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By Scott Barancik, Editor

Here are your minor-league highlights from the week of August 21-27, 2017:

Barash

Barash

Jewish Baseball News Hitter of the Week: Michael Barash

Michael Barash (Angels/High-A) had a career game on August 24, going 5-for-6 with a home run, 4 RBIs and a walk. For the week, he hit .500 (7-for-14) with 2 HRs, 5 RBIs and an impressive 6 walks. Barash is hitting .236 this season, with 10 HRs, 19 doubles and a .326 on-base percentage.

Bleich

Bleich

Jewish Baseball News Pitcher of the Week: Jeremy Bleich*

  • P Jeremy Bleich* (Dodgers/AAA) pitched 3 scoreless innings across 2 appearances, yielding just one hit and no walks while striking out 4 and earning his third save. Since being promoted to Triple-A on June 16, Bleich is 5-1 with a 2.66 ERA, has 3 saves in 8 chances, and is yielding an average of just 0.97 walks/hits per inning, #4 among all Pacific Coast League pitchers with 40+ innings.

Awards

  • The Seattle Times named CF Braden Bishop (Mariners/AA) the Seattle Mariners’ minor-league player of the year. Bishop began the season in High-A, where he hit .296 with 2 HRs, 3 triples, 25 doubles, 32 RBIs, 16 stolen bases and a .385 on-base percentage. He has performed even better since his July 22 promotion to Double-A, hitting .336 with a home run, triple, 9 doubles, 11 RBIs, 6 stolen bases and a .417 on-base percentage.

Other highlights

  • C Garrett Stubbs (Astros/AAA) hit .294 (5-for-17) with a double, 4 RBIs, 4 walks and a stolen base.
  • LF Mike Meyers (Red Sox/High-A) hit .389 (7-for-18) with a double, triple, home run, RBI, walk and 2 stolen bases.
  • C Andy Yerzy (Diamondbacks/rookie) saw his hitting streak end at 22 games on August 24, but he went on a 3-game tear after that, during which he hit .571 (8-for-14) with 2 HRs, a double and 3 RBIs to lift his average above .300 for the first time this season.
  • P Max Fried (Braves/AAA) was dominant in his first-ever Triple-A appearance. He tossed 4 scoreless innings in an August 24 start, yielding one hit and 2 walks while striking out 6.
  • P R.C. Orlan* (Nationals/High-A) tossed 3 scoreless innings across 2 games, yielding just one hit and no walks while striking out 2 and earning his fifth save.
  • P Kenny Koplove (Marlins/A-short-season) pitched 2.2 scoreless innings across 2 games, yielding a hit and a walk while striking out 5.
  • P Ike Davis* (Dodgers/rookie), who is refashioning himself as a pitcher, threw 2 scoreless innings across 2 appearances, yielding a hit and a walk.
  • P Keith Weisenberg (Braves/rookie), a 2017 draftee, pitched 2 scoreless innings on August 23, yielding one hit and no walks while striking out 2. For the season, he is 3-2 with a 2.59 ERA and one save, and he is holding opposing batters to just 1.11 walks/hits per inning.
  • P Spencer Kulman (Padres/rookie), a 2017 draftee, pitched 2 scoreless innings across 2 games, yielding 2 walks and no hits while striking out one. For the season, he is 1-0 with a 1.25 ERA, 3 saves in 4 chances, and is limiting opposing batters to just 1.06 walks/hits per inning.

Transactions

  • P Ryan Sherriff* (Cardinals) was called-up from Triple-A on August 23 and made his MLB debut on August 25.
  • P Craig Breslow* (Indians) was called-up from Triple-A on August 26.
  • P Max Fried (Braves/AAA) was sent down to Triple-A on August 23. The Braves had promoted him from Double-A straight to the Majors on August 5.
  • 1B Cody Decker* (Mets/AAA) was placed on the disabled list August 26, retroactive to August 24.
  • P Kenny Rosenberg (Rays/A) was played on the temporary inactive list on August 23.
  • SS Elliott Barzilli (Marlins/rookie) was released on August 24. The 2017 draftee was hitting .254 with 2 HRs and 8 RBIs in 63 at-bats.

Free agents

Disabled list

Note to readers: Minor-League Monday does not include stats for all current Jewish minor-leaguers. Click here for a complete list of players, and then click on a player’s name to be taken to his stat page.

Members of Team Israel’s 2017 squad are marked with an asterisk.

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By Scott Barancik, Editor

Here are your minor-league highlights from the week of July 31-August 6, 2017:

Gailen

Gailen

Jewish Baseball News Hitter of the Week: Blake Gailen*

LF Blake Gailen* (Dodgers/AA) had a career game on August 5, going 3-for-5 with 2 HRs and 6 RBIs. It was his second two-homer game since being signing with Los Angeles out of the independent Atlantic League on June 29. For the week, Gailen hit .333 (6-for-18) with 3 HRs, 8 RBIs and a walk.

Rosenberg

Rosenberg

Jewish Baseball News Pitcher of the Week: Kenny Rosenberg

  • Kenny Rosenberg (Rays/A) won his third straight decision in dominant fashion on August 3, pitching 7 shutout innings on 3 hits, one walk and 9 strikeouts. His 107 strikeouts in just 86 innings amount to 11.2 per 9 innings, tops among all Midwest League pitchers with 80-plus innings.

Other highlights

  • CF Braden Bishop (Mariners/AA) hit .333 (9-for-27) with a double, 4 RBIs, a walk and a stolen base. He began the week with a bang, going 8-for-14 in the first three games before going 1-for-13 in the last four.
  • 1B Rowdy Tellez (Blue Jays/AAA) hit safely in all 6 games he played last week, hitting .381 (8-for-21) with 2 doubles, 2 walks and 4 RBIs.
  • SS Elliott Barzilli (Marlins/rookie), a 2017 draftee, hit .375 (3-for-8) with a home run, double and 3 RBIs.
  • OF Justin Cohen (Marlins/rookie), a former catcher now playing in the outfield, hit .333 (5-for-15) with a double, triple and 3 walks.
  • C Mitchell Kranson (Twins/High-A) hit .400 (6-for-15) with a HR, 5 RBIs and a walk.
  • C Ryan Gold (Blue Jays/rookie) hit .417 (5-for-12) with 2 doubles and 2 RBIs.
  • C Jason Goldstein (Athletics/A) hit .444 (4-for-9) with 2 doubles and 3 walks.
  • 2B Adam Walton (Diamondbacks/A) hit .407 (11-for-27) with a homer, 2 doubles, 2 RBIs and a stolen base.
  • 2B Zane Gurwitz (Angels/rookie), a 2017 draftee, hit a torrid .533 (8-for-15) after returning from Single-A to L.A.’s rookie-league team. He smacked 3 doubles and stole 2 bases.
  • P Ike Davis* (Dodgers/rookie) — yes, you read that right: pitcher Ike Davis — struck out the side in an inning of relief with L.A.’s rookie-league team. As this article explains, the Dodgers hope to repurpose the power-hitting first baseman as a pitcher.
  • P Ryan Sherriff* (Cardinals/AAA) pitched 2.1 perfect innings of relief on August 4, yielding no runs, hits or walks while striking out 5. So far this season he is 5-1 with a 3.49 ERA, 5 saves in 6 chances, and is yielding just 1.06 walks/hits per innings, 10th-best in the Pacific Coast league among pitchers with at least 40 innings.
  • P Jeremy Bleich* (Dodgers/AAA) pitched 4 shutout innings over 3 appearances and earned his first save of the season. Since being promoted to Triple-A, he is 4-0 with a 2.11 ERA, 34 strikeouts in 38.1 innings, and just 4 walks.
  • P Robert Stock (Reds/AA), who played catcher during his first three minor-league seasons, remains agile with a bat. His pinch-hit single on August 6 left him with a .750 season average (3-for-4). In his last 10 appearances on the mound, Stock is 3-1 with a 1.71 ERA.
  • P Matthew Gorst (Red Sox/High-A) pitched 3 scoreless innings across 2 games, yielding 3 hits and no walks while striking out one.
  • P Kenny Koplove (Marlins/A-short-season) pitched 2 near-perfect innings on August 6, yielding no hits or earned runs and one walk while striking out 3.
  • P Sam Delaplane (Mariners/rookie), a 2017 draftee, pitched 4 shutout innings of relief on August 2, yielding 4 hits and no walks while striking out 5. The Eastern Michigan University alum has 27 strikeouts in 16.2 innings this season but just 4 walks.
  • P Spencer Kulman (Padres/rookie), a 2017 draftee, pitched 2.1 innings of scoreless relief on August 1, yielding 2 hits and no walks while striking out 4.

Transactions

  • P Max Fried (Braves) was promoted from Double-A to Atlanta’s major-league roster on August 5.
  • C Nick Rickles* (Phillies/AAA) was promoted to Triple-A on August 4. At Double-A, he hit .274 with 4 home runs and 12 RBIs in 95 at-bats.
  • C Ryan Lavarnway* (Athletics/AAA) was designated for assignment by Oakland on August 4.
  • C Garrett Stubbs (Astros/AAA) was promoted from Double-A to Triple-A on August 5.
  • P Craig Breslow, who was released by the Minnesota Twins on July 29, signed a minor-league contract with the Cleveland Indians on August 4.
  • 1B Ike Davis* (Dodgers/rookie) came off the disabled list on July 31 and was assigned to the franchise’s rookie-league team on August 3.
  • C Tim Remes (Tigers/AA) was promoted from High-A to Double-A on August 1.
  • P Marc Huberman (Cubs/High-A) was promoted from Single-A to High-A on August 5.
  • P Matthew Gorst (Red Sox/Salem) was promoted from Single-A to High-A on August 3.
  • Adam Sonabend (Giants/A) came off the disabled list on August 5.
  • 2B Zane Gurwitz (Angels/rookie) was reassigned from Single-A to L.A.’s rookie-league club on August 1.

Free agents

  • Players believed to be seeking employment include minor leaguer Corey Baker* and former major leaguer Sam Fuld*.

Disabled list

Note to readers: Minor-League Monday does not include stats for all current Jewish minor-leaguers. Click here for a complete list of players, and then click on a player’s name to be taken to his stat page.

Members of Team Israel’s 2017 squad are marked with an asterisk.

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By Scott Barancik, Editor

Here are your minor-league highlights from the week of May 29 – June 4, 2017. Members of Team Israel’s 2017 squad are marked with an asterisk:

rickles phils mug

Rickles

Jewish Baseball News Hitter of the Week: Nick Rickles*

Nick Rickles* (Phillies/AA) hit .385 (5-for-13) in his first full week with the Philadelphia Phillies franchise, highlighted by a two-HR, 5 RBI performance on June 3. It was the second two-HR game in his 7-year minor-league career and tied his career high for most RBIs in a game.

weiss tortugas mug

Weiss

Jewish Baseball News Pitcher of the Week: Zack Weiss

  • Zack Weiss (Reds/High-A), who last played in 2015, finally escaped the disabled list and was nearly perfect in his two relief appearances last week, yielding one hit and no walks over a combined 2.1 innings while striking out 4.

Other highlights

  • P Brad Goldberg* (White Sox) was promoted from Triple-A on June 3 and made his Major League debut the same day. In the minors this season, Goldberg is 2-1 with a 1.99 ERA and 4 saves in 5 chances.
  • CF Braden Bishop (Mariners/High-A) hit .320 (8-for-25) with a double, 4 RBIs, 3 walks and 2 stolen bases. He leads the Modesto Nuts in batting average (.320), on-base percentage (.419), OPS (.844) and stolen bases (11 in 12 tries). Bishop has just one error in the outfield, giving him a .992 fielding percentage.
  • 1B Cody Decker* (Mets/AA) hit .368 (7-for-19) with 4 doubles and 4 RBIs. He leads the Binghamton Rumble Ponies with a .528 slugging percentage and an OPS of .902.
  • LF Mike Meyers* (Red Sox/High-A) hit .348 (8-for-23) with a double and 4 RBIs.
  • LF Jake Thomas (Blue Jays/AA) hit an RBI double in his Double-A debut on June 4.
  • P Corey Baker* (Cardinals/AA) held opponents scoreless in two relief outings, yielding 3 hits and no walks over a combined 3.2 innings while striking out 2.
  • P Ryan Sherriff (Cardinals/AAA) ran his scoreless relief streak to 10 innings over 8 appearances. He is 2-0 with a 3.65 ERA, 3 saves in 3 chances, and only 1.09 hits/walks per inning.

Transactions

  • P Brad Goldberg* was called up by the Chicago White Sox on June 3 and made his MLB debut the same day.
  • LF Jake Thomas (Blue Jays/AA) was promoted from Single-A on June 3, skipping High-A entirely.
  • P Zack Weiss (Reds/High-A) came off the disabled list and made his season debut on May 31.
  • P Jason Richman (Rangers/High-A) was released on May 31.
  • P Kenny Rosenberg (Rays/A), who is 2-3 with a 3.95 ERA and a save so far this season, was assigned to extended spring training.
  • P Henry Hirsch, a former minor-leaguer with the Pirates, signed with the Long Island Ducks of the independent Atlantic League.
  • 3B Zach Goldstein, a Southern New Hampshire University third baseman who was named Northeast-10 Conference Baseball Player of the Year in 2017, signed with the Long Island Ducks of the independent Atlantic League. Playing in his first professional game on June 2, Goldstein went 1-for-3 with an RBI double.
  • C Nick Rickles* (Phillies/AA), who was traded by the Nationals in late May, made his debut with Philadelphia’s Double-A team on May 31.

Free agents

Disabled list

Note to readers: Minor-League Monday does not include stats for all current Jewish minor-leaguers. Click here for a complete list of players, and then click on a player’s name to be taken to his stat page.

Get your Jewish baseball news via e-mail

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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

You had to rise at 4:30pm ET today to watch underdog Team Israel play Korea live in the 2017 World Baseball Classic opener, but seeing Israel triumph 2-1 in 10 innings was worth missing some sleep.

There were a few ulcer-inducing moments. Israel — which knocked out 8 hits and drew 10 walks — squandered multiple scoring opportunities, including leaving the bases loaded three times.

But the highlights were far more memorable.

Starting pitcher Jason Marquis, 38, got Israel off on the right foot with three scoreless innings, yielding 2 hits and a walk while fanning 3. He stayed below 50 pitches, which under WBC rules means he can pitch again in 2 days.

Sam Fuld was rock-solid in center field, including a diving catch in the 4th to rob Dae-Ho Lee of extra bases. He also contributed two sharply-hit singles while batting leadoff.

Second baseman Tyler Krieger drew a bases-loaded, full-count walk in the 2nd to put Israel up 1-0.

Ike Davis hit a pinch-hit double in the 8th inning, and his 9th-inning walk helped set up the winning run. After the base on balls, the not-fleet-of-foot Davis somehow hoofed it from first to third on catcher Ryan Lavarnway‘s soft liner to center. Mike Meyers came in as a pinch-runner and scored the go-ahead run two batters later.

Scotty Burcham, who starred for Israel in the September qualifiers, struck out three times but was stellar at shortstop and stroked two singles, including a two-out infield hit with a 1-2 count in the 10th that proved to be the game-winner.

Burcham, Krieger, and first baseman Nate Freiman completed two double plays together, including an inning-ending one with 2 men on base in the 6th inning.

With two outs in the bottom of the 9th inning, the score tied 1-1, and a man on first, Lavarnway’s laser throw to second base erased a stolen-base attempt and sent the game into extra innings.

While Marquis opened the game with three scoreless innings, reliever Josh Zeid did the same at the end, yielding one hit and 2 walks while fanning 4, including a game-ending strikeout of slugger Dae-Ho Lee.

Israel plays Chinese Taipei tonight (Monday, March 6) at 10pm ET on the MLB Network cable station.

# # #

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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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israel trip

Trailed by a documentary film crew, 10 Jewish ballplayers will be touring Israel from January 3-10, 2017

By Stuart M. Katz, correspondent

When centerfielder Sam Fuld and nine other Jewish athletes head to Israel on January 3 for what might be dubbed a ‘Baseball Birthright’ trip, they won’t be alone.

Wives, parents, sons, and a fiancée will be traveling with this minyan of Major League players and prospects, all of whom plan to represent Israel at the World Baseball Classic taking place in South Korea in March 2017. Team Israel qualified for the quadrennial contest by winning a qualifying tournament in September.

Also coming along for the ride? A film crew.

MLB.com reporter Jonathan Mayo (Twitter) and Ironbound Films co-founder Jeremy Newberger (Twitter) plan to create a documentary titled Heading Home about the one-week trip. For most of the players, it will be their first visit to the Jewish homeland.

“The idea for the film came first,” Mayo told Jewish Baseball News. “It wasn’t originally planned around the WBC, but after Team Israel qualified, it all came together.”

Mayo said he and Newberger, childhood friends from camp Young Judea, are getting a lot of help. Driving forces behind the project include the Jewish National Fund’s Project Baseball, JewishBaseballMuseum.com founder Jeff Aeder, and Ron Dermer, Israel’s ambassador to the United States.

Although plans for the film have not been finalized, Mayo expects the documentary will be screened at film festivals and air on MLB.com.

Fuld, who sat out the Oakland Athletics’ 2016 season with a rotator-cuff injury, will be joined on the trip by Ty Kelly of the New York Mets, Josh Zeid of the New York Mets’ organization, Ryan Lavarnway of the Athletics’ farm system, Jon Moscot of the Cincinnati Reds’ system, free agents Ike Davis and Cody Decker, former MLB outfielder Gabe Kapler (now director of player development for the Los Angeles Dodgers), St. Louis Cardinals prospect Corey Baker, and former MLB prospect, Jeremy Bleich, currently playing in the Dominican Winter League. Danny Valencia of the Seattle Mariners planned to come but had to drop out for family reasons.

A key motivation behind the trip and documentary is to build support for baseball within Israel, where soccer and basketball are king. The Israel Association of Baseball, hopes to recruit new players as well as raise funds to expand the country’s meager baseball infrastructure.

In addition to visiting Masada, the Dead Sea, an Israeli Air Force base, the Old City in Jerusalem and Independence Hall in Tel Aviv, the 10 ballplayers will conduct public practices and meet local dignitaries and ballplayers.

# # #

Stuart M. Katz is a die-hard Yankees fan. An attorney at Cohen and Wolf in Bridgeport, Conn., he chairs the firm’s Litigation Group, practicing mainly employment law, and represents employers as well as executives.

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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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OF <a href=

Zach Borenstein accepts congrats after his RBI single put Israel ahead 3-2 in the 7th (click to see game video)" width="500" height="321" srcset="http://www.jewishbaseballnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/borenstein-rbi-wbc-9-22-2016-120x77.jpg 120w, http://www.jewishbaseballnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/borenstein-rbi-wbc-9-22-2016.jpg 541w" sizes="(max-width: 500px) 100vw, 500px" /> (click to see game recap)

By Scott Barancik, Editor

It took Israel’s bats a while to come alive Thursday at Brooklyn’s MCU Park, but a four-run rally in the 7th inning drove the team to a come-from-behind, 5-2 win over Great Britain.

C Ryan Lavarnway led the way with three hits and a walk, and five Team Israel players shared RBI duties, including RF Zach Borenstein, whose 7th-inning single gave Israel a 3-2 lead, and Ike Davis, whose bases-loaded, pinch-hit single brought the score to 4-2. Also plating runs were 3B Cody Decker, CF Mike Meyers, and LF Rhett Wiseman.

Starter Jason Marquis limited Great Britain to one run over three innings, and reliever Josh Zeid kept the game close with 3.2 strong innings, striking out 6 batters while yielding one run.

Israel’s batters ended up with as many hits as its pitchers had strikeouts (11), although the team left the bases loaded in two consecutive innings.

Craig Breslow earned the win despite a shaky inning of pitching, and Brad Goldberg earned the save.

Today at 12pm EST, Israel faces Brazil, which beat Pakistan 10-0 on Thursday. Check out the live stream.

For more details on yesterday’s game:

# # #

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By Scott Barancik, Editor

Here are your minor-league updates from the week of August 8-14, 2016.

Jewish Baseball News Hitter of the Week

1B Cody Decker (Red Sox/AA) hit .333 last week with 3 HRs, 5 RBIs, and 2 walks. The highlight came August 10, when Decker went 3-for-6 with 2 HRs and 3 RBIs.

Jewish Baseball News Pitcher of the Week

In his first game since being promoted, P Alex Katz (White Sox/High-A) pitched 2.1 no-hit innings, yielding one walk and striking out 2.

Other highlights

1B Nate Freiman (Red Sox/AA) hit .400 with an RBI and a walk.

OF Adam Walton (Diamondbacks/A-short season), a 2016 signee, hit .273 with 3 doubles, 3 RBIs, and a walk.

OF Jeremy Wolf (Mets/rookie), a 2016 draftee, hit .350 with 2 doubles, 4 RBIs, and a walk. He ranks third on the Kingsport Mets with a .304 average, second with a .452 slugging percentage, and fourth with 21 RBIs.

In a 2.1-inning relief appearance August 11, P Brandon Gold (Rockies/rookie) yielded 2 hits and struck out 6. Gold has fanned 16 and walked just 2 over a combined 11.1 innings this season.

In two appearances, P Henry Hirsch (Pirates/High-A) yielded 2 hits and 2 walks over 4.1 innings while fanning 5. He also improved his season record to 6-3.

P Rob Kaminsky (Indians/AA) continues to improve, anchoring an 18-2 win on August 12 after yielding 7 hits and 2 earned runs over 6 innings while striking out 5. After going 0-2 with a 5.40 ERA in April, Kaminsky has gone 0-0 with a 3.55 ERA in May, 1-3 with a 4.15 ERA in June, 3-2 with a 2.45 ERA in July, and 2-0 with a 1.64 ERA in August.

Since being reassigned from the rookie Appalachian League to the slightly less competitive rookie Gulf Coast League, 2016 draftee Kenny Rosenberg (Rays) has gone 1-0 with an 0.57 ERA, yielding 12 hits over 15.2 innings, walking just 3, and striking out 21, with a WHIP — walks and hits per innings — of just 0.89.

Transactions

  • P Dean Kremer (Dodgers) was promoted from rookie ball to Single-A.
  • P Alex Katz (White Sox) was promoted from Single-A to High-A.
  • P Max Fried (Braves/A) came off the disabled list.
  • P Josh Zeid (Mets) was reassigned from Triple-A to Double-A.
  • P Raul Jacobson (Mets) was reassigned from Single-A to A-short season.
  • 1B Ike Davis (Yankees/AAA) was released.
  • P Craig Breslow (Rangers/AAA) was released.

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By Scott Barancik, Editor

Here are your minor-league updates from the week of August 1-7, 2016.

Jewish Baseball News Hitter of the Week

C Andy Yerzy (Diamondbacks/rookie), a 2nd-round pick in the 2016 draft, hit .400 last week with a double, 5 RBIs, and a walk. The highlight was a 4-for-5 game on August 5.

Jewish Baseball News Pitcher of the Week

P Rob Kaminsky (Indians/AA) earned his sixth win on August 5, tossing 5 shutout innings. July was Kaminsky’s best month of the season, with the fourth-year going 3-2 with a 2.45 ERA and yielding just 1.12 walks/hits per inning.

Other highlights

On August 5, 1B Ike Davis (Yankees/AAA) went 3-for-4 with 2 home runs and 4 RBIs. Davis went hitless the rest of the week.

1B Cody Decker (Red Sox/AA) hit .348 last week with a double, triple, home run, 3 RBIs, and a walk.

C Ryan Gold (Blue Jays/rookie) went 4-for-8 a double, 2 RBIs, a walk, and an intentional walk. The 2016 draftee is hitting .347 over 18 games.

C Ryan Lavarnway (Blue Jays/AA) hit .421 with a home run, 4 RBIs, and 2 walks.

LF Mike Meyers (Red Sox/High-A) hit .304 with 1 double, 5 RBIs, three walks, and three stolen bases. For the season, he’s hitting .278 with 4 HRs, 60 RBIs, 23 stolen bases in 26 attempts, and a .339 on-base percentage.

OF Jeremy Wolf (Mets/rookie) hit .316 with a double, home run, 5 RBIs, and 3 walks.

In a start on August 5, P Corey Baker (Cardinals/AA) pitched 5 dominant innings, yielding one earned run on 2 hits and no walks while striking out 7 for the win.

Through August 5, reliever Henry Hirsch (Pirates/High-A) had 10 straight scoreless appearances. The last time he yielded an earned run was June 29.

Reliever Alex Katz (White Sox/A) delivered three scoreless appearances last week. In 5 combined innings, he yielded just one hit and two walks while striking out three.

Transactions

Craig Breslow (Rangers/AAA) was placed on the team’s temporary inactive list. However, WEEI.com reported that the Rangers actually released Breslow from his minor-league contract.

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By Scott Barancik, Editor

Here are your minor-league updates from the week of July 18-24, 2016, a period shortened by All-Star games.

Jewish Baseball News Player of the Week

LF Zach Borenstein (Diamondbacks/AAA) hit .353 last week with a home run, 2 doubles, 5 RBIs, and a stolen base.

Debuts

P Marc Huberman (Cubs/rookie), an 18th-round pick out of USC in the 2016 draft, pitched a scoreless inning of relief in his pro debut on July 18, yielding one hit while striking out two batters.

Other highlights

SS Alex Bregman (Astros/AAA) started the week going 8-for-14 before going hitless in his next three games, something he’d done only once before all season. But that didn’t stop Houston from calling-up the 2015 draftee, who’s expected to make his MLB debut tonight against the Yankees. Bregman also was named the minor leagues’ top offensive player at midseason by MiLB.com.

C Ryan Lavarnway (Red Sox/AA) hit safely in all five games last week, going 6-for-17 (.353) with 2 doubles, 5 RBIs, and 4 walks.

1B Ike Davis (Yankees/AAA) hit .333 with a home run and a double, drove in 5 runs, and drew 5 walks against 3 strikeouts.

C Ryan Gold (Blue Jays/rookie) went 2-for-5 with his first professional home run on July 23, a three-run shot.

C Mitchell Kranson (Twins/rookie) hit .444 last week, highlighted by a 4-for-5, two-RBI performance on July 18.

LF Mike Meyers (Red Sox/High-A) hit safely in all five games, going 9-for-20 (.450) with a double, 3 RBIs, and 2 walks. Meyuers is hitting .409 in July, and his 52 RBIs are tied for ninth-best in the Carolina League.

C Garrett Stubbs (Astros/AA) hit .444 last week with 3 RBIs and a stolen base. Since his promotion to Double-A ball on July 4, the USC alum is hitting .368 with a home run, 7 RBIs, and 7 walks against 2 strikeouts.

OF Adam Walton (Diamondbacks/short season) went 4-for-11 last week with 2 RBIs and a walk.

P Jake Fishman (Blue Jays/rookie) tossed three perfect innings of relief on July 22, yielding no walks or hits while striking out 5 batters.

P Rob Kaminsky (Indians/AA) won his fourth decision in a row on July 21, pitching six innings of one-run ball. He yielded 6 hits and 2 walks while striking out 6.

P Dean Kremer was nearly flawless in his third pro outing, a three-inning relief stint on July 22 in which he yielded 1 hit and no walks while striking out 3.

P Kenny Rosenberg (Rays/rookie) threw three no-hit innings on July 21, yielding one walk while striking out 3.

P Josh Zeid (Mets/AA) pitched eight shutout innings for the win on July 21, yielding 4 hits and 2 walks while fanning 7.

Transactions

C Zach Kapstein (Orioles/High-A) came off the disabled list.

Second-year P Jason Richman (Rangers) was reassigned to Single-A. Across four levels (all the way up to Triple-A), Richman is 2-4 this season with a 2.79 ERA.

The Texas Rangers signed P Craig Breslow to a minor-league contract and assigned him to the franchise’s Triple-A team.

Disabled list

P Max Fried (Braves/A).

P Alec Grosser (Dodgers/High-A).

LF Ryan Kalish (Cubs/AAA). Appendicitis.

2B Mason Katz (Cardinals/AA). Hamstring.

P Jon Moscot (Reds/AAA). Elbow.

C Adam Sonabend (Giants/A).

P Zack Weiss (Reds/AA). Shoulder.

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By Scott Barancik, Editor

Here are your minor-league updates from the week of July 11-17, 2016, a period shortened by All-Star games.

Jewish Baseball News Player of the Week

For the third time this season — and the second week in a row — our Player of the Week is LF Mike Meyers (Red Sox/High-A). Meyers hit .375 with a double, 2 triples, 4 walks, and 5 RBIs. His 8 triples are tied for #1 in the Carolina League.

Debuts

Two recent draft picks made their debut last week.

C Jason Goldstein (Mariners/rookie), a 9th-round pick, was perfect in his pro debut on July 14. The 22-year-old University of Illinois alum had an RBI single in his only at-bat and threw out an attempted base-stealer who had been a perfect 8-for-8 in thefts up to that point.

In two relief outings, P Matthew Gorst (Red Sox/short-season) held batters scoreless, yielding 1 hit and 2 walks over 2.2 innings.

Other highlights

CF Rhett Wiseman hit safely in all five games last week, going 8-for-23 (.348) with a triple, 3 RBIs, and 1 stolen base in 3 attempts.

1B Ike Davis (Yankees/AAA) went 4-for-12 last week with a HR, 2 RBIs, and 2 walks.

1B Cody Decker (Boston/AA) went only 3-of-13 record at the plate and struck out six times, but he made his hits count, stroking two HRs and a double while driving in 4 runs.

C Ryan Gold (Blue Jays/rookie), a 2016 draftee, went 5-for-14 (.357) with a triple, RBI, and 3 walks.

P Gabe Cramer (Royals/A) pitched 4 scoreless innings across two appearances, striking out 6 batters while yielding 2 hits and a walk. He’s averaging 11.2 strikeouts per nine innings

Transactions

Second-year P Jason Richman (Rangers) was promoted to Triple-A.

P Josh Zeid (Mets) was demoted to Double-A.

The Miami Marlins released former MLB P Craig Breslow.

The Philadelphia Phillies released P Jeremy Bleich (AA).

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By Scott Barancik, Editor

Here are your minor-league updates from the week of June 27-July 3, 2016.

Jewish Baseball News Player of the Week

What an incredible week for SS Alex Bregman (Astros). Last year’s #2 overall draft pick homered and went 2-for-3 in the Texas League (AA) All-Star game. He was named to the U.S. roster for MLB’s All-Star Futures Game. He was promoted to Houston’s Triple-A club — and didn’t shrink from the challenge. Oh, no. Bregman went 4-for-5 with 3 RBIs and a walk in his first game with the Fresno Grizzlies. And in the next four games, he homered four times, including twice on July 4. (Yes, we’re cheating a bit here by counting Bregman’s play on July 4. Technically, that’s next week’s news.) All told, Bregman is 10-for-21 (.476) with 4 HRs, 2 doubles, eleven RBIs, and 2 walks since being promoted. Curiously, he’s played all of his Triple-A games at shortstop, even though the Astros had begun moving him to third base in order to speed his ascent to the Majors.

Debuts

Three draftees made their pro debuts last week.

Dodgers draftee Dean Kremer (P/rookie league), the first Israeli citizen to be drafted by an MLB team, started Sunday’s game for the Orem Owlz. He pitched 1.1 innings, yielding 2 hits, 2 walks, and 2 earned runs.

Blue Jays draftee Ryan Gold (C/rookie league), an 18-year-old from South Carolina, went 2-for-8 in his first four games, contributing a single, double, 2 walks, and an RBI.

Rays draftee Kenny Rosenberg (P/rookie league) made his pro debut on July 2, yielding 2 hits and an earned run over 2 innings.

Other highlights

Add one more player to the list of 2016 draftees: OF David Oppenheim of USC.

C Michael Barash (Angels/rookie league) hit .333 with 2 doubles and 3 RBIs. Since his debut, he’s thrown out three of 13 attempted base-stealers.

LF Zach Borenstein (Diamondbacks/AAA) raised his RBI total to 37, but he’s also working on his speed. The 25-year-old added three stolen bases last week to boost his 2016 total to 12, and he has yet to be tossed out. In 2015, Borenstein stole six bases in 10 attempts at the Double-A level and didn’t even try stealing in Triple-A.

P Craig Breslow (Marlins/AAA) has had a rough time since Miami demoted him earlier this season, going 0-for-3 with a 6.85 ERA, two blown saves in four chances, a .343 opponent batting average, and yielding nearly 2 hits/walks per inning. His very first appearance was a doozy: one inning, four hits, three earned runs. But Breslow has trimmed his ERA since then, and on Sunday, he was nearly perfect, yielding just one hit over 3 innings while striking out three.

1B Ike Davis (Yankees/AAA) hit a grand-slam HR in his first game after being sent back down to Triple-A.

Former major-league 1B Nate Freiman (Red Sox/AA) homered twice on July 1. Since signing a minor-league deal with Boston, he’s hitting .270 with a .347 on-base percentage and is leading the Portland Sea Dogs in home runs (8) and RBIs (31).

LF Mike Meyers (Red Sox/High-A) drove in four runs last week to boost his total to 41, second-highest on the Salem Red Sox. He has 16 stolen bases in 18 attempts.

C Nick Rickles (Nationals/AA) went 3-for-4 with a double, two singles, a walk, and an RBI on Sunday. In three games with the Harrisburg Senators, he’s hitting .455.

CF Rhett Wiseman (Nationals/A) didn’t hit for average last week (.231), but five of his six hits went for extra bases (2 HRs, 1 triple, 2 doubles) and he drove in 7 runs, boosting his season total to a team-high 44 RBIs (tied).

1B Jeremy Wolf (Mets/rookie league) went 4-for-5 on June 30 with a double, his first professional home run, and 4 RBIs.

P Max Fried (Braves/A) was masterful in a shutout start on June 29, yielding just 2 hits and 2 walks over 6 innings while striking out 9.

P Brad Goldberg (White Sox/AAA) racked up two more scoreless relief appearances, yielding a combined one walk and no hits over 2 innings while striking out 2. He has a 0.77 ERA over his last 10 appearances.

P Rob Kaminsky (Indians/AA) went 1-1 in two starts last week. In a combined 12.2 innings, he yielded 3 earned runs on 6 hits and 3 walks while striking out 13.

P Alex Katz (White Sox/A) held opponents scoreless in two relief appearances. He gave up one hit and no walks over 2.1 innings while striking out 2.

P Jared Lakind (Pittsburgh/AA) held opponents scoreless in two relief appearances, striking out 6 batters over 3 combined innings. For the season, he’s 3-0 with 5 saves in 6 chances, has a 1.74 ERA, 40 strikeouts in 41.1 innings, and has held opposing batters to a .190 average.

P R.C. Orlan (Nationals/High-A) held opponents scoreless three times. In 4 combined innings, he yielded one hit and three walks while striking out four.

Second-year P Jason Richman held opponents scoreless twice. In 2.1 combined innings, he yielded one hit and no walks while striking out one.

P Josh Zeid (Mets/AA) earned his second victory with a strong performance July 3, yielding just 2 hits and 3 walks over 7 innings while fanning 8.

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Mason Katz homers twice

Mason Katz homers twice (click for video)

By Scott Barancik, Editor

Here are your minor-league updates from the week of June 20-26, 2016.

Jewish Baseball News Player of the Week

P Corey Baker (Cardinals/AAA) earned a shutout win in his first-ever Triple-A game, scattering four singles and a walk over 6.2 innings while striking out 6. Baker had two 1-2-3 innings and threw 62 of 95 pitches for strikes.

Debuts

At least six draftees or undrafted free agents made their pro debuts last week.

Angels draftee Michael Barash (C/rookie league) hit .333.

Twins draftee Mitchell Kranson (C/rookie league) hit .286 with two RBIs.

White Sox prospect Steve Pollakov (C/rookie league), an undrafted free agent, hit a pinch-hit single in his first pro at-bat and went 2-for-4 with a three-run home run in his first start.

Diamondbacks prospect Adam Walton (IF/rookie league), an undrafted free agent, walked and drove in a run.

Mets draftee Jeremy Wolf (OF/rookie league) doubled and drew four walks.

Blue Jays draftee Jake Fishman (P/rookie league) earned a hold in his first appearance despite yielding 4 earned runs over 2.1 innings.

Other highlights

SS Alex Bregman (Astros/AA) didn’t hit for average last week (.227), but four of his five hits went for extra bases and he walked eight times. The bigger news is that the second-year player is being promoted to Triple-A after participating in the Texas League’s All-Star game and home run derby on June 28.

Playing in his first three games of the season, second-year pro C Dalton Blumenfeld (Angels/rookie league) went 4-for-7 with 2 walks and 2 RBIs.

LF Zach Borenstein (Diamondbacks/AAA) hit .294 last week with a home run, double, 3 walks, and 6 RBIs. He’s tied for fourth place on the Reno Aces with 34 RBIs.

Former major-league 1B Nate Freiman (Red Sox/AA) had a big week, hitting .417 with a home run, double, 2 walks, and 8 RBIs.

Former major-league C Ryan Lavarnway (Red Sox/AA) hit a pair of HRs on June 20 and .429 for the week.

2B Mason Katz (Cardinals/AA) went 3-for-3 on two solo HRs, a single and a walk. After hitting just .053 in 19 at-bats for the franchise’s High-A team, Katz is hitting .361 in Double-A, with 3 HRs and 7 RBIs in 36 at-bats.

C Garrett Stubbs (Astros/High-A) hit .400 last week, raising his average to .316, fifth best in the California League. The league’s next highest-ranked catcher is hitting .278. Behind the plate, Stubbs has nixed 16 of 26 stolen-base attempts and discouraged many more baserunners from even trying.

P Max Fried (Braves/A) pitched six innings on June 23 to earn his fifth win against five losses, yielding one earned run on six hits while striking out six and walking none.

Second-year pro Raul Jacobson (Mets/short season) made his 2016 debut last week. In two relief outings, he pitched 7 scoreless innings, earned a save, and yield 5 hits and 1 walk while striking out 7.

P Jared Lakind (Pittsburgh/AA) saw his 17-game scoreless streak end June 23, but he began another streak June 26 with a perfect inning of relief.

Transactions

SS Alex Bregman (Astros), a 2015 draftee, is being promoted to Triple-A.

P Corey Baker (Cardinals) was promoted to Triple-A for the first time in his career.

Yankees 1B Ike Davis was designated for assignment. He says he will report to the team’s Triple-A club if he isn’t signed by another MLB team.

C Nick Rickles (Nationals) was assigned to the team’s Double-A club after spending nearly the entire season in extended spring training. He doubled and had a ground-out RBI in his June 26 debut.

OF Kyle Ruchim (White Sox), an undrafted free agent, was sent from Single-A to the club’s rookie-league team.

After pitching one perfect inning in Triple-A, P Jeremy Bleich (Phillies) returned to the franchise’s Double-A club.

Draftee Brandon Gold (P/short-season) signed with the Rockies.

Draftee Matthew Gorst (P/rookie) signed with the Red Sox.

Draftee Ryan Gold (C/rookie) signed with the Blue Jays.

Draftee Kenny Rosenberg (P/rookie) signed with the Rays.

Draftee Andy Yerzy (C/rookie) signed with the Diamondbacks.

Update

Eagled-eyed readers may have noticed that Cardinals prospect Matt Fiedler has disappeared from our list of 2016 draftees. Although the U. of Minnesota alum has a Jewish parent and agreed to be identified as Jewish less than two years ago, he now identifies as Christian. We wish Matt the best and a great future in baseball.

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ike davis yankees mugBy Scott Barancik, Editor

For the second times in 18 days, the New York Yankees have added a Jewish player to their roster.

Ike Davis, a first baseman who began his Major League career with the crosstown New York Mets in 2010 and also played for the Pittsburgh Pirates and Oakland A’s, signed with the Yankees today and was assigned to the franchise’s 25-man roster. The Yankees currently have four first basemen on the disabled list.

The 29-year-old Davis had been playing for the Texas Rangers’ Triple-A team, where he showed great resilience after starting the season 0-for-22. Since then, Davis has hit .317 with 4 HRs and 25 RBIs.

On May 26, the Yankees called up P Richard Bleier. Also 29, he has held opposing batters scoreless in all four relief appearances.

The Yankees are off today and are scheduled to play the Colorado Rockies tomorrow night in Denver.

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By Scott Barancik, Editor

Here they are, your minor-league updates from the week of June 6-12, 2016.

Jewish Baseball News Player of the Week

SS Alex Bregman (Astros/AA) hit .400, drove in 7 runs, and hit a walk-off HR last week. The second-year prospect ranks among Texas League leaders with a .314 average (2nd), 13 HRs (2nd/tied), 42 RBIs (1st/tied), .411 on-base percentage (1st), .596 slugging percentage (.596), and a walk-to-strikeout ratio of 1.35 (1st).

Other highlights

P Jared Lakind (Pirates/AA) upped his streak of scoreless relief appearances to 14. The 2013 draftee hasn’t allowed an earned run since April, a period during he has reduced his ERA from 4.63 to 1.65.

P Max Fried (Braves/A) tossed his second straight scoreless start, giving up 4 hits and 2 walks over 6 innings while striking out 9.

In his first games this season, OF Jake Thomas (Blue Jays/A) hit .435 (10-for-23) last week with 3 extra-base hits and 4 RBIs.

C Ryan Lavarnway (Blue Jays/AA) hit .389 last week with a home run, 2 doubles, 4 RBIs, and 3 walks.

LF Zach Borenstein (Diamondbacks/AAA) went 2-for-3 with 3 RBIs and 3 stolen bases on June 7. For the month of June, he’s hitting .455.

It seemed a bit surprising last week when the Cardinals promoted 2B Mason Katz to Double-A after he had gone 0-for-11 in High-A, but the 25-year-old responded by going 4-for-10 with a HR, double and 2 walks.

OF Kyle Ruchim (White Sox/A) made his minor-league debut last week. His first hit, a triple, came in his second game, on June 10.

Transactions

After ending the week going 7-for-7 on June 10-11, red-hot 1B Ike Davis (Rangers/AAA) signed with the New York Yankees today and was placed on the franchise’s 25-man roster.

Former major-leaguer and Team Israel alum Josh Satin voluntarily retired, citing the effects of repeated head injuries.

The Mets signed former major-leaguer and Team Israel alum Josh Zeid to a minor-league contract. Zeid, who worked exclusively out of the bullpen in the majors, performed beautifully in a start June 11 with the Double-A Binghamton Mets, pitching 6.2 scoreless innings.

Jason Richman (Cardinals) was assigned to extended spring training.

Injury updates

Adam Sonabend (Giants/A) came off the disabled list for one game — he went 1-for-2 with a walk on June 7 — but returned to the list on June 11.

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By Scott Barancik, Editor

Here they are, your minor-league updates from the week of May 16-22, 2016.

Jewish Baseball News Player of the Week

SS Alex Bregman (Astros/AA) hit .367 with 3 HRs, 2 doubles, 10 RBIs, and 4 walks. The second-year pro is ranked first in the Texas League in on-base percentage (.425), slugging percentage (.658) and OPS (1.083), second in HRs (10/tied), third in RBIs (29), and fifth in batting average (.325) through games played May 22.

Other highlights

Former major leaguer Ike Davis (Rangers/AAA) was on a roll last week, hitting .450 with 2 HRs, 4 doubles, 7 RBIs, and 2 walks. Despite going 0-for-22 to start the season, Davis has lifted his batting average to .263 with 3 HRs, 8 doubles, and 18 RBIs in just 80 at-bats.

Richard Bleier (Yankees/AAA) bounced back from his worst outing of the season with a shutout win on May 22, yielding just three hits and two walks over 6 innings while striking out three. For the season, Bleier is 2-2 with a 2.57 ERA and a 1.17 walks/hits per inning.

C Garrett Stubbs (Astros/High-A) had a great week, hitting .273 with 3 HRs, 10 RBIs, and 6 walks. The highlight was a 2-homer, 4-RBI game on May 18.

LF Mike Meyers (Red Sox/High-A) knocked in 5 runs to boost his season total to 23, tying him for 12th in the Carolina League.

In his first game back after a month on the disabled list, C Maxx Tissenbaum (Marlins/A) went 2-for-2 on May 22.

Over two appearances, reliever Scott Effross (Cubs/A) struck out six batters and walked none in three scoreless innings as well as earned a win. He has three times as many strikeouts (21) as walks (7) this season.

Reliever Jared Lakind (Pirates/AA) skipped High-A ball altogether, but you wouldn’t know it from his performance this season. The 24-year-old Texas native is 0-0 with a 2.53 ERA, and he has a 1.50 ERA with two saves in his last 10 appearances.

Reliever R.C. Orlan (Nationals/High-A) earned his fourth save of the season on May 18 with one-and-two-thirds perfect innings. He’s 1-0 this season with a 1.45 ERA and is holding opposing batters to a .131 average and just 0.96 walk/hits per inning.

Starter Max Fried (Braves/A) pitched five innings of scoreless, one-hit ball on May 19, striking out four while walking as many.

Reliever Jeremy Bleich (Phillies/AA) was perfect in two brief stints, yielding no hits or walks over a combined two-and-a-third innings and striking out one. He’s held opponents scoreless in five of his last six outings.

Reds starter Jon Moscot got clobbered in his second rehab game, a 4-inning shift in which he gave up 11 hits (including 4 HRs), 9 earned runs, and 2 walks.

Mazel tov

Former Colorado Rockies prospect Ethan Katz has landed a job as pitching coach with the Bakersfield Blaze (Seattle Mariners/High-A).

Transactions

Sorry to report that Milwaukee released OF Ben Guez (AAA). A ninth-year pro, Guez is a .258 career hitter with 84 HRs, 94 stolen bases, and a .346 on-base percentage.

Injury updates

Cleveland Indians prospect Rob Kaminsky (AA) remains on the disabled list.

Cincinnati Reds prospect Zack Weiss (AA) remains on the disabled list.

Birthdays

Brewers prospect Jake Drossner (A) turned 22 on May 16.

Former Brewers prospect Steve Braun, the younger brother of slugger Ryan Braun, turned 31 on May 17

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By Scott Barancik, Editor

Here they are, your minor-league updates from the week of May 2-8, 2016.

Highlights

After getting only one hit in his first 22 at-bats, former major leaguer Ike Davis (AAA/Rangers) went 3-for-5 with two doubles and five RBIs on May 2. Davis has reached base in his last six games and had one or more hits in five of them, raising his average to a respectable .257.

OF Zach Borenstein‘s 15 RBIs rank third on the Reno Aces (AAA/Diamondbacks), and he’s accumulated them in just 80 at-bats.

OF Mike Meyers (High-A/Red Sox) went 3-for-5 on May 8, stroking his second HR of the season and stealing his fourth base.

Brad Goldberg (AAA/White Sox) kept opponents scoreless in both relief appearances, yielding a total of two hits and no walks over three innings while striking out two. His overall ERA between AA and AAA ball this season is 2.19.

After tearing the ball apart in AAA, Ryan Kalish was called up by the Cubs and made his season debut May 3.

C Garrett Stubbs (High-A/Astros) has been on fire since returning from the disabled list May 5. In three games last week, he went 5-for-12 (.417) with a double, home run, 3 walks, 4 RBIs, and stolen base. He’s been spectacular behind the plate, throwing out 7 of 10 attempted base stealers with no errors.

CF Rhett Wiseman (A/Nationals) has a 5-game hitting streak and has raised his average to .223. On May 5, he went 4-for-5 with a triple and an RBI.

Jeremy Bleich (AA/Phillies) held batters scoreless in all three relief appearances last week, yielding four hits and two walks over five innings while striking out four.

Richard Bleier (AAA/Yankees) was dominant in his second start of the season May 5, a 7-inning gem in which he gave up six hits, a walk, and one earned run while striking out four.

Former major leaguer Ryan Lavarnway (AAA/Braves) has hit safely in nine of his last 10 games, raising his average to .275 with 7 doubles and 8 RBIs.

Scott Effross (A/Cubs) held opponents scoreless in two relief appearances, yielding one hit and two walks over three innings while striking out six.

Robert Orlan (High-A/Nationals) has earned saves in three of his last four appearances, including a one-inning stint May 8 that trimmed his ERA to 1.88, his opponents’ batting average to .109, and his walks/hits per innings to 1.05.

Transactions

  • Former major leaguer Nate Freiman has signed a minor-league contract with the Boston Red Sox and will suit up with the franchise’s Double-A club, the Portland Sea Dogs. After being released by the Washington Nationals’ Triple-A club last month, Freiman played six games for the independent Long Island Ducks, hitting .381 with two HRs and four RBIs.
  • White Sox prospect Alex Katz was reassigned to extended spring training.

Injury updates

  • Astros #1 prospect Alex Bregman (AA) returned from the disabled list on May 5. For the week, he was 3-for-13 (.231) with four walks and two strikeouts. He hit two doubles on May 6.
  • Former major leaguer Josh Satin is off the disabled list and has played five games with the El Paso Chihuahuas (AAA/Padres).
  • Marlins prospect Maxx Tissenbaum (A) has been placed on the 7-day disabled list retroactive to 4/27/2016.

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By Scott Barancik, Editor

Here they are, your minor-league highlights from the week of April 25-May 1, 2016.

Drossner is near perfect

Brewers Single-A prospect Jake Drossner, a 2015 draftee, was nearly perfect April 28, yielding one hit and no walks over 5 innings of relief while striking out six. It was his first relief appearance of the season after four starts.

Kalish battering hurlers

Former major-leaguer Ryan Kalish is one of the hottest hitters in Triple-A. The Cubs’ farmhand is ranked first in the Pacific Coast League in on-base percentage (.500), second in batting average (.396), and fifth in OPS (1.047). The highlight last week: Kalish singled, doubled, tripled, walked, drove in a run, and made a sliding catch on April 28.

Baker’s trifecta

Cardinals Double-A prospect Corey Baker recorded his third scoreless start in a row on April 28, yielding 2 hits and 2 walks over 5-and-two-thirds innings while striking out 7. Baker’s ERA is a slim 1.29, third-best in the Texas League.

Kaminsky settles in

Indians #10 prospect Rob Kaminsky settled down after a couple rough mid-April starts in Double-A. He yielded one earned run over 5 innings on April 26 and one earned run over 6-and-two-thirds innings on May 1, reducing his ERA from 6.60 to 4.39.

Orlan’s saves

Nationals High-A prospect Robert “R.C.” Orlan has two saves in his last three relief appearances and is limiting opponents to 1.05 walks and hits per inning.

Short hits

  • Diamondbacks Triple-A prospect Zach Borenstein has hit .391 with a home run and 6 RBIs over his last 10 games.
  • Astros #1 prospect Alex Bregman was placed on the disabled list April 23 with an injured hamstring. The fast-rising 2015 draftee started 2016 with a bang, stroking 5 HRs with 14 RBIs and six walks in just 50 at-bats.
  • Former major-leaguer Ike Davis has just one hit in 22 at-bats with the Rangers’ Triple-A team.

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