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Minor-League Monday (April 18-24, 2016)

By Scott Barancik, Editor

Here they are, your minor-league highlights from the week of April 18-24.

Borenstein’s streak

Diamondbacks Triple-A prospect Zach Borenstein is 5-for-9 in his last four games with a double, HR, walk, and 4 RBIs. His 12 RBIs (in 51 at-bats) rank 14th in the Pacific Coast League.

Goldberg’s promotion

Brad Goldberg, a 6-foot-4 reliever drafted by the White Sox in 2013, pitched a scoreless inning in his Triple-A debut on 4/23/2016. The proud Ohio State alum spent all of 2015 with Chicago’s High-A team, where he went 11-for-12 in save opportunities.

Bleier’s 2016 debut

Fresh off the disabled list, Yankees Triple-A prospect Richard Bleier made his season debut on April 2014, a 4-inning relief stint in which he yielded 6 hits and one earned run but walked nobody and struck out two.

Baker’s gem

Corey Baker, a starter with the Cardinals’ Double-A club, tossed an impressive shutout on April 23, yielding no walks and four hits over 6-and-a-third innings while striking out six. It was his second straight scoreless start and lowered his season ERA to 1.76.

Short hits

  • The Rockies acquired prospect Cody Decker from the Royals. In Albuquerque Isotopes (AAA) debut on April , he singled and doubled.
  • Washington released former Major Leaguer (and Team Israel star) Nate Freiman.
  • Ike Davis made his 2016 debut with the Rock Express (AAA) on 4/22/2016. In four plate appearances, he walked and hit a sacrifice fly.
  • Max Fried‘s promising return from Tommy John surgery was chronicled by MiLB.com. He is Atlanta’s No. 10 prospect.
  • Jeremy Bleich (Phillies/AA) and R.C. Orlan (Nationals/High-A) each record their first save of the season.

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valencia old newBy Scott Barancik, editor

Danny Valencia, who was as shocked as his fans were when the Toronto Blue Jays designated him for assignment on Saturday (8/1/2015), has been claimed off waivers by the Oakland Athletics.

The 30-year-old Florida native was hitting .296 with 7 HRs, 13 doubles, and 29 RBIs in 162 at-bats when the Blue Jays decided to move him off the team’s roster. A versatile utility man who spent most of his time in left field this season but also manned right field, third base, second base and first base, Valencia will join Ike Davis and Sam Fuld on what now will be this season’s most Jewish major-league team.

Valencia is losing a lot, too. In leaving Toronto, he gives up a clubhouse he loves, an exciting and highly-productive Jewish duet with teammate Kevin Pillar, and a 55-52 team whose playoffs chances rose with this week’s acquisition of ace pitcher David Price. The A’s, by contrast, are last in the A.L. West with a 47-60 record.

But Valencia is nothing if not resilient, having played for five teams since his 2010 debut with the Minnesota Twins, when he finished third in voting for A.L. Rookie of the Year.

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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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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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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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Ike Davis after hitting a run-scoring infield single Friday (MLB.com)

By Scott Barancik, editor

After a 21-game sojourn in the minors to regain his sweet swing, Ike Davis returned to the New York Mets’ lineup with a vengeance Friday (7/5/2013), going 3-for-5 with 2 RBIs and a walk in a 12-5 win over the Milwaukee Brewers (box score).

According to ESPN.comDavis had arrived at the Mets’ clubhouse in Milwaukee yelling “Shalom, everybody!” as teammates hugged him.

Even better Friday was the news that Josh Satin, a Triple-A call-up who hit .353 while subbing for Davis at first base, would stay on the Mets’ roster rather than go back down to the minors. Manager Terry Collins said he would consider giving Satin playing time not only at first base but second base, third base, and in the outfield.

“We just sat here today and looked at his numbers against left-handed pitching,” Collins told ESPN.com. “Boy, they’re pretty stinkin’ good (10-for-24). We’ve got to get him in there.”

Davis was equally complimentary of Satin. “I was really happy when they called him up when I went down,” he said. “I wouldn’t ask for a better person. I love Josh. And I’m excited that he’s done well and has proven that he can play here, because he can. He rakes every year.”

Davis hit .293 during his stint with the Las Vegas 51s and had a .424 on-base percentage. He had 7 HRs, 7 doubles, and 13 RBIs in 92 at-bats.

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The online version of Tuesday's NYTimes article

The online version of Tuesday’s NYTimes article

By Scott Barancik, editor

Josh Satin, called up from Triple-A last month to sub for struggling first baseman (and fellow Jew) Ike Davis, has 7 doubles, a .390 batting average, and an eye-popping .510 on-base percentage in 41 at-bats since then. He’s reached base in 13 straight games, including three in which he had just one plate appearance, and is hitting .400 with runners in scoring position.

But today the 28-year-old rookie has something even newer to write home about: his first New York Times profile (click here to see it).

Zach Schonbrun’s article portrays Satin‘s recent rise to prominence as unlikely. One minor-league team after another had tried to correct the 6-foot-2-inch Californian’s “unorthodox batting mechanics” and the “cartoonish way he timed every pitch, as if he were hitting in a slow-pitch softball home run derby.” Many “failed to envision Satin as anything but too old, too slow, too unconventional to be part of the Mets’ future.”

So far, Satin seems to be proving his doubters wrong, although he says they were right about one thing: the need to speed his timing. The UC-Berkeley alum made the adjustment after a “cameo” appearance with the Mets in September 2011.

Although he has played first base exclusively in this stint with the Mets, Satin has substantial minor-league experience at second base and shortstop. That may give New York further reason to keep him around when Ike Davis returns.

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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

 TEAMGABHHRRBIAVGOBP
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

  TEAMWLERAGIPHBBSO
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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Jewish HR records fell in 2012

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By Scott Barancik/Jewish Baseball News

If it seemed like Jewish ballplayers were smacking a lot of home runs this season, it wasn’t your imagination. Several records were broken or matched in 2012.

Jewish major leaguers (excluding pitchers) hit a combined 116 HRs, topping the prior record of 109 in 2011. Home-run hitting is a growing trend among Jewish players, with seven of the 10 biggest one-year totals coming since 2000 (see table).

Most Jewish HRs, by year*

YearTotal HRsBiggest contributor
2012116Ryan Braun (41)
2011109Ryan Braun (33)
1999102Shawn green (42)
2009101Ryan Braun (32)
200898Ryan Braun (37)
193887Hank Greenberg (40)
201085Ryan Braun (25)
200783Ryan Braun (34)
195377Al Rosen (43)
200173Shawn Green (49)
* Excluding Jewish pitchers
Source: JewishBaseballNews.com

Two key figures behind this year’s home-run barrage were Milwaukee Brewers LF Ryan Braun, who smashed a career-high 41 HRs, and New York Mets 1B Ike Davis, who hit a career-high 32. Kevin Youkilis, who split the season between the Boston Red Sox and the Chicago White Sox, hit 19, and Texas Rangers 2B Ian Kinsler followed with 18.

Braun’s 41 dingers made him the No. 1 home-run hitter among National League players in 2012. The last time a Jewish ballplayer led a league in HRs was 1953, when Cleveland Indians 3B Al Rosen hit 43 to lead the A.L.

Davis hit 19 HRs as a rookie in 2010 and spent much of the 2011 season on the disabled list. By the 2012 All-Star break he had 12 HRs, then pounded 20 more during the rest of the season to rank No. 5 among N.L. hitters (tie).

Braun and Davis made quite a pair. The only other time two Jewish players have hit at least 40 and 30 HRs, respectively, in a single MLB season was 2002, when Los Angeles Dodgers RF Shawn Green crushed 42, and Philadelphia Phillies C Mike Lieberthal hit 31. Braun (37) and Youkilis (29) came close in 2009, as did Al Rosen (37) and Boston Braves LF Sid Gordon (27) in 1950.

Braun’s 41 HRs launched him into a tie with Sid Gordon for No. 3 on the all-time Jewish HR leaders list, with 202. Detroit Tigers 1B Hank Greenberg leads the list with 331, followed closely by Shawn Green with 328.

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Good news Monday (8/27/2012)

By Scott Barancik/Jewish Baseball News

Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night, nor even pesky tropical storms, shall stay this website from its appointed rounds:

  • Ike Davis was mobbed by New York Mets teammates Sunday after hitting his second round-tripper of the day, a walk-off HR against the Houston Astros. The New York Mets 1B has 22 HRs this year, tied for 7th best in the N.L. By the way, if you plan to be in New York City on Sept. 9, Davis is hosting a benefit concert to raise funds for childhood-cancer research.
  • Just three months into his professional career, St. Louis Cardinals prospect Jeremy Schaffer has been named an Appalachian League all-star. The 22-year-old Tulane University alum is hitting .271 with 10 HRs and leads the league both in doubles (20) and RBIs (51) in just 229 at-bats.
  • Kevin Youkilis hit a grand-slam HR against the New York Yankees on Tuesday (8/21/2012) to break a 2-2 tie. The third slam of his career, it sent the Chicago White Sox’s home crowd into a frency (see video). Later in the week, Youk told Israel Sports Radio he’ll play for Team Israel in the World Baseball Classic if the team makes it past next month’s qualifying round, presuming he’s healthy. Click here for tickets to the qualifiers in Jupiter, Fla.
  • Nate Freiman leads all AA players with 102 RBIs. It’s the second straight 100 RBI-plus season for the 6’7″ San Diego Padres prospect. A first baseman with the San Antonio Missions, Freiman is hitting .292 with 23 HRs. Talk about consistent: he had 20 RBIs in April, 22 in May, 21 in June, 20 in July, and 19 so far in August.
  • Former Cleveland Indians prospect Alex Kaminsky is making a name for himself in the independent Frontier League. A 24-year-old righty with the Gateway Grizzlies, Kaminsky hasn’t allowed a run in his past three starts, including a 6-and-one-third-inning stint Thursday (8/23/2012) en route to a 1-0 win over the Windy City ThunderBolts. He’s 10-4 this season with a 3.43 ERA.
  • Ben Guez has had only 265 at-bats at the AAA level this year, but that hasn’t stopped the Detroit Tigers prospect from collecting six triples, tying him for 4th-highest in the International League. Guez is hitting a combined .297 in AAA and AA this year, with 8 HRs, 44 RBIs, 13 stolen bases, and a. 414 on-base percentage.
  • Tampa Bay Rays prospect Sean Bierman is quietly racking-up quite a rookie season. A 10th-round draft pick this June, the 6’0″ lefty recently was promoted to the Bowling Green Hot Rods (A) from the Hudson Valley Renegades (A-short season). In a combined 12 games, Bierman is 5-2 with a 2.67 ERA, 39 strikeouts, and just 6 walks in 57-and-a-third innings — less than one base on balls per 9 innings.
  • Ian Kinsler went 3-for-5 Saturday (8/25/2012) with a HR and a three-run triple in a 9-3 rout of the Minnesota Twins. Kinlers hit .308 in his last 10 games, with 2 HRs, 9 RBIs, and 8 walks. ESPN.com notes that he’s hitting outside balls far better than inside balls this season.
  • Sam Fuld sparked another win last week (8/20/2012), leading the Tampa Bay Rays to a 5-1 victory over the Kansas City Royals. The Tampa Bay Times said it best: “Fuld delivered a spark with two great catches and two hits, including stretching a single into a double in the eighth, then lighting the Captain Morgan lamp as the player of the game. ‘Sammy does everything right,’ manager Joe Maddon said.”

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

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Good news Monday (8/20/2012)

By Scott Barancik/Jewish Baseball News

Fear not: there is still some good news in the world:

  • Sam Fuld‘s heroic fielding and hustle have earned him the nickname “Super Sam,” but Tampa Bay Rays fans may just want to call him “Sparkplug.” Though a wrist injury kept Fuld off the field this season until July 24, the club has gone 18-and-7 since his return. The 30-year-old utility outfielder’s impact was never more clear than on Saturday (8/18/2012). The Rays were down 8-0 to the Los Angeles Angels when Fuld singled in his team’s first run, launching a 7-run inning that ultimately propelled the Rays to an improbable 10-8 win.
  • Detroit Tigers prospect Ben Guez continues to enjoy a breakout year with the club’s AA and AAA teams. The diminutive outfielder — he is listed at 5’10” and 180 pounds, about the same size as Sam Fuld — is hitting a combined .300 with 8 HRs, 5 triples, 42 RBIs, 12 stolen bases, and a preposterously high .423 on-base percentage. He has spent roughly three-quarters of the season with the Toledo Mud Hens (AAA).
  • Two of the N.L.’s top home-run hitters are Jewish. Milwaukee Brewers LF Ryan Braun, the reigning N.L. MVP, hit four dingers over a 3-game stretch last week and leads the league with 33 overall. New York Mets 1B Ike Davis has hit a career-high 22 HRs, good enough for 12th place.
  • Not to be outdone are San Diego Padres prospects Nate Freiman and Cody Decker. Teammates on the San Antonio Missions (AA), the pair rank 4th and 5th among all double-A players in home runs, with 23 and 22 respectively. Decker had an additional 5 HRs with the Padres’ AAA team, giving him 27 overall. Freiman, a 6’7″ first baseman, is hitting .298 and leads all AA players with 98 RBIs8.
  • Craig Breslow made the most of his two-pitch appearance Saturday (8/18/2012). The Boston Red Sox reliever entered the game with one out in the 8th inning, a 3-1 lead, a man on first base, and New York Yankees 2B Robinson Cano at the plate. Breslow’s second pitch, a cutter, lured Cano into an inning-ending double play, but what caught the eye of many observers was his batterymate: catcher Ryan Lavarnway. Several Jewish Baseball News readers, including Jerome Deutsch, noted the rarity of this all-Jewish battery. (Yes, it has happened before.) But even rarer was the fact that both men attended Yale University. According to the Yale Daily News, Breslow (Class of 2002) and Lavarnway (Class of 2009) were the first Yale batterymates since 1883. Said Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine after the game: “I got a lot smarter having them out there.”
  • We’re only a month away from Team Israel’s appearance at the World Baseball Classic qualifying round in Jupiter, Fla. Among those scheduled to play in the team’s September 19 opener against South Africa are player-coaches Shawn Green (ranked second among Jewish major-leaguers in career HRs), former MLB’er Gabe Kapler, a variety of of other current and ex-pros, and a handful of Israelis. Click here for tickets.
  • Joc Pederson is on a roll. Ranked the Los Angeles Dodgers’ No. 3 prospect by MLB.com, the 20-year-old son of former major-leaguer Stu Pederson is batting .400 over his past 10 games with 5 HRs, 4 doubles, 11 RBIs, 3 walks, and 2 stolen bases. An outfielder with the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (A-advanced), Pederson is hitting .313 this season with 17 HRs, 59 RBIs, 22 stolen bases, a .397 on-base percentage, and an OPS (on-base plus slugging) of .918.
  • Danny Rosenbaum is the Jekyll & Hyde of 2012. After starting the year 5-0 with an 0.71 ERA and just four walks for the Harrisonburg Senators (AA), there was talk the Washington Nationals might call-up the 6’1″ lefty in September. (See Rosenbaum’s May 2012 interview with Jewish Baseball News contributor Zev Ben Avigdor.) But when his go-to catcher Sandy Leon was called-up to the majors, everything seemed to fall apart, and today the 24-year-old’s record is a less stellar 8-and-9 with a 3.73 ERA. On Saturday (8/18/2012), though, it looked like the ‘old’ Rosenbaum had returned. Danny pitched 7 shutout innings in a 2-1 win over the Erie SeaWolves, giving up just five hits and one walk.

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

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Good news Monday (7/30/2012)

By Scott Barancik/Jewish Baseball News

It’s not easy to muster a smile on Mondays, but here are a few good reasons:

  • There are only three possible explanations for pitcher Scott Feldman‘s recent dominance: a pact with the devil, alien body-snatching, or performance-enhancing drugs. Through July 4, the Texas Ranger had a 2-6 record and a 6.11 ERA, while opposing batters were hitting him at a .285 clip. But the 29-year-old Hawaii native has strangled his past 3 opponents, giving up just one earned run in 17 innings (an ERA of 0.53) while striking out 10 and walking zero. The performance has boosted his record to 5-6 and slimmed his ERA to 4.76.
  • Sam Fuld is back. After spending the first three months of the season on the disabled list, the scrappy Tampa Bay Rays outfielder returned to the field with a vengeance last week (7/24/2012). In five games since returning, Fuld went 6-for-16 (.375) with 2 doubles and 2 RBIs, and the slumping Rays won three of five.
  • Los Angeles Dodgers prospect Joc Pederson is surging. A 20-year-old outfielder with the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (A-advanced), Pederson has hit .333 in his past 10 games, including 3 HRs, 11 RBIs, 3 stolen bases, and a .429 on-base percentage. The Palo Alto, Calif. native was an 11th-round pick out of high school in the 2010 draft. At the beginning of this season, MLB.com ranked him the Dodgers’ No. 4 prospect.
  • Baltimore Orioles prospect Robbie Widlansky is among Eastern League leaders in several offensive categories. A 27-year-old outfielder/DH with the Bowie Baysox (AA), Widlansky is hitting.301 with 6 HRs, 62 RBIs (3rd highest), 9 stolen bases, and an on-base percentage of .396 (4th).
  • Think the Chicago White Sox are happy they acquired 3B Kevin Youkilis? Check out this MLB.com compilation video titled “The Youk Effect.”
  • One of Israel’s few home-grown baseball stars is a 6’4″, 33-year-old pitcher whose day job is booking musicians for the City Winery in New York City. The Wall Street Journal has a terrific profile on Shlomo Lipetz and the challenges  he faced learning baseball in Tel Aviv after relatives first exposed him to the sport in a 1986 visit to Shea Stadium.
  • Ike Davis had a 3-HR game for the first time in his career on Saturday (7/28/2012). The Arizona native homered in his first three at-bats (see video) and added a single to go 4-for-4 in a 6-3 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks in Phoenix. After an anemic start this season, Davis is tied for 6th place in the National League with 20 HRs, is third among N.L. first basemen with 60 RBIs, and has raised his batting average to .213. He has six HRs in his past 10 games.
  • According to our friends at Jewish Sports Review, a total of 13 Jewish players were selected in the 2012 amateur draft. We’ll publish the full list, along with short bios, very soon.
  • Adam Greenberg is vying for a spot on on Team Israel, which will be competing in a qualifying round for the World Baseball Classic in September. The 31-year-old former Chicago Cub is best known, unfortunately, for getting hit in the head by pitcher Valerio de los Santos during his first and only Major League at-bat, in 2005. Greenberg’s career was derailed by the resulting concussion and vertigo. But the 5’9″ fireplug has grit. He singled off de los Santos when he next faced him, in a 2011 independent-league game, and you can see both at-bats in this video profile by ESPN. Good luck, Adam!
  • Nearly 3 months after being demoted to AAA, Danny Valencia has returned to the Minnesota Twins. The 27-year-old third baseman immediately chipped in with an RBI double and two runs scored in a 12-5 win over the Cleveland Indians on Saturday (7/28/2012). His stay is likely to be short, as regular 3B Trevor Plouffe is suffering only from a bruised right thumb.
  • Congratulations to U.S. women’s gymnastics captain Aly Raisman, a tribe member who advanced to the Olympics’ all-around finals with a terrific floor exercise she performed to the tune of Hava Nagila on Sunday night (7/29/2012).

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

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Good new Monday (7/16/2012)

By Scott Barancik/Jewish Baseball News

Boker tov, fellow Hebrews! Here’s some good news for your Monday morn:

  • Seattle Mariners prospect Jack Marder was out most of June with injuries, but you wouldn’t know it from his first 3 games back, when he went 7-for-15 with 2 HRs, a double, and 5 RBIs (July 6-8). A 22-year-old catcher with the High Desert Mavericks (A-advanced), Marder is hitting .360 this season with 8 HRs, 15 doubles, and 40 RBIs in just 186 at-bats. By the way, Jack isn’t the only catcher in his family. Sister Sam Marder, Ohio State’s all-time HR leader, plays professional fastpitch softball with the Akron Racers. Check out this article about the siblings.
  • There’s no sadder story in baseball history than that of Adam Greenberg, which is why the latest news about New Haven, Conn., native is so great. Greenberg, you may recall, had been called up by the Chicago Cubs in 2005 and was enjoying his first Major League at-bat when Florida Marlins P Valeria de los Santos accidentally beaned him, ending his MLB career and giving him a dubious footnote in the record books. But the still-young Greenberg — he’s only 31 — reportedly has begun training to play for Team Israel in the upcoming World Baseball Classic qualifying round, in September. Can’t wait to see you there, Adam.
  • Sure, Ike Davis has struggled at the plate this season, with his batting average only recently edging up above .200. But there’s a good reason the New York Mets continue to use him as a starter: run production. Davis’ 50 RBIs place him among the top 20 in the National League and have him 0n pace to crush his career high of 71. He also has 13 HRs, compared with a career-high of 19. Now if he can just start walking and singling a little more, and striking out a little less…
  • The New York Mets reportedly are interested in Boston Red Sox backup catcher Kelly Shoppach. If Shoppach is traded, hard-hitting prospect Ryan Lavarnway, who had a cup of coffee with the Red Sox last year, will likely be called-up for good.
  • One of the greatest home-run duos in Jewish baseball history is together again. San Diego Padres slugger Cody Decker is back with the San Antonio Missions (AA) and teammate Nate Freiman after a brief stint in AAA, and the pair is on fire. Decker, who hit a grand slam last week (7/12/2012) and homered in the same game as Freiman for at least the second time this year (7/9/2012), has 22 HRs overall, including an astounding 18 in just 186 at-bats with the Missions. Freiman has 20 HRs, leads the Texas League with 75 RBIs, and was profiled in this recent article.
  • The Tampa Bay Rays seem eager to get Sam Fuld back on the field. Despite a mediocre rehab assignment in which he went 2-for-13 with the Charlotte Stone Crabs, Fuld has been promoted to the Durham Bulls (AAA).
  • Max Fried, an 18-year-old lefty who was the No. 7 overall pick of the San Diego Padres in last month’s amateur draft, has yet to give up a run in three appearances with the rookie-league AZL Padres. According to jewishsportsreview.com, only four Jews have been drafted higher in baseball history: Ron Blomberg (No. 1 in 1967), Mike Lieberthal (No. 3 in 1990), Justin Wayne (No. 5 in 2000), and Ryan Braun (No. 5 in 2005).
  • Speaking of Ryan Braun, the reigning N.L. MVP is leading his league in HRs with 26 — that’s one in every 12.2 at-bats — and is on pace to crush his career high of 37 (2008). He’s also among league leaders with 64 RBIs (2nd/tie), a .640 slugging percentage (2nd), nine hit-by-pitches (2nd), a .401 on-base percentage (5th), .313 batting average (8th), and 16 stolen bases (10th/tie). All without the aid of performance-enhancing drugs, mind you.
  • Kevin Youkilis returns to Fenway Park today (7/16/2012) for the first time since the Red Sox traded him. The Chicago White Sox are mighty happy with Youk so far. In 61 at-bats, the 33-year-old 1B/3B is hitting .295 with 3 HRs, 15 RBIs, and a .397 on-base percentage. Read Kevin’s love letter to Boston fans here.

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

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Good news Tuesday (6/26/2012)

By Scott Barancik/Jewish Baseball News

Because our website was down on Monday, gosh darn it:

  • If cats have nine lives, Jason Marquis may be a close second. After the Minnesota Twins unceremoniously dumped the 33-year-old journeyman and his 8.47 ERA last month, he was picked up by his 8th MLB team, the San Diego Padres. Since then Marquis has excelled. Although poor run support has cost him three losses in four starts with San Diego, he has kept a trim 2.05 ERA and struck out 26 batters in 26-and-one-third innings, including a career-high 10 against the Texas Rangers last Monday (6/18/2012).
  • Ryan Braun is on a tear. The reigning N.L. MVP’s hitting streak reached 18 games on Sunday (6/24/2012), and he leads the league in HRs (20/tie) while ranking 3rd in RBIs (52). In his last 10 games alone, the 28-year-old Milwaukee Brewer hit .366 along with 5 HRs and 11 RBIs. Not surprisingly he ranked 4th among N.L. outfielders in All-Star voting as of 6/19/2012, a shade behind Melky Cabrera of the San Francisco Giants.
  • Speaking of All-Stars, Ian Kinsler was leading all A.L. second baseman in votes as of 6/18/2012, but not by much. The Texas Ranger had 2,580,306 votes, versus 2,565,046 for New York Yankees 2B Robinson. Voting ends Thursday (6/28/2012); cast your votes here.
  • What slump? Ike Davis continued his recovery last week with two decisive HRs. On Monday (6/18/2012) he hit his first MLB grand slam HR, giving the New York Mets all it needed to knock off the Baltimore Orioles 5-0 (see video). On Friday (6/22/2012) he smacked a 3-run home run in a 6-4 victory over the crosstown New York Yankees. Though Davis’ .190 batting average still needs improving, he’s hit .290 in his past 10 games and nevertheless ranks 3rd on the Mets in HRs (8/tie), RBIs (36), and walks (26).
  • Philadelphia Phillies reliever Michael Schwimer is making a strong case for remaining in the Majors. Earlier this season, the Phils demoted the 6’8” reliever after he went 0-1 with a blown save and a bloated 8.53 ERA. But in nine starts since returning this month, Schwimer has put up stellar numbers, including a 2.08 ERA, 0.81 walks/hits per inning, and a .138 opposing-batter average.
  • Nate Freiman hit a walk-off HR on Thursday (6/21/2012) to give the San Antonio Missions (AA) a 5-3 win over the Corpus Christi Hooks in extra innings. Luckily the 6’7” first baseman didn’t connect off Hooks reliever Josh Zeid, who pitched 2 scoreless innings earlier in the game. Freiman leads the Texas League with 63 RBIs in 74 games, ranks 2nd with 16 HRs, 3rd in slugging percentage (.512), and 5th in OPS (.861).
  • Danny Valencia showed some pop in his bat Saturday (6/23/2012), homering twice in the Rochester Red Wings’ (AAA) 12-1 win over the Charlotte Knights. Valencia is averaging .247 since being demoted by the Minnesota Twins but had a nice run in his past 10 games, hitting .310 with an on-base percentage of .447.

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

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Good news Monday (6/18/2012)

By Scott Barancik/Jewish Baseball News

Monday-morning blues be damned:

  • After crushing minor-league pitching during a 15-game rehab stint,  Ryan Kalish is back with the Boston Red Sox, and boy did he make a good entrance yesterday (6/17/2012). In his first big-league game since 2010, the 25-year-old outfielder broke up a 3-3 tie in the 7th inning with an RBI single, and the Sox went on to defeat the Chicago Cubs 7-4. He later scored on a suicide squeeze. Kudos to Ryan for his grit and courage in overcoming shoulder and neck surgery.
  • Texas Rangers fans recently were asked to name the franchise’s all-time greatest players in honor of its 40th anniversary. The top second baseman? Ian Kinsler, of course. Only two other active position players were named to the all-time squad: SS Michael Young, and reigning A.L. MVP Josh Hamilton. Kinsler is particularly popular among the younger set. Little Leaguers in the Dallas-Fort Worth area reportedly emulate the 29-year-old by pulling their socks up high.
  • After a season-long slump that had people speculating on a possible demotion, Ike Davis is hitting again. The New York Mets first baseman batted .478 over the past 8 games, contributing 1 HR, 7 RBIs, and 7 walks.
  • Jewish players had a bellwether day Saturday (6/16/2012). Of the 17 Major- and minor-leaguers who came to the plate, 16 got at least one hit, 10 had two or more hits,and together they collected a total of 3 HRs, 16 RBIs, and 7 walks in 67 at-bats.
  • It’s been a good couple weeks for Detroit Tigers prospect Ben Guez. A 25-year-old outfielder with the Toledo Mud Hens (AAA), Guez hit a grand-slam HR, gamely tried (and failed) to stretch a triple into an inside-the-park HR, hit 2 doubles in two consecutive games, and raised his average and on-base percentage in Toledo to .287 and .380, respectively.
  • Also on fire is Baltimore Orioles prospect Robbie Widlansky. An outfielder and designated hitter with the Bowie Baysox (AA), the 27-year-old batted .450 over his past 10 games and had hits in every one of them, along with 10 RBIs. Widansky’s 41 RBIs and 17 doubles are tied for 3rd highest in the Eastern League.
  • San Diego Padres prospect Nate Freiman, a 6’7″ slugger who leads the Texas League with 57 RBIs and is #2 in HRs with 15, is winning off the field, too. Freiman is engaged to marry fellow athlete and Duke University alum Amanda Blumenhurst, a professional golfer.
  • Two members of the Stony Brook University team that made an unlikely appearance at the 2012 College World Series are Jewish: Maxx Tissenbaum, a junior drafted by the San Diego Padres in the 11th round of this months’ draft, and freshman Steven Goldstein. Stony Brook was eliminated Sunday (6/17/2012) by Florida State University. Tissenbaum finished the season with a .390 average, 3 HRs, and 51 RBIs, second-highest on the team. Goldstein hit .337 with 4 HRs and 34 RBIs. He ranked second in stolen bases with 14.

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

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By Scott Barancik/Jewish Baseball News

In 2010, the year Jewish Baseball News debuted, MLB’s Opening Day rosters included 10 Jewish players. In 2011 there were nine.

This season? Only seven. It’s enough to make an M.O.T. cry in his $9 ballpark beer.

Thanks to injuries (Sam Fuld, Ryan Kalish), flips of a coin (Ryan LavarnwayMichael Schwimer), a veteran’s departure (John Grabow), and a freak family accident (Jason Marquis), the number of Jewish players on Opening Day rosters will be the lowest in years.

The seven are:

  1. Ryan Braun (LF), Milwaukee Brewers
  2. Craig Breslow (P), Arizona Diamondbacks
  3. Ike Davis (1B), New York Mets
  4. Scott Feldman (P), Texas Rangers
  5. Ian Kinsler (2B), Texas Rangers
  6. Kevin Youkilis (3B/1B), Boston Red Sox
  7. Danny Valencia (3B), Minnesota Twins
More players are likely to be called in later this season, however. They include:
  1. Josh Satin (IF), New York Mets. After getting his first 25 MLB at-bats at the end of 2011, Satin was invited this season to Spring Training, where he batted a respectable .259 with a .323 on-base percentage. When he’ll come back: definitely in September, possibly sooner if the injury-prone Mets lose an infielder.
  2. Jason Marquis (P), Minnesota Twins. Marquis was slotted to be the Twins’ fifth starter on Opening Day. But when his 7-year-old daughter was seriously injured two weeks ago in a bicycle accident, he admirably chose to go home and care for her. Now back after 9 days, the Twins sent him down to the minors for a tune-up. When he’ll come back: as long as he doesn’t screw up badly in the minors, Marquis should be back before the end of the month.
  3. Ryan Lavarnway (C), Boston Red Sox. Lavarnway is a far better hitter than Boston’s #2 catcher, Kelly Shoppach. Take this year’s Spring Training, where Lavarnway outhit .him .429 to .258. Now he just needs to prove he can catch half as well as Shoppach. When he’ll be back: if Shoppach and his teammates fail to produce at the plate, Lavarnway could return before the All-Star break.
  4. Sam Fuld (CF/LF), Tampa Bay Rays. Fuld underwent surgery this week after reinjuring his right wrist. The Rays won’t miss his bat, but they will miss his fielding prowess, baserunning skill, and crowd-pleasing hustle. When he’ll be back: Early reports say Fuld’s likely to be out 4-5 months, meaning an August or September return. A lot will depend on not only on the speed of his recovery but how well rookie outfielder Stephen Vogt and veteran outfielder Luke Scott perform in their Rays debuts.
  5. Michael Schwimer (P), Philadelphia Phillies. A September call-up last season, Schwimer went 1-0 in Spring Training with a 3.86 ERA, one save, five strikeouts, and just one walk in 4-and-two-thirds innings. When he’ll be back: Definitely by September, if not sooner. Schwimer’s misfortune is that the Phillies have an abundance of strong relievers.
  6. Ryan Kalish (RF), Boston Red Sox. After neck surgery in September and shoulder surgery in November, Kalish is starting 2012 on the 60-day disabled list. When he’ll be back: Probably September, but only if he performs well in the minors after completing rehab.
  7.  Brett Lorin (P), Arizona Diamondbacks. For someone who hasn’t even reached AA, Lorin had a remarkable Spring Training, holding opposing batters to a .194 average and going 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA, 7 strikeouts, and one walk across 9 innings. When he’ll be back: MLB teams are loathe to call-up players who lack AAA experience. But if Lorin performs as well with the Mobile BayBears (AA) as he did this Spring, a September taste is possible.

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Spring Training surprises: An update

By Scott Barancik/Jewish Baseball News

Given that he’s the reigning National League MVP, you might think Ryan Braun would be tearing up Spring Training pitching.

And you would be wrong.

Opening Day is little more than a week away, but 2012 already has already delivered a few surprises, as well as some more predictable performances.

The Surprising

  • John Grabow has yet to give up an earned run. After a second mediocre season in Wrigley Field made him a target of fan frustration, the nine-year veteran seemed on the verge of Washed Up, and the best he could get for 2012 was a minor-league contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers. But now, Grabow has a fighting chance at filling the final spot in the Dodgers’ regular-season bullpen. In six appearances this Spring, the 33-year-old has given up no runs, one walk, and only four hits across six innings, while striking out 7.
  • In Arizona, veteran reliever Craig Breslow has been outperformed by a low-level minor leaguer. With a lifetime ERA of 3.06, the odds are good that Breslow will find his form during the regular season, but so far this Spring he’s been ineffective, running up a 7.11 ERA in five appearances. The real shocker has been teammate Brett Lorin, a 6’7″ starter who has yet to play even Double-A ball yet. In 7 relief appearances this Spring, the 24-year-old is 1-0 with a 2.57 ERA, five strikeouts, and nary a single walk.
  • Minor-leaguer Nate Freiman has 5 RBIs in just 5 at-bats. He’s yet to reach Double-A. He wasn’t on the San Diego Padres’ Spring Training roster, or among its non-roster invitees. But the 6’7″ first baseman has made the most of his limited opportunities this Spring. In 3 appearances, none of them as a starter, Freiman hit a three-run HR, an RBI single, and a sacrifice fly. Only two Jewish players — Danny Valencia (7 RBIs, 45 at-bats), and Ike Davis (6 RBIs, 35 at-bats) have driven in more runs.
  • Ryan Braun is hitting just .095. Narrowly escaping a 50-game suspension under MLB’s drug policy probably hasn’t helped Braun’s psyche any. But who would expect the N.L.’s 2011 MVP to have just 2 hits in 21 at-bats so far this Spring? To be fair, the Milwaukee Brewers’ 28-year-old left fielder has drawn 6 walks, giving him a respectable if modest .321 on-base percentage. Still…
  • The “other” Ryan is hitting .455. Boston Red Sox C Ryan Lavarnway, who made his Major League debut last August, has always swung a good bat. But his performance this Spring will make the Red Sox think twice about sending him down to AAA next week.

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The Predictable

  • Ian Kinsler is off to a fast start, hitting .368 with 3 HRs and 5 RBIs.
  • Sam Fuld is hitting .217, identical to his average across seven MLB Spring Trainings. Notwithstanding his remarkable start last April, Super Sam hits only slight better during the regular season, with a career average of .244.
  • Jason Marquis is struggling with his control. In 4 Spring stars, the newly-arrived Minnesota Twin is 1-1 with an 8.53 ERA, and he’s walked nearly twice as many batters (9) as he’s struck out (5).
For more detailed Spring Training stats, see the tables below.

Hitters

Spring training games played through March 25, 2012
 BatterTeamPosABHHRRBIBBSOAVGOBPSLG
1Ben OrloffHOU2B210100.500.500.500
2Ryan LavarnwayBOSC33150435.455.486.515
3Nate FreimanSD1B521501.400.3331.000
4Ian KinslerTEX2B38143515.368.385.684
5Jake LemmermanLADSS310000.333.333.333
6Danny ValenciaMIN3B45123729.267.298.533
7Josh SatinNYM2B2770239.259.323.296
8Ike DavisNYM1B3581677.229.357.371
9Sam FuldTBLF2350055.217.357.217
10Kevin YoukilisBOS3B2860246.214.333.250
11Ryan BraunMILLF2121265.095.321.238
TOTAL260739343152.281nana

Pitchers

Spring Training games played through March 25, 2012
 PlayerTeamWLERAIPHRERBBSO
1John GrabowLAD100.00640017
2Daniel BerlindCHC000.00100010
3Brett LorinARI102.57742205
4Michael SchwimerPHI103.864.252215
5Scott FeldmanTEX024.50141777211
6Craig BreslowARI007.116.165534
7Jason MarquisMIN118.5312.219121295
TOTAL434.8851.25528281737

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Spring Training update (3/11/12)

By Scott Barancik/Jewish Baseball News

Spring Training 2012 is in its second week, and a number of Jewish players are in the mix.

Fifteen Jews — including 6 pitchers and 9 position players — were invited to participate in Major League Baseball’s annual rite this year. They include all 13 who played MLB ball in 2011, plus former major league OF Ryan Kalish (Boston Red Sox) and current minor league P Brett Lorin (Arizona Diamondbacks). Fourteen of the 15 are on their teams’ 40-man roster. P John Grabow, who recently signed a minor-league contract with the Los Angeles dodgers, is the lone non-roster invitee.

The Boston Red Sox have the highest Jewish population of any team at Spring Training, with three players, followed by the Arizona Diamondbacks, New York Mets, and Texas Rangers, each with two.

Through games played March 10, Jewish batters were hitting a combined .253, with 2 HRs and 10 RBIs in 75 at-bats (see table below). New York Mets 1B Ike Davis led the group with a .400 average and .500 on-base percentage. Minnesota Twins 3B Danny Valencia showed some power with a HR, two doubles, and a .357 average. National League MVP Ryan Braun was off to a slow start, with four strikeouts and just one hit in his first 8 at-bats, a home run.

Boston’s Kalish, who had off-season surgery on his neck and left shoulder, isn’t expected to play until June.

Jewish pitchers were playing admirably well. Five of the six hadn’t yielded a single run through March 10. Texas Rangers starter Scott Feldman, for example, gave up just two hits and a walk over five total innings while striking out three. Jason Marquis, a newly-minted Minnesota Twin, was the sole disappointment. He blew his first start by giving up 4 earned runs and 3 walks to the Red Sox before being removed in the 2nd inning. His second start, against the St. Louis Cardinals, was modestly better: Marquis gave up 1 earned run on 3 hits and 2 walks over 3 innings.

Following are player stats through games played March 10:

Batter Team Pos AB H HR RBI BB SO AVG OBP SLG
1 Ike Davis NYM 1B 10 4 0 0 2 3 .400 .500 .500
2 Danny Valencia MIN 3B 14 5 1 4 0 2 .357 .357 .714
3 Josh Satin NYM 2B 12 3 0 1 1 5 .250 .308 .250
4 Kevin Youkilis BOS 3B 9 2 0 1 2 2 .222 .364 .333
5 Ian Kinsler TEX 2B 14 3 0 0 0 2 .214 .214 .214
6 Ryan Lavarnway BOS C 5 1 0 2 1 2 .200 .286 .200
7 Ryan Braun MIL LF 8 1 1 2 1 4 .125 .222 .500
8 Sam Fuld TB OF 3 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
9 Ryan Kalish BOS OF
TOTALS 75 19 2 10 7 20 .253


Player Team W L ERA IP H R ER BB SO
1 Scott Feldman TEX 0 0 0.00 5 2 0 0 1 3
2 Craig Breslow ARI 0 0 0.00 2.1 1 0 0 0 2
3 Brett Lorin ARI 0 0 0.00 2 0 0 0 0 1
4 Michael Schwimer PHI 1 0 0.00 2 2 0 0 0 3
5 Jason Marquis MIN 0 1 9.64 4.2 6 5 5 5 2
6 John Grabow LAD 0 0 0.00 1 0 0 0 0 1
TOTALS 1 1 16.3 11 5 5 6 12


To track the performance of Jewish players during Spring Training, check the Jewish Box Score on our home page every day.

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Josh Satin (MiLB.com)

JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — New York Mets infielder Josh Satin singled in his first MLB at-bat Sunday as the Mets dispatched the Washington Nationals 6-3 in D.C.

Satin, 26, led off the 3rd inning by smacking a 2-2, 63-mph curveball from Nationals P Livan Hernandez into left field (see video). He later scored on a single by Mets SS Ruben Tejada.

“It was great to be out there,” Satin told MLB.com. “To get a hit on my first at-bat was definitely more relaxing. It was awesome. It’s hard to describe.”

The University of California-Berkeley alum struck out in his next at-bat and was pulled for a pinch-hitter in the 6th inning with the score tied and the bases loaded. Mets manager Terry Collins’ decision was vindicated when pinch-hitter Willie Harris hit a two-run single.

Selected by the Mets in the 6th round of the 2008 draft, Satin began the 2011 season with the Binghamton Mets (AA) before being promoted to the Buffalo Bisons (AAA) in July. Between the two he hit a combined .323 with 12 HRs, 76 RBIs, 43 doubles, a .411 on-base percentage, and .495 slugging percentage.

Satin is the 13th Jewish player to take the field with a major-league team this year. The Mets’ regular first baseman, fellow Jewish ballplayer Ike Davis, left the lineup in May with a season-ending injury.

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New York Mets call up prospect Josh Satin

Josh Satin (MiLB.com)

JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — The New York Mets made their first two September call-ups today (9/1/2011), and one of the lucky players is Jewish.

Josh Satin, a 26-year-old infielder in his 4th season with the Mets franchise, began the year with the Binghamton Mets (AA) before being promoted to the Buffalo Bisons (AAA) in July. Across the two teams he hit a combined .323 with 12 HRs, 76 RBIs, 43 doubles, a .411 on-base percentage, and .495 slugging percentage.

Satin is versatile with the glove. He played 57 games at 3B this season, 44 at 2B, 20 at 1B, and another 12 as designated hitter. Though this will be the Hidden Hills, Calif., native’s first stint on an MLB roster, he had 6 at-bats with the Mets during Spring Training this year, going 2-for-6 with 1 HR and 2 RBIs.

Satin will be the 13th Jewish player to take the field with a major-league team this year, and the second on the Mets. 1B Ike Davis was hitting .302 with 7 HRs and 25 RBIs as of May 10 when he collided with Mets P David Wright on a fly ball.

Jewish Baseball News reader Esther was the first of several fans to notify us about the decision to promote Satin, who will wear the number “3” on his jersey. The Mets also promoted P Josh Stinson today.

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