it was the 162nd theft of his felonious 8-year career. Rangers number-crunchers celebrated: the steal made Kinsler the team’s all-time leader, just ahead of Bump Wills‘ 161.

Maybe it’s just a coincidence that the swivel-hipped star is the son of a prison warden.

Saturday’s theft also left Kinsler tied with retired slugger Shawn Green for the career record among another tribe of players: Jews.


[table “21” not found /]



Kinsler’s base-stealing prowess is well-documented. One of only a dozen players in MLB history to twice hit 30 HRs and steal 30 bases in the same season (2009, 2011), the second baseman has stalked the career record with remarkable efficiency, reaching base safely 81.4 percent of the time.


[table “23” not found /]



He also has been consistent, stealing bases within a narrow range of 11 to 31 per season (see below).

Year Tm AB HR RBI SB CS
2006 TEX 423 14 55 11 4
2007 TEX 483 20 61 23 2
2008 TEX 518 18 71 26 2
2009 TEX 566 31 86 31 5
2010 TEX 391 9 45 15 5
2011 TEX 620 32 77 30 4
2012 TEX 655 19 72 21 9
2013 TEX 270 9 36 5 6
8 Yrs 3926 152 503 162 37
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/18/2013.



Yet Kinsler’s crowning  comes at the nadir of his base-stealing arc. His 5 stolen bases in 307 at-bats this season are a career low. He’s been caught stealing 6 times so far in 2013, tying him for most in the American League. This dismal performance has been enough to knock him down from 10th on the all-time list of best career base-stealing percentages in MLB history at the start of 2013 (among players with 100+ thefts) to 26th today.

“I’ve got to keep running,” Kinsler recently told the Dallas Morning News. “My timing is a little off, and I really haven’t had many chances to go on a straight steal. Mostly they’ve been busted hit-and-runs or running with two strikes. My mentality isn’t quite there yet.”

If history is any guide, Kinsler will return to form soon. And when he steals his record-breaking 163rd, we’ll be there to cheer.

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By Scott Barancik, editor

We try to give you the news in bite-sized pieces via Facebook, Twitter, and our new ‘Bunts’ column, shown on the top-left corner of the Jewish Baseball News home page. But sometimes there’s more than a mouthful of news to deliver. Today is one of those days.

So what’s new?

Kinsler's crazy slide (buzzfeed.com)

Kinsler’s crazy slide (buzzfeed.com)

  • Ian Kinsler is back. Out since May 16 due to a rib-cage injury, the three-time All-star went 0-for-4 with a walk Saturday (6/15/2013) as the Texas Rangers lost to the Toronto Blue Jays 6-1. Kinsler initially was hurt when a ball struck his chest while he was sliding into a base, and the pain intensified when he was hit with a pitch. Or at least that’s the official story. Here is a Buzzfeed.com video of Kinsler in what it describes as “the worst baseball slide of the season, by a mile” — followed by possibly the best smile by a player in an embarrassing situation.
  • Even as Kinsler was returning from the disabled list, Ryan Braun and Kevin Youkilis were going on it. Milwaukee’s Braun is out with an inflamed nerve in his right hand, while the Yankees’ Youkilis was hobbled with a lumbar strain. Get well soon, boys.
  • Scott Feldman was dominant Saturday in the Chicago Cubs’ 5-2 win over the New York Mets (see video). In a 7-inning performance, Feldman gave up just one run on two hits and a walk while striking out six. He also helped himself with this two-run single. Feldman is 6-5 this season with one complete game and a 3.05 ERA; he’s struck out 60 batters and walked only 21 over 79.2 innings.
  • Feldman’s hit was no fluke. As you can see in this table, the 6-foot-7-inch righty leads all MLB pitchers this season with 8 RBIs, thanks in part to a HR and two doubles.
  • Also triumphant Saturday (6/15/2013) was San Diego’s Jason Marquis, who raised his season record to 9-2 with a 6-4 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks (see video). Marquis‘ nine wins are tied for second most in the National League.
  • Congratulations to St. Louis Cardinals prospect Corey Baker, who was promoted to Double-A on Friday (6/15/2013). Baker — who was selected in the 49th round of the 2011 amateur draft — started the 2013 season at Single-A, moved up to A-Advanced, and spent only four games there before being picked up by the Springfield Cardinals (AA). Even after being roughed-up in his first start with Springfield, Baker’s overall ERA this season is 2.66 with a 1-2 record, 2 saves, 37 strikeouts, and only seven walks across 44 innings.
  • Los Angeles Angels prospect Zach Borenstein continues to pummel International League (A-advanced) pitchers. In a breakout third pro season, the left-handed hitter ranks first in total bases (146), second in HRs (16/tie) and slugging percentage (.613), third in RBIs (50/tie), and fourth in batting average (.315) and on-base plus slugging (.970). And Borenstein shows no signs of slowing down: in the past 10 games, he’s hit .400 with 2 HRs, 2 doubles, 2 triples, 2 walks, and 9 RBIs.

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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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