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Browsing Posts tagged Jack Marder

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By Scott Barancik/Jewish Baseball News

Here are highlights from minor-league games played on Saturday, April 13:

  • Max Fried, a 19-year-old starter ranked the San Diego Padres’ No. 2 prospect by MLB.com, earned his first professional win, and in dominant fashion. Fried pitched 5 scoreless innings for the Fort Wayne TinCaps (Single-A), giving up just 3 hits and 2 walks while striking out eight (see article and box score). Chosen 7th overall in the 2012 amateur draft — for which he received a $3-million bonus — the 6’4″ Californian walked the first batter of the game but then picked him off first base. Providing support was Jewish teammate and roommate Maxx Tissenbaum, who drove in a run with a sacrifice fly and drew his Midwest League-leading 10th walk of the season. (Click here to see Tissenbaum‘s excellent blog.)
  • Double-A players Jack Marder and Jake Lemmerman both hit their first HRs of the 2013 season. Marder, a Seattle Mariners prospect who went 2/4 and added a walk, was Jewish Baseball News’ 2012 minor-league rookie of the year. Lemmerman plays shortstop for the St. Louis Cardinals’ organization.
  • Red-hot New York Mets prospect Josh Satin had a perfect day at the plate, going 2/2 with a home run, 3 RBIs, and 3 walks for the Las Vegas 51s (Triple-A). Satin is hitting .474 (3rd highest in the Pacific Coast League) with 4 HRs (1st/tie), 12 RBIs (3rd/tie), 12 runs (2nd/tie), a .545 on-base percentage (3rd/tie), and an on-base plus slugging of 1.440 (3rd).
  • Baltimore Orioles prospect (and former Major Leaguer) Danny Valencia went 3/4 and drove in a run, raising his batting average to .333. Valencia plays third base for the Norfolk Tides (Triple-A).
  • In his second start of the 2013 season, Tampa Bay Rays prospect Sean Bierman earned his second consecutive shutout. Bierman gave up five singles and no walks while striking out four batters for the Bowling Green Hot Rods (Single-A).

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Kevin Pillar (Scout.com)

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By Scott Barancik/Jewish Baseball News

Kevin Pillar is the best Jewish player you’ve never heard of.

In college he set an NCAA Division II record with a 54-game hitting streak. Drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in 2011, he led his rookie league with a .347 batting average and in one game went 6-for-6 with a 9th-inning grand slam. In 2012 he hit a combined .323 with six HRs, 91 RBIs, and 51 stolen bases for two teams, good enough to be named MVP of the Midwest League. Later that year he starred in the invitation-only Arizona Fall League, where he hit a fifth-best .371 and stole 8 bases in just 62 at-bats.

Baseball America’s 2013 Prospect Handbook rates Pillar the Blue Jays’ No. 21 prospect. It says his “quickness and savvy also serve him well in the outfield, where he can play all three positions.”

Somehow, Pillar flew beneath our radar. That is, until a former high-school teammate wrote to say he was Jewish.

The 24-year-old Pillar confirmed it in a recent interview. Though his father is Christian and their southern California home was not “super religious,” Pillar and older brother Michael both were Bar Mitzvah’d, inspired in large part by love and respect for their maternal grandparents.

Jewish baseball fans may not have known Pillar, but Pillar knows plenty of Jewish ballplayers. He told Jewish Baseball News he played little-league ball with Seattle Mariners prospect Jack Marder, high-school ball with Los Angeles Angels prospect Casey Haerther, minor-league rookie ball with fellow Blue Jays prospect Ian Kadish, and sees San Diego Padres prospect Cody Decker during offseason workouts.

Pillar was careful to avoid burning-out on baseball early on. While some kids focused all their athletic energies on one sport, he and his parents decided it would be healthier to mix things up. Thus Pilllar excelled in football, basketball, and baseball at his Catholic high school, where monthly Mass was mandatory but religious- studies electives included Hebrew and Judaism.

Speed was the common thread. Pillar played point guard on the basketball team, outfield on the baseball team, and running back, receiver, outside linebacker, and kick- and punt-returner on the football team. “I had a good basketball I.Q.,” he said.

Two factors persuaded Pillar to focus on baseball at college. One was his modest size; he finished high school 6-feet-tall and weighing 180 pounds. The other was baseball’s vexing failure rate, where even the finest players rarely hit successfully more than 30 percent of the time. “The fact that you fail more than you succeed was more of a challenge,” he said. Pillar enrolled at Cal State — Dominguez Hills, where he majored in business and set the Division II hitting-streak record.

Click photo to buy Kevin Pillar baseball cards

Major-league scouts were not particularly wowed. By the time the Blue Jays selected Pillar in the 32nd round of the 2011 draft, 978 other amateurs already had been picked. Playing the way he has his first two years in the minors undoubtedly has been the best revenge. Baseball America projects him as “at least a fourth outfielder in the big leagues.”

Not that Pillar is content. Last year he compensated for a frustrating lack of extra-base hits by following his singles with stolen bases (his 51 ranked 2nd among Blue Jays farmhands). During the offseason, he decided that to do better in 2013 — he’ll most likely open with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats (AA) — he’d need not only to “get bigger, faster and stronger” but also change the mechanics of his swing, and learn to swing more freely.

“I’ve always been a contact hitter,”he said. “It’s just about being a little more aggressive, not that passive at the plate.”

The 2013 season already is off to a good start. Though currently participating in Toronto’s minor-league spring training camp in Dunedin, Fla., Pillar has made his way into four big-league games to date. The highlight so far? Coming off the bench to replace Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista in right field and then stroking a 7th-inning single off Baltimore Orioles reliever Daniel McCutchen.

Pillar shared only one regret in his recent interview: that news of Team Israel’s talent search for last year’s World Baseball Classic qualifiers reached him too late. “I wish that I’d known about it,” he said.

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By Scott Barancik/Jewish Baseball News

Jewish Baseball News, the website that brings you “News and stats on Jews with bats,” has selected the top Jewish minor-leaguers of the 2012 season.

Here are the award winners:

Rookie of the year

Jack Marder, 2B/C/LF, High Desert Mavericks (Seattle Mariners)

Most improved

Mauricio Tabachnik, P, Guerreros de Oaxaca (no MLB affiliation)

Comeback player

Jeremy Bleich, P, Tampa Yankees (New York Yankees)

Best starter

No winner

Best reliever

Jeff Urlaub, Stockton Ports (Oakland Athletics)

Power hitter

Nate Freiman, 1B, San Antonio Missions (San Diego Padres); obtained by the Houston Astros on 12/6/2012.

Most valuable player

Robbie Widlansky, DH/OF/1B, Bowie Baysox (Baltimore Orioles); obtained by the Los Angeles Angels on 12/6/2012.

Additional information on the award winners and runners-up is provided below.

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Detailed information

Rookie of the Year

Jack Marder, 22, made his minor-league debut in 2011. Because he had just 71 at-bats that year, Jewish Baseball News considers 2012 his “rookie” season. And what a season it was. The versatile 22-year-old hit .360, including .410 with runners in scoring position, and reached base 42.5 percent of the time. Marder had only 278 at-bats but still drilled 24 doubles, 4 triples, and 10 HRs, drove in 56 runs, and stole 16 bases in 22 attempts.

Honorable mention (in alphabetical order): Sean Bierman (Tampa Bay Rays), Jeremy Schaffer (St. Louis Cardinals), Maxx Tissenbaum (San Diego Padres)

Most improved

Mauricio Tabachnik, 23, spent three years in the San Diego Padres’ farm system before being released in 2011. A native of Mexico, he took his right arm to the Mexican League that year but did not impress. In addition to compiling a 5.36 ERA, he gave up an average of two walks and/or hits per inning and walked more batters (41) than he struck out (24). But Tabachnik was a different player in 2012, finishing 4-2 with a 3.18 ERA, more strikeouts (38) than walks (27), and giving up an average of five fewer hits and/or walks per nine innings.

Honorable mention: Richard Bleier (Texas Rangers), Cameron Selik (Washington Nationals)

Comeback player

Jeremy Bleich, 25, was a starting pitcher with the Trenton Thunder (AA) when he seriously hurt his shoulder in May 2010. It would be another two years before the former 1st-round draft pick would pitch again, this time as a reliever. Bleich’s 2012 comeback was impressive. He went 2-1 with a career-best 3.86 ERA, struck out 24 while walking just eight, and held opposing batters to a .242 average.

Honorable mention: Ryan Kalish (Boston Red Sox)

Best reliever

Jeff Urlaub, 25, finished the 2012 season with a winning record (7-6) and a 3.18 ERA, despite playing for two teams with losing records. He produced some eye-popping stats along the way, striking out a combined 58 batters while walking only 9, holding opposing teams to a .197 batting average, and allowing just 4 HRs in 65 innings.

Honorable mention: Corey Baker (St. Louis Cardinals), David Colvin (Seattle Mariners), Ian Kadish (Toronto Blue Jays)

Power hitter

Nate Freiman, 25, doesn’t just look imposing at the plate. The 6-foot-7-inch terrorized Texas League pitchers in 2012 with a career-high 24 HRs and a league-leading 105 RBIs. He didn’t sacrifice discipline, turning in a tidy .298 batting average and .370 on-base percentage. Later, Freiman brought his big bat to the World Baseball Classic, where he launched 4 HRs in 12 at-bats for Team Israel.

Honorable mention: Cody Decker (San Diego Padres)

Most valuable player

Robbie Widlansky, 28, helped the Bowie Baysox (AA) earn a playoff berth with the best performance of his 6-year professional career. He ranked among Eastern League leaders with a .316 batting average (3rd place), 83 RBIs (3rd), 35 doubles (2nd/tie), and a .404 on-base percentage (2nd). Widlansky also stole 11 bases, and his walk-to-strikeout ratio (64 to 74) was a career high.

Honorable mention: Joc Pederson (Los Angeles Dodgers), Nate Freiman (San Diego Padres)

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By Scott Barancik/Jewish Baseball News

The long wait to see which players will represent Israel at World Baseball Classic qualifiers this week is over.

Team Israel’s 28-man roster (see below) includes two former Major Leaguers (player/coaches Shawn Green and Gabe Kapler), three Israelis, and 23 minor-leaguers. Because the MLB season is still underway, no current Major Leaguers are on the roster. Also missing are a number of Triple-A and even Double-A players whose teams wanted them around as potential call-ups later this month.

The double-elimination tournament takes place Sept. 19-23 in Jupiter, Fla., and pits Israel against teams from France, Spain, and South Africa. Whoever prevails will earn a spot in the main World Basic Classic competition, in November 2013. If Israel wins, the team it fields in 2013 likely will include a number of Major Leaguers (such as Kevin Youkilis, who already has committed to play) and Triple-A players.

Additional commentary on this week’s roster is shown below the table.

Team Israel: Roster for the WBC qualifying tourney
No.
Player
Pos.
Age
Hometown
Minor-league team
Parent club
27COLVIN, DavidRHP23Mill Valley, CAClinton LumberKings (A)Seattle Mariners
34KAPLAN, JeffRHP27Dana Point, CABinghamton Mets (AA)New York Mets
36KOPP, DavidRHP26Coral Springs, FLErie SeaWolves (AA)Detroit Tigers
16LEICHMAN, AlonRHP23Kibbutz Gezer, IsraelN.A.N.A.
22LIPETZ, ShlomoRHP33Tel Aviv, IsraelN.A.N.A.
10LORIN, BrettRHP25Laguna Niguel, CAMobile Bay Bears (AA)Arizona Diamondbacks
21PERLMAN, MaxRHP24Jupiter, FLStockton Ports (A+)Oakland A's
(-)ROTHEM, DanRHP35Tel Aviv, IsraelN.A.N.A.
26SCHUMER, JustinRHP24Houston, TXSan Jose Giants (A+)San Francisco Giants
28ZEID, JoshRHP25New Haven, CTCorpus Christi Hooks (AA)Houston Astros
14BERGER, EricLHP26Goldsboro, NCColumbus Clippers (AAA)Cleveland Indians
35BLEIER, RichardLHP25Davie, FLFrisco Roughriders (AA)Texas Rangers
17GOULD, JeremyLHP24Buffalo Grove, ILSavannah Sand Gnats (A)New York Mets
29URLAUB, JeffLHP25Scottsdale, AZStockton Ports (A+)Oakland A's
37CUTLER, CharlieC26San Fransico, CAAltoona Curve (AA)Pittsburgh Pirates
3MARDER, JackC/IF22Calabasas, CAHigh Desert Mavericks (A+)Seattle Mariners
19RICKLES, NickC22Ft. Lauderdale, FLBurlington Bees (A+)Oakland A's
6DECKER, Cody1B25Santa Monica, CASan Antonio Missions (AA)San Diego Padres
25FREIMAN, Nate1B25Wellesley, MASan Antonio Missions (AA)San Diego Padres
9ORLOFF, Ben2B25Simi Valley, CACorpus Christi Hooks (AA)Houston Astros
2SATIN, Josh2B27Hidden Hills, CABuffalo Bisons (AAA)New York Mets
33HAERTHER, Casey3B24West Hills, CAArkansas Travelers (AA)Los Angeles Angels
7LEMMERMAN, JakeSS23Coronoa del Mar, CAChattanooga Lookouts (AA)Los Angeles Dodgers
15GREEN, ShawnOF39Des Plaines, ILN.A.N.A.
24GUEZ, BenOF25Houston, TXToledo Mud Hens (AAA)Detroit Tigers
18KAPLER, GabeOF37Hollywood, CAN.A.N.A.
31PEDERSON, JocOF20Palo Ato, CARancho Cucamonga Quakes (A+)Los Angeles Dodgers
23WIDLANSKY, RobbieOF/3B27Plantation, FLBowie Baysox (AA)Baltimore Orioles

Here are some other facts and observations on Team Israel’s roster for the qualifiers:

  • Of the 23 minor leaguers on the roster, three ended the 2012 season with a Triple-A team, 12 at the Double-A level, six at A-advanced, and two with a Single-A team.
  • Adam Greenberg, a former Major Leaguer who is trying to mount a comeback, was invited to Jupiter for tryouts but is not on the roster.
  • Josh Satin, who played briefly for the New York Mets in 2011 and 2012, is the only player with MLB experience.
  • The youngest player on the roster is 20-year-old outfielder Joc Pederson, who is ranked the Los Angeles Dodgers’ No. 3 prospect by MLB.com. The oldest player is 39-year-old Shawn Green, whose 15-year MLB career included five seasons with the Dodgers and ended with the New York Mets in 2007. Green’s 328 career HRs are second only to Hank Greenberg’s 331 among Jewish ballplayers.
  • Israeli player Alon Leichman plays for Cypress College, a community college in California.
  • During the qualifiers for the 2012 European Championship, Israeli pitcher Shlomo Lipetz was masterful, giving up just one earned run over 16-and-a-third innings while striking out 18 and walking three.
  • Three players on Team Israel are 6-foot-7-inches tall: pitchers Brett Lorin and Max Perlman, and 1B Nate Freiman. At 5-foot-8-inches, Alon Leichman is the shortest.
  • Nate Freiman and Cody Decker, teammates on the San Antonio Missions (AA), finished 2nd and 3rd in HRs this season among Texas League players.

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By Scott Barancik/Jewish Baseball News

Mondays bite. But you can bite back:

  • Scott Feldman‘s winning streak ended Friday (8/10/2012) with a 6-2 loss to the Detroit Tigers, but what a streak it was. After losing his first six decisions of the season and amassing a 6.50 ERA, the 6-foot-6-inch Texas Ranger won the next six with a 2.81 ERA.
  • Jason Marquis took a no-hitter into the 7th inning Saturday (8/11/2012) in a 5-0 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates (see video). The 33-year-old San Diego Padre ended up with a 2-hit, complete-game shutout and has won five of his last six starts. Interestingly, the resurgent Marquis matched the Pirates’ offensive output by going 2-for-4 at the plate. His .276 batting average is third best this season among MLB pitchers with at least 20 at-bats.
  • Jeremy Schaffer, picked by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 18th round of this year’s amateur draft, already is putting up big numbers. The 22-year-old first baseman out of Tulane University leads the Appalachian rookie league with 41 RBIs in just 179 at-bats.
  • The Kevin Youkilis trade just got a little worse for the Boston Red Sox. Not only has Youk been hitting the ball a ton for the Chicago White Sox — since arriving in late June, he’s hit .252 with 10 HRs, 29 RBIs, a .371 on-base percentage, and an .875 OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage) in 139 at-bats — but his successor at third base, rookie phenom Will Middlebrooks, just suffered a season-ending wrist injury. Coincidence of the day? Middlebrooks’ temporary replacement is recently-acquired 3B Danny Valencia.
  • On Sunday (8/12/2012), Houston Astros prospect Ben Orloff celebrated his recent promotion to the Corpus Christi Hooks (AA) with a 5-for-5 performance. The 25-year-old shortstop doubled, tripled, and drove in 4 runs en route to a 20-9 thrashing of the Springfield Cardinals.
  • Four in one month? That’s how many Jews the Boston Red Sox recently added to their roster. The quartet included Valencia (see above), reliever Craig Breslow, C Ryan Lavarnway, and LF Ryan Kalish, who has since returned to AAA.
  • Just weeks after putting together a 3-HR game, Joc Pederson powered the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (A-advanced) to an 11-9 win over the Modesto Nuts. Pederson — ranked the Los Angeles Dodgers’ No.3 prospect by MLB.com — went 3-for-5 with a HR, two doubles, and 5 RBIs.
  • Keep a close eye on Jack Marder. Already ranked the Seattle Mariners’ No. 15 prospect in just his second year of pro ball, the High Desert Mavericks (A-advanced) catcher is batting .363 with 10 HRs, 24 doubles (including three on 7/31/2012), 4 triples, 55 RBIs, 16 stolen bases, and an OPS of 1.019 in only 273 at-bats. Marder is hitting a blistering .413 with runners in scoring position and recently added second base and the outfield to his fielding repertoire. It’s a shame that he may have too few at-bats to qualify for the California League batting crown.
  • As Jewish Baseball News correspondent Zev Ben Avigdor points out on his minor-league Twitter feed, New York Mets prospect Josh Satin is on fire. The 27-year-old first baseman has hit .444 (16-for-36) in the past 10 games, with 2 HRs, six doubles, 4 walks, and 10 RBIs.
  • Next season will mark the 40th anniversary of MLB’s designated hitter rule, and first-ever DH Ron Blomberg already is getting some love for his historic role.
  • Sam Fuld loves going horizontal for fly balls, but the Tampa Bay Ray won’t be leaping tall buildings anytime soon. “Super Sam” told the Tampa Bay Times he’s scared of heights, “mainly bridges, tops of buildings, mountains.” He also revealed his favorite television show (Seinfeld) and said he has a “man crush” on actor Matt Damon — another diminutive but athletic Ivy Leaguer.

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

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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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By Scott Barancik/Jewish Baseball News

Because Monday was Memorial Day, dontcha know:

  • Texas Rangers 2B Ian Kinsler broke out of a 27-game HR slump on Sunday (5/27/2012) with a HR, double, and four RBIs in a 12-6 triumph over the Texas Rangers. Despite the drought, Kinsler leads the majors with 41 runs scored. Sunday’s two-hit game was his fifth in six starts.
  • After an impressive debut with the Boston Red Sox in 2010, neck and shoulder surgery sidelined LF Ryan Kalish for the better part of the past year. But in the first game of a rehab stint with the Salem Red Sox (A-advanced) last week, the 24-year-old celebrated his return with a HR and a single, and yesterday (5/28/2012) he even stole a base. Way to go, Ryno.
  • Success has split up the power duo of San Diego Padres sluggers Nate Freiman and Cody Decker. While playing for the San Antonio Missions (AA) this season, the pair led the Texas League with 14 HRs apiece. Alas, Decker was promoted to AAA last week. So far he’s earned his keep: through 6 games and 22 at-bats, he is hitting .364 with a HR, three doubles, two RBIs, and an OPS of 1.098.
  • Ryan Sadowski led the Lotte Giants of the Korean Baseball Organization to victory Saturday (5/26/2012) with a 3-hit, complete-game performance. The 6’4″ hurler, whom Korean fans call “Dow,” is enjoying his third season with the team after completing one of the more unusual MLB careers. Called up in 2009 by the San Francisco Giants, the University of Florida alum promptly delivered two shutouts, followed by four less-impressive outings that led him back to AAA. Rather than try returning to The Show in 2010, Sadowski indulged his wanderlust by signing with the “other” Giants. At age 29, he’s young enough to revisit American baseball, but so far the iconoclastic Florida native is staying put. To learn more about this clever young man, see these 2011 and 2012 interviews.
  • It’s no fun being sent down to the minors, but Minnesota Twins 3B Danny Valencia is making the best of an opportunity to retool his mechanics. The 27-year-old started out slow with the Rochester Red Wings (AAA) but has hit .325 with 2 HRs and 9 RBIs in his past 10 games.
  • Second-year player Jack Marder of the High Desert Mavericks (A-advanced) is tearing up the California League. The Seattle Mariners prospect ranks among league leaders with a .368 batting average (2nd), .413 on-base percentage (3rd), and .566 slugging percentage (7th), to go along with 4 HRs and 24 RBIs in 136 at-bats. On Sunday (5/27/2012), Marder’s two-run single with two outs in the 12th inning earned the Mavericks a 3-2 win over the Modesto Nuts.
  • Released last week by the Minnesota Twins, P Jason Marquis is a free agent. Could the Twins’ loss be Team Israel’s gain?
  • Tampa Bay Rays OF Sam Fuld may be on the disabled list, but that didn’t stop him from appearing as a sabermetrics expert on a recent Rays broadcast. The Stanford alum is a former STATS Inc. intern who applied for the position after reading Michael Lewis’ book Moneyball.
  • And now our favorite headline of the week, from the San Francisco Chronicle: All Eyes are on Ryan Braun’s Groin. San Francisco’s reputation notwithstanding, the headline concerned a recent injury suffered by the reigning N.L. MVP.
Have any good news about Jewish athletes? Send it to sbarancik@jewishbaseballnews.com.

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By Scott Barancik/Jewish Baseball News

My 8-year-old says Mondays are among her favorite days of the week because she has ‘running club’ after school. For the rest of humanity, Mondays can be hellish. May these tidbits make your day a little easier:

  1. Washington Nationals prospect Danny Rosenbaum recently was named the Eastern League’s player of the week, and it’s no surprise why. Although the 24-year-old Harrisburg Senators (AA) starter barely registers a blip on Baseball America’s list of top Nationals prospects, he’s 3-0 with a 0.94 ERA and two shutouts this season and has struck out 18 batters while walking just two. Rosenbaum is adept at getting players to ground out. When he blanked the Altoona Curve last week, a local newspaper said Curve batters spent more time in the sand than former Baywatch star David Hasselhoff. If he continues to excel — Jewish Baseball News named him its top minor-league starter last year — Rosenbaum could be called-up to the Majors this September. Said Washington Nationals director of player development Doug Harris to the Washington Post: “We think he’s a major-league pitcher, without a doubt.”
  2. In baseball, pitchers have a reputation for being introspective thinkers, engineers of their own mechanics. But Philadelphia Phillies reliever Michael Schwimer takes the cake. In an interview with FanGraphs — the chosen website for those who prefer here.
  3. Not every Jewish player is so left-brained. Baltimore Orioles prospect Tyler Kolodny is known more for turning a wet tarp into a slip-and-slide, doing full splits to snare balls tossed in the dirt, and cutting-up for his teammates. See the full story here.
  4. San Diego Padres prospect Nate Freiman is on another power-trip this season. After hitting 22 HRs and driving in 111 runs last year — good enough to earn him an honorable mention in Jewish Baseball News’ most valuable minor-league player award — the 6’7″ first baseman was moved up to AA ball, where he continues to batter the rawhide. Freiman leads the Texas League with 9 HRs and ranks 3rd in RBIs (18), eighth in batting average (.313), and 13th in slugging percentage (.699).
  5. Also excelling early in 2012 is Arizona Diamondbacks prospect Jack Marder. Now in his second season with the High Desert Mavericks (High-A), he ranks 4th among California League players in batting average (.360), doubles (7/tie), and runs (18/tie), and  is tied for 7th in RBIs (13).
  6. Research by Jewish Baseball News contributor Jack W. shows just how good today’s Jewish MLB stars are. Milwaukee Brewers RF Ryan Braun has the second-best career fielding percentage among left fielders since the statistic debuted in 1954. Among active players, the N.L.’s reigning Most Valuable Player ranks 1st in fielding percentage, 4th in slugging percentage, 9th in OPS (slugging percentage plus on-base percentage), and 10th in batting average. Texas Rangers 2B Ian Kinsler ranks 1st among active second basemen in range factor per game and ranks 6th in career stolen-base percentage of any player since 1951. Boston Red Sox 3B/1B Kevin Youkilis ranks 2nd among active first basemen in career fielding percentage and 13th among all active players in career on-base percentage.
  7. Youkilis is no slouch when it comes to recognizability, but he recently married into New England royalty when he wed the sister of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. Does that make him Julie Brady’s Giselle Bundchen? If you’ve ever seen Youk’s mug, you’d know he was no supermodel. But definitely a super guy. No word whether a Rabbi presided over the ceremony, though we kind of doubt it.
Have any good news about Jewish athletes and teams? E-mail them to sbarancik@jewishbaseballnews.com.

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JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — A total of 10 Jewish ballplayers were selected in the 2011 amateur draft, one more than we last reported. So where are they playing, and how well?

Here, in draft order, are the 10 players, their minor-league assignments, and their performance at this early date:

  1. Lenny Linsky, P (Tampa Bay Rays: 2nd round, 89th pick overall). Playing for the “A-short season” Hudson Valley Renegades, where, in his only appearance, he recorded two strikeouts and two walks over one inning.
  2. Adam Ehrlich, C (St. Louis Cardinals: 6th round, 200th pick overall). Playing for the rookie-league GCL Cardinals, where he is hitting .250/.400/.458 (batting average/on-base percentage/slugging percentage) with 1 HR and 4 RBIS in 24 at-bats.
  3. Nick Rickles, C (Oakland A’s: 14th round, 436th overall). After playing three games for the rookie-league AZL Athletics, Rickles was sent to the “A-short season” Vermont Lake Monsters. Overall, he is hitting .303/.425/.485 with 2 doubles, 2 triples, and 4 RBIs in 33 at-bats.
  4. Jack Marder, C (Seattle Mariners: 16th round, 483rd overall). Unsigned.
  5. Zach Borenstein, OF/3B (Los Angeles Angels: 23rd round, 705th overall). Playing for the rookie-league AZL Athletics, where he is hitting .270/.372/.459 with 2 triples, 1 HR, and 5 RBIs in 37 at-bats.
  6. David Colvin, P (Seattle Mariners: 27th round, 813rd overall). Playing for the rookie-league Pulaski Mariners, where he is 0-1 but has a 0.00 ERA, 9 strikeouts, and 3 walks over 9 innings.
  7. Max Perlman, P (Oakland A’s: 35th round, 1,066th overall). Playing for the AZL Athletics with fellow Jewish draftee Nick Rickles, Perlman is 1-2 with a 4.76 ERA, 19 strikeouts, and 4 walks over 17 innings.
  8. Corey Baker, P (St. Louis Cardinals: 49th round, 1,490th overall). Playing for the “A-short season” Batavia Muckdogs, where he is 1-1 with a 3.65 ERA, 6 strikeouts, and 1 walk over 12-and-one-third innings.
  9. Jadd Schmeltzer, P (Boston Red Sox: 49th round, 1,492nd overall). Playing for the rookie-league GCL Red Sox, where he is 0-2 with a 3.24 ERA, 4 strikeouts, and 4 walks over 8-and-one-third innings.
  10. Benny Sosnick, 2B (San Francisco Giants: 49th round, 1,497th overall). Unsigned.

Nine of the 10 draftees were identified in prior Jewish Baseball News articles (one, two, three). The latest addition, thanks to Jewish Sports Review, is Adam Ehrlich.

Adam Ehrlich

The second-highest Jewish draft pick last month, Ehrlich was one of just two Jews drafted out of high school. He is a 2011 graduate of Campbell Hall H.S., an Episcopal school in North Hollywood, Calif., where he hit .566 with 5 HRs and 49 RBIs as a senior. Ehrlich had signed a letter-of-intent to play at Loyola Marymount University.

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JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — The running count of Jews chosen in the 2011 MLB draft has reached 8.

Last week we reported that at least four of the 1,500 players selected in the three-day amateur draft were Jewish. But thanks to help from Jewish Baseball News reader Dan Cooper, we have identified 4 more. They are:

http://www.gohatters.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=14600&ATCLID=3685622Nick Rickles (Oakland A’s: 14th round, 436th overall pick). A 6’3″ catcher who just completed his junior year at Stetson University, the Loxahatchee, Fla., native led his team in batting average (.347/tied), HRs (12), doubles (20), and slugging percentage (.600) in 2011. Rickles, named a second-team All-American by Baseball America, struck out just 10 times in 245 at-bats — giving him more HRs than strikeouts — while drawing 25 walks. He was the 7th toughest batter to strike out in NCAA/Division I play this year. According to this article, he was “expected to go 10 rounds higher and might be tough to sign in this round.” 

http://www.goducks.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=500&ATCLID=204836128Jack Marder (Seattle Mariners: 16th round, 483rd overall). A 6’0″ catcher (and converted shortstop) who just completed his sophomore year at the University of Oregon, the Calabasas, Calif., native showed good speed in 2011 (10 stolen bases in 13 attempts) but only modest success at the plate, hitting .209 with 2 HRs, 19 RBIs, and a .360 on-base percentage.

http://www.nesn.com/2010/07/harvard-pitcher-max-perlman-delivers-stellar-performance-in-cape-league-allstar-game.htmlHarvard University may have compiled a miserable 9-36 record in 2011, but that didn’t stop Max Perlman (Oakland A’s: 35th round, 1,066th overall pick) from excelling. A 6’7″ starting pitcher who just graduated from Harvard University, the Longwood, Fla., native missed most of his sophomore and junior seasons with an elbow injury (and Tommy John surgery) but struck gold during his senior year, leading all Ivy Leaguers with an 1.80 ERA, holding opposing teams to a .213 batting average, and recording more strikeouts (55) than hits surrendered (46). (See local article on him.)

Jadd Schmeltzer (Boston Red Sox: 49th round, 1,492nd pick). A 6’5″ starting pitcher who just graduated from Cornell University, the Tappan, N.Y., native went 3-4 with a 3.63 ERA and was named Pitcher of the Year on a team that finished 2011 with a 10-30 record.

Details on our four previously-identified players (listed below) are available here:

  • Lenny Linsky (Tampa Bay Rays: 2nd round, 89th overall pick)
  • Zach Borenstein (Los Angeles Angels: 23rd round, 705th overall)
  • David Colvin (Seattle Mariners: 27th round, 813rd overall pick)
  • Benny Sosnick (San Francisco Giants: 49th round, 1,497th pick)

For updates on the 2011 draft, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Google Reader.

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