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Browsing Posts tagged James Rapoport

JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — Middle East politics got you down? Strike out again at the company softball game?

Cheer up! Life is good for Jewish baseball fans these days. Here are 12 reasons to smile:

  1. So far this season, MLB Jews are out-hitting their peers .266 to .257, and out-slugging them .460 to .400.
  2. At least 59 Jews currently play major- or minor-league ball, with many more playing in independent leagues or overseas. And the list is growing.
  3. The topic of Judaism probably didn’t come up last week when sports radio celeb Jim Rome interviewed former outfielder Shawn Green about his new book, The Way of Baseball: Finding Stillness at 95 mph. And while some listeners may have known Green is Jewish, few would have guessed that Rome is, too.
  4. For the first time, Israel is being given a chance to compete in the World Baseball Classic. At least half a dozen current or former American pros have publicly expressed interest in playing for or coaching Team Israel in the 2012 competition, including Jewish home-run king Shawn Green, Texas Rangers 2B Ian Kinsler, Milwaukee Brewers LF Ryan Braun (whose father was born in Israel), and St. Louis Cardinals prospect Charlie Cutler.
  5. Speaking of Israel, last week the country hosted a qualifying tournament for the 2012 European Championship — and narrowly missed winning the tourney itself. Team Israel made it to the finals against Great Britain but lost the series 2 games to 1. Particularly impressive was 32-year-old Shlomo Lipetz, an Israeli native and New York resident who gave up just one earned run in 16.33 innings during the tournament while striking out 18 batters and walking three.
  6. Coming off an injury-laden season in which he missed a third of his team’s games, Boston Red Sox 3B Kevin Youkilis (.275/16 hr/76 rbi) is once again among A.L. leaders in multiple categories. Youk is ranked 5th in on-base percentage (.389), 7th in RBIs (76/tie), 8th in doubles (28/tie), and 10th in wins above replacement (4.1 wins/tie), a measure of a player’s total offensive and defensive contributions to his team. Youkilis has been typically fearless (or perhaps nuts) at the plate, where he ranks 2nd in times hit by pitch, with 12. And despite having to switch back from first base to third this season, he’s 2nd among A.L. third basemen in putouts (73) and 3rd in fielding percentage (.968).
  7. The St. Louis Jewish Light published an article last week about 3 of the 4 Jews who play on the Springfield Cardinals, the St. Louis Cardinals’ “AA” team: C Charlie Cutler (see above), P David Kopp, and P Scott Schneider. (The fourth Jewish player for Springfield, CF James Rapoport, arrived after the article was written.) Cutler, who told the Light he’d “love to play for Israel” in the World Baseball Classic, has made the most of an injury-shortened season. In just 143 at-bats he’s hitting .364 with 4 HRs, 27 RBIs, a .423 on-base percentage, and a .503 slugging percentage.
  8. Milwaukee Brewers LF Ryan Braun (.322/21 hr/73 rbi) is enjoying one of the best seasons of his 5-year career. He has yet to make an error in the field for the first-place Brewers; ranks 2nd among N.L. players in batting average (.322) and power-speed combination; 3rd in wins above replacement (5.1), slugging percentage (.585), total bases (213), and extra-base hits (50); 5th in RBIs (72); 6th in runs scored (68) and on-base percentage (.394); 7th in HRs (21); and 10th in doubles (26). Braun’s 19 stolen bases are one shy of a career best, and he’s one of few players this season with a legitimate shot at joining the “30-30” club — players with 30-plus HRs and stolen bases in a single year.
  9. Most minor-leaguers see their performance dip after being promoted to a higher league, but not C Ryan Lavarnway. The Boston Red Sox prospect and Yale philosophy alum has been on fire since moving up from “AA” Portland to “AAA” Pawtucket mid-season, where he is batting .343 (versus .284 in Portland) with 13 HRs, 16 doubles, and 42 RBIs in just 169 at-bats, along with a .425 on-base percentage and .669 slugging percentage.
  10. ESPN Boston recently published a terrific article on Lavarnway and fellow Red Sox prospect Matt Kramer, a former catcher and Ivy League rival (Harvard) who was released by the Atlanta Braves franchise last year and is trying to reinvent himself as a pitcher. Viewing the statistics on Kramer’s growing pains is a curious joy. In 6 games and 5 total innings with Boston’s rookie-league team, the St. Louis native has faced 28 batters without giving up a single hit. However, he has walked 11 opponents, hit 3 more, struck out none, and recorded a 5.40 ERA. Who wouldn’t want to go watch this kid pitch?
  11. Just to prove you never know who’s Jewish: the most recent Jewish player to be signed by a major-league club, Tampa Bay Rays recruit Dave Laufer, attended Jesuit-founded Boston College. And he did so after graduating from Christian Brothers Academy. (Thanks to Jewish Baseball News contributor Bill Ressler for the tip on Laufer’s hiring.)
  12. Can you imagine an MLB team composed entirely of Jewish players? A fiction writer named Ross Ufberg can. The Jewish Daily Forward is now publishing weekly installments of his story about the Lions of Zion, an N.L. team playing in 1933. Here are links to chapters one and two.

— Scott Barancik, Editor

Jewish Baseball News

August 3, 2011

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Our 2011 Spring Training Awards

JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — At least 19 Jews got playing time during Spring Training 2011, including five pitchers and 14 position players.

Here are our awards honoring the best, worst, and most surprising performances:

Best All-Around Offense: Ian Kinsler. The Texas Rangers 2B didn’t look like the same player who sat out nearly 100 games last season with injuries. Kinsler, 28, led all Jewish batters with 7 doubles, 5 HRs, 13 RBIs (tied), and a .389 on-base percentage. Although Jewish batters as a group struck out way more than they walked (94 vs. 41), Kinsler was one of just two players who didn’t, matching his 5 Ks with 5 BBs.

Best All-Around Offense (runner-up): Ryan Braun. The Milwaukee Brewers LF batted only 40 times, but that didn’t stop him from hitting 4 HRs, driving in 11 runs, and leading all Jews with 15 runs scored, a .325 batting average, .700 slugging percentage, and 1.072 OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage).

Best All-Around Offense (honorable mention): Ike Davis. The New York Mets 1B pretty much matched the productivity of his 2010 rookie season, hitting .273 with 3 HRs, 13 RBIs (tied/1st), and a .344 on-base percentage.

Breakout offense: Sam Fuld. At 29, you can’t quite call the Tampa Bay Rays CF an up-and-comer. But Fuld made the most of what turned out to be his best chance in years to make an opening-day roster, hitting .277 with 1 HR, 5 extra-base hits, 8 RBIs, and 4 stolen bases. And he got his wish: a seat on the Rays’ bench.

Most disappointing offense: Kevin Youkilis. Whatever you chalk it up to — bad thumb, the distraction of switching from 1B to 3B, etc. — the Boston Red Sox stalwart, normally an on-base machine, struggled at the plate this Spring. Youk hit  just .175 with no HRs, 4 RBIs, a Jew-high 15 strikeouts, and just 4 walks. Teammate Ryan Kalish was a close second in this category, hitting .235 with 0 HRs and one lonely RBI.

Weirdest stats: Ben Guez. The Detroit Tigers CF has yet to play a regular-season MLB game and saw only limited playing time in Spring Training, getting 12 plate appearances and 7 at-bats. But oh, what Guez did with them. The 24-year-old singled twice, doubled once, and walked five times, good enough for a .429 batting average and .667 on-base percentage.

Nicest surprise: John Grabow. After a dismal 2010 in which he went 1-3 with a 7.36 ERA and “held” opposing batters to a .321 average, the Chicago Cubs reliever must have grown tired of being Public Enemy #1 in the Windy City. How else can you explain Grabow’s 2.57 ERA in Spring Training? A close second to Grabow in this awards category is Washington Nationals starter Jason Marquis, who went 2-9 with a 6.60 ERA in an injury-plagued 2010 season but finished Spring Training with a 1-1 record and a 4.02 ERA.

Worst surprise: Craig Breslow. Arguably the only Jewish MLB pitcher who didn’t embarrass himself last year, the Oakland A’s reliever went 4-4 in 2010 with a 3.01 ERA, holding opposing batters to a meek .194 batting average. But Breslow had an awful spring, with an 11.25 ERA and an opposing-hitters batting average of, believe it or not, .500. The saving grace? We’re only talking about 5 appearances and 4 innings pitched, not a lot to go on. Still, the Freaky Friday switcheroo Breslow and Grabow did this Spring has got us mighty confused.

Here are the final 2011 Spring Training stats for position players:

TEAM POS AB R 2B HR RBI AVG OBP
James Rapoport STL CF 1 0 0 0 0 1.000 1.000
Ben Guez DET CF 7 0 1 0 0 .429 .667
Ryan Lavarnway BOS CF 9 1 1 1 3 .333 .333
Josh Satin NYM 2B 6 1 0 1 2 .333 .333
Ryan Braun MIL LF 40 15 3 4 11 .325 .372
Danny Valencia MIN 3B 65 6 6 1 8 .308 .333
Ian Kinsler TEX 2B 63 14 7 5 13 .302 .389
Sam Fuld TB CF 47 9 3 1 8 .277 .333
Ike Davis NYM 1B 55 5 4 3 13 .273 .344
Gabe Kapler LAD RF 45 6 3 1 7 .244 .277
Ryan Kalish TB LF 51 4 2 0 1 .235 .316
Jake Lemmerman LAD SS 5 1 1 0 0 .200 .200
Kevin Youkilis BOS 3B 57 3 2 0 4 .175 .238
Jason Kipnis CLE 2B 18 3 0 1 2 .167 .250
TOTAL 469 68 33 18 72 .269

And the final 2011 stats for pitchers:

TEAM W L ERA G IP H BB SO
John Grabow CHC 0 0 2.57 7 7.0 8 3 4
Jason Marquis WSH 1 1 4.02 4 15.2 15 6 9
Aaron Poreda SD 0 1 6.75 3 2.2 2 5 1
Michael Schwimer PHI 0 0 7.20 4 5.0 5 2 4
Craig Breslow OAK 0 0 11.25 5 4.0 9 2 2
TOTAL 1 2 5.35

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TEAM W L ERA G IP H BB SO
John Grabow CHC 0 0 2.57 7 7 8 3 4
Jason Marquis WSH 1 1 4.02 4 15.2 15 6 9
Aaron Poreda SD 0 1 6.75 3 2.2 2 5 1
Michael Schwimer PHI 0 0 7.20 4 5 5 2 4
Craig Breslow OAK 0 0 11.25 5 4 9 2 2
TOTAL 1 2 5.35
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Yom Kippur players shine, shrink

JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — A number of Jews played baseball on Friday (9/17/2010), the eve of Yom Kippur. And while some played as if they were being punished, others performed quite well:

  • SP Jason Marquis of the Washington Nationals may wish he hadn’t agreed to pitch against the Philadelphia Phillies. He failed to complete the first inning, giving up 6 earned runs on 6 hits and a walk while retiring just one batter in a 9-1 defeat. It didn’t help that a likely double-play ball struck the second-base umpire, allowing a run to score and keeping Philadelphia’s at-bat alive.
  • LF Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers went 3/5 with 2 doubles and 2 runs scored in a 3-0 win over the San Francisco Giants.
  • Rookie 3B Danny Valencia of the Minnesota Twins had the opposite experience, going 2/3 with his 3rd major-league HR in a 3-1 loss to the Oakland A’s. Oakland RP Craig Breslow pitched 1-and-1/3 scoreless innings to earn his 16th hold of the season.
  • Two Jewish major-leaguers — 2B Ian Kinsler of the Texas Rangers and rookie 1B Ike Davis of the New York Mets — both went 0/3. Davis had gotten press coverage a day earlier by saying that he was leaving the decision about playing on Yom Kippur to his mother, who lost family in the Holocaust.

In minor-league championship games:

  • CF James Rapoport of the “AAA” Memphis Redbirds (St. Louis Cardinals) hit 3 singles and stole 2 bases but couldn’t prevent a 10-6, extra-inning loss to the Tacoma Rainiers. Tacoma swept the Pacific League championship series, 3-0.
  • RP Josh Zeid of the “A” Lakewood BlueClaws (Philadelphia Phillies) did not play in Friday’s 2-1 win over the Greenville Drive. But on Thursday (9/16/2010), he pitched 3 perfect innings in the BlueClaws’ 6-1 win, striking out four. Lakewood leads the South Atlantic League championship series 2-1.
  • The “Rookie-league” Ogden Raptors (Los Angeles Dodgers) didn’t play Friday because they lost the Pioneer League championship series the day before. RP Andrew Pevsner provided one of Ogden’s few bright spots in Thursday’s 14-3 loss to the Helena Brewers, pitching 3-and-1/3 perfect innings and striking out 4. Teammate Jake Lemmerman went 1/5 and scored a run.

And now, your Jewish Baseball News Star of the Day:

  • 2B Jason Kipnis of the “AAA” Columbus Clippers (Cleveland Indians) hit for the cycle — single, double, triple and HR — en route to a 13-2 win over the Durham Bulls and Columbus’ first International League championship in 14 years. The 23-year-old was called-up to Columbus for the post-season after spending the regular season on Cleveland’s “AA” and “A-advanced” clubs. He batted .389 during the 4-game championship series while playing in the DH role.

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JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — Here are your Players of the Day for Wednesday (9/15/2010):

It was a productive day for the four MLB’ers who took the field yesterday. The group went a combined 7/14 with 2 HRs, 8 RBIs and 4 runs scored, and all four players’ teams won:

  • LF Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers went 2/5 with his 22nd HR and a game-tying, 9th-inning double in an 8-6 victory over the Houston Astros. It was the 4th straight two-hit game for Braun, who raised his average to .306 for the first time since June 29.
  • 2B Ian Kinsler of the Texas Rangers went 2/3 with a 2-run HR in an 11-7 victory over the Detroit Tigers. A year after joining baseball’s elite “30/30” club — he had 31 HRs and 31 stolen bases in 2009 — Kinsler has just 9 HRs and 13 stolen bases. But two lengthy stints on the disabled list in 2010 have shortened the 28-year-old’s season. Meanwhile, he has boosted his batting average from .253 in 2009 to .299 this season.
  • Rookie 3B Danny Valencia of the Minnesota Twins went 2/4 with a double and a sacrifice fly in a 9-3 win over the Chicago White Sox. The 25-year-old also saved a run by forcing out a runner at home plate. Valencia leads all A.L. rookies with a .333 batting average and is a top contender for Rookie of the Year.
  • Rookie 1B Ike Davis of the New York Mets went 1/3 with an RBI double in an 8-7, come-from-behind win over the Pittsburgh Pirates. A 1st-round pick (18th overall) in the 2008 amateur draft, Davis is batting .261 with 31 doubles, 2nd-most among N.L. rookies.

In minor-league championship games:

  • Playing in the DH role, 2B Jason Kipnis of the “AAA” Columbus Clippers went 1/4 with a double in a 4-0 triumph over the Durham Bulls. Columbus leads the five-game International League championship series 2-0.
  • CF James Rapoport of the “AAA” Memphis Redbirds (St. Louis Cardinals) went 1/4 with a sacrifice fly in an 11-7 loss to the Tacoma Rainiers. Tacoma leads the five-game Pacific Coast League championship series 2-0.
  • SP Jason Knapp of the “A” Lake County Captains (Cleveland Indians) struck out 6 batters over 3 and 1/3 innings and gave up 2 earned runs in a 9-6 win over the Clinton LumberKings. Lake County leads the five-game Midwest League championship series 1-0.

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Jews playing key role in minor-league playoffs

JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — How are Jewish players doing in the minor-league playoffs? Here is an overview, starting with players whose teams are still in the mix, and followed by those already celebrating victory or recently ousted.

Fighting for a championship

The Columbus Clippers (Cleveland Indians) are fighting for the International League (AAA) championship, and 2B Jason Kipnis is doing his best to help. Called up Tuesday (9/14/2010) from the “AA” Akron Aeros, the 23-year-old contributed immediately, going 2/4 with a walk and 3 runs scored in an 18-5, Game 1 victory over the Durham Bulls.

The Memphis Redbirds (St. Louis Cardinals) lost Game 1 of the Pacific Coast League (AAA) championship series to the Tacoma Rainiers, 5-3. Memphis CF James Rapoport went 1/5 with a double in the loss. During a 1st-round sweep of the Oklahoma City RedHawks, he went a combined 7/11 with 2 RBIs, 2 walks and a stolen base.

Each of the two teams battling for the Carolina League (A-advanced) championship features a Jewish pitcher. In fact, one opened Game 1, while the other opened Game 2:

  • In Game 1 of the series (9/14/2010), SP Danny Rosenbaum of the Potomac Nationals (Washington Nationals) gave up 6 hits and 1 earned run over 4 and 1/3 innings in a 4-0 loss to the Winston-Salem Dash. Rosenbaum had a disastrous start earlier in the playoffs, giving up 7 earned runs over one inning in a 10-9 loss to the Frederick Keys (9/8/2010). (The Keys’ starter that night did slightly worse, giving up 8 runs, 6 of them earned, in just 2/3 of an inning.)
  • In Game 2 of the series (9/14/2010), SP Dylan Axelrod of the Winston-Salem Dash (Chicago White Sox) pitched well in a 5-3 loss to  Potomac, allowing two runs on just 3 hits and 1 walk over 7 innings while striking out 5. The defeat evened the series at 1-1. Earlier in the playoffs, Axelrod led Winston-Salem to a 2-0 victory over the Kinston Indians, allowing just two hits and 1 walk over 7 innings, while striking out 9 and retiring 19 batters in a row.

The Midwest League (A) championship series features yet another match-up between Jewish pitchers:

  • The Lake County Captains (Cleveland Indians) will open Game 1 of the series tonight (9/15/2010) with rookie Jason Knapp on the mound. The 20-year-old phenom was dominant in his only other playoff game, a 3-2 win over the West Michigan WhiteCaps (9/10/2010). In that game, Knapp gave up just two infield hits over 5 innings while striking out six and walking one.
  • Jason Markovitz will serve a relief role for the Clinton LumberKings (Seattle Mariners). So far he has pitched one scoreless inning in the playoffs.

The Lakewood BlueClaws (Philadelphia Phillies) are tied 1-1 with the Greenville Drive in the South Atlantic League (A) championship series. BlueClaws RP Josh Zeid pitched 3 perfect innings and struck out 4 en route to a 6-1 win in Game 2 (9/14/2010). In an earlier playoff series against the Hickory Crawdads, the 23-year-old pitched a scoreless inning in a 7-0 victory (9/8/2010), and then hit and walked the only 2 batters he faced in a 2-1 loss to the Crawdads (9/10/2010).

Two Jews are playing for the Ogden Raptors (Los Angeles Dodgers) for the Pioneer League (Rookie) championship, a 3-game series currently led 1-0 by the Orem Owlz:

  • SS Jake Lemmerman went 1/3 and drew a walk in the Raptors’ Game 1 loss to the Owlz, 3-2. The top Jewish pick in the 2010 draft (5th round, 172nd overall), Lemmerman is batting .231 in the playoffs but has a .444 on-base percentage and has scored 5 runs, tied for tops in the Pioneer League playoffs.
  • In two separate playoff appearances, including Tuesday’s loss, RP Andrew Pevsner struck out the only batter he faced. In a third outing he faced three batters and gave up a double, and was charged with an earned run when the next pitcher gave up a home run. Pevsner’s ERA for the playoffs is 6.75.

Already celebrating

The Tri-City Valley Cats (Houston Astros) swept the New York-Penn League (A-short season) championship over the Brooklyn Cyclones (New York Mets). One of the stars was Valley Cats IF Ben Orloff, who led the team with a .333 batting average in the playoffs and recently was named its 2010 Most Valuable Player. In Tuesday’s 5-2 finale (9/14/2010), Orloff went 2/5 and drove in a run.

Out of the running

Two Jewish players made it to the 1st round of the Texas League (AA) playoffs:

  • In his only playoff appearance, Springfield Cardinals (St. Louis Cardinals) SP David Kopp pitched 5 and 1/3 innings in a loss to the Northwest Arkansas Naturals (Kansas City Royals), giving up 5 hits and 2 earned runs. Springfield lost the series 3-2. Cardinals C Charlie Cutler did not play.
  • SP Richard Bleier of the Frisco RoughRiders (Texas Rangers) pitched 5 and 2/3 innings in a series-opening loss to the Midland RockHounds, giving up 3 earned runs on 7 hits. Midland won the series 3-1.

Two Jewish players made it to the 1st round of the Midwest League (A) playoffs:

  • 1B Nate Freiman of the Fort Wayne TinCaps (San Diego Padres) went 4/9 (.444) with 2 RBIs and drew 5 walks, raising his on-base percentage to .643. Fort Wayne lost the series 2-1 to the Great Lakes Loons.
  • 1B Casey Haerther of the Cedar Rapids Kernels (Los Angeles Angels) went 1/12 (.083) and struck out six times; his only hit was a double. Cedar Rapids lost the series 2-1 to the Clinton LumberKings.
  • RP Jason Novak of the Quad Cities River Bandits (St. Louis Cardinals) was on the disabled list and did not play.

We’ll keep you posted on the playoff picture.

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The minors’ best hitters

JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — For the Spring/Summer minor leagues, the 2010 season is over. So how did Jewish batters do?

According to Jewish Baseball News calculations, the 28 Jews who swung a bat in the minors this season — including several major-leaguers doing rehab stints — had a combined batting average of .280, along with 127 HRs and 834 RBIs.

A list of category leaders and laggards is shown below. But first, a couple clarifications:

  • Players marked with an asterisk played at two or more levels in 2010. Statistics shown for them are cumulative; the team shown is the one a player ended the season with.
  • To qualify for this list, a player must have had at least 300 plate appearances. (A total of 13 met the standard.)

Now, your category leaders.

HIGHEST BATTING AVERAGE

  • SS Jake Lemmerman, “rookie-league” Ogden Raptors (Los Angeles Dodgers) — .363
  • OF Adam Stern, “AAA” Nashville Sounds (Milwaukee Brewers) — .326
  • 2B Josh Satin, “AA” Binghamton Mets* (New York Mets) — .311

LOWEST BATTING AVERAGE

  • OF Ben Guez, “AAA” Toledo Mud Hens* (Detroit Tigers) — .249
  • C Charlie Cutler, “AA” Springfield Cardinals* (St. Louis Cardinals) — .260

MOST HOME RUNS

  • C Ryan Lavarnway, “AA” Portland Sea Dogs* (Boston Red Sox) — 22
  • 2B Jason Kipnis, “AA” Akron Aeros* (Cleveland Indians) — 16
  • 1B Nate Freiman, “A” Fort Wayne TinCaps (San Diego Padres) — 14

MOST TRIPLES

  • OF Sam Fuld, “AAA” Iowa Cubs (Chicago Cubs) — 9
  • 2B Jason Kipnis, “AA” Akron Aeros* (Cleveland Indians) — 8
  • CF James Rapoport, “AAA” Memphis Redbirds* (St. Louis Cardinals) — 4

MOST DOUBLES

  • 1B Nate Freiman, “A” Fort Wayne TinCaps (San Diego Padres) — 43
  • 2B Josh Satin, “AA” Binghamton Mets* (New York Mets) — 39
  • RF David Rubinstein, “A” West Virginia Power (Pittsburgh Pirates) — 37

MOST RBIs

  • C Ryan Lavarnway, “AA” Portland Sea Dogs* (Boston Red Sox) — 102
  • 1B Nate Freiman, “A” Fort Wayne TinCaps (San Diego Padres) — 84
  • 1B Casey Haerther, “A” Cedar Rapids Kernels (Los Angeles Angels) — 74
  • 2B Jason Kipnis, “AA” Akron Aeros* (Cleveland Indians) — 74
  • 2B Josh Satin, “AA” Binghamton Mets* (New York Mets) — 74

MOST WALKS

  • C Ryan Lavarnway, “AA” Portland Sea Dogs* (Boston Red Sox) — 70
  • 2B Josh Satin, “AA” Binghamton Mets* (New York Mets) — 66
  • OF Sam Fuld, “AAA” Iowa Cubs (Chicago Cubs) — 66

MOST STRIKEOUTS

  • 2B Josh Satin, “AA” Binghamton Mets* (New York Mets) — 121
  • 1B Nate Freiman, “A” Fort Wayne TinCaps (San Diego Padres) — 117
  • 2B Jason Kipnis, “AA” Akron Aeros* (Cleveland Indians) — 107

FEWEST STRIKEOUTS

  • C Charlie Cutler, “AA” Springfield Cardinals* (St. Louis Cardinals) — 33
  • OF Sam Fuld, “AAA” Iowa Cubs (Chicago Cubs) — 37
  • OF Adam Stern, “AAA” Nashville Sounds (Milwaukee Brewers) — 47

BEST WALK/STRIKEOUT RATIO

  • OF Sam Fuld, “AAA” Iowa Cubs (Chicago Cubs) — 1.78 (66/37)
  • C Charlie Cutler, “AA” Springfield Cardinals* (St. Louis Cardinals) — .97 (32/33)
  • 1B James Rapoport, “AAA” Memphis Redbirds* (St. Louis Cardinals) — .78 (54/69)

WORST WALK/STRIKEOUT RATIO

  • RF David Rubinstein, “A” West Virginia Power (Pittsburgh Pirates) — .33 (31/95)
  • 1B Robbie Widlansky, “AA” Bowie Baysox (Baltimore Orioles) — .37 (18/49)
  • OF Ben Guez, “AAA” Toledo Mud Hens* (Detroit Tigers) — .41 (37/91)

HIGHEST ON-BASE PERCENTAGE

  • SS Jake Lemmerman, “rookie-league” Ogden Raptors (Los Angeles Dodgers) — .432
  • 2B Josh Satin, “AA” Binghamton Mets* (New York Mets) — .399
  • OF Adam Stern, “AAA” Nashville Sounds (Milwaukee Brewers) — .399

HIGHEST SLUGGING PERCENTAGE

  • SS Jake Lemmerman, “rookie-league” Ogden Raptors (Los Angeles Dodgers) — .610
  • 2B Jason Kipnis, “AA” Akron Aeros* (Cleveland Indians) — .492
  • C Ryan Lavarnway, “AA” Portland Sea Dogs* (Boston Red Sox) — .489

HIGHEST OPS (OBP+SLUGGING)

  • SS Jake Lemmerman, “rookie-league” Ogden Raptors (Los Angeles Dodgers) — 1.042
  • C Ryan Lavarnway, “AA” Portland Sea Dogs* (Boston Red Sox) — .882
  • 2B Jason Kipnis, “AA” Akron Aeros* (Cleveland Indians) — .878

MOST STOLEN BASES

  • RF David Rubinstein, “A” West Virginia Power (Pittsburgh Pirates) — 23
  • OF Sam Fuld, “AAA” Iowa Cubs (Chicago Cubs) — 21
  • OF Ben Guez, “AAA” Toledo Mud Hens* (Detroit Tigers) — 14

Up next: the best minor-league pitchers of 2010.

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JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — Here are your Players of the Day for Saturday (9/4/2010):

Two MLB Jews went long:

  • Rookie 1B Ike Davis of the New York Mets went 2/4 and hit his first HR since July 29 in a 5-3 loss to the Chicago Cubs. Davis singled in the 9th inning but the Mets failed to rally. The 23-year-old son of former MLB reliever Ron Davis is tied for 2nd among N.L. rookies in HRs (16) and is 3rd in RBIs (58) and runs scored (58). He is batting .251 with an on-base percentage of .339.
  • In his second game back after more than a month on the disabled list, 2B Ian Kinsler of the Texas Rangers went 2/4 with a solo HR in a 12-4 loss to the Chicago White Sox. Kinsler is batting .300 with 7 HRs, 39 RBIs, 10 stolen bases and a .387 on-base percentage.

In the minors:

  • OF Ben Guez of the “AAA” Toledo Mud Hens (Detroit Tigers) hit an RBI single and a sacrifice fly in a 6-4 victory over the Columbus Clippers. A 19th-round selection in the 2008 amateur draft, Guez  is batting .249 with 9 HRs and 32 RBIs since being promoted to “AAA” mid-season. He has hit just .162 in his past 10 games.
  • CF James Rapoport of the “AAA” Memphis Redbirds (St. Louis Cardinals) went 1/3 with a 2-run single in an 8-5 loss to the Iowa Cubs. Rapoport, 25, is batting .270 with 2 HRs and 34 RBIs since being promoted to “AAA” earlier this season. He has 4 triples and 8 stolen bases for the Redbirds.
  • 1B Casey Haerther of the “A” Cedar Rapids Kernels (Los Angeles Angels) hit a double, a sacrifice fly, and the game-winning single in a 5-4 win over the Beloit Snappers. A 5th-round pick in the 2009 amateur draft (171st overall), Haerther is batting .304 with 7 HRs, 25 doubles, 70 RBIs and 10 stolen bases.
  • SP Joshua Zeid of the “A” Lakewood BlueClaws (Philadelphia Phillies) pitched 2 perfect innings and struck out 4 of the 6 batters he faced in a 3-0 win over the Kannapolis Intimidators. Zeid earned a save as Lakewood held the Intimidators to two hits. A 23-year-old who was selected in the 10th round of the 2009 draft, Zeid is 8-4 with a 2.93 ERA and 8 saves. He has 111 strikeouts and 27 walks.

And now, your Jewish Star of the Day:

  • SS Jake Lemmerman of the rookie-league Ogden Raptors (Los Angeles Dodgers) hit an RBI single and his fifth HR in the past 5 games as the Raptors trounced the Casper Ghosts, 15-4. The top Jewish pick in the 2010 draft (5th round, 172nd overall), Lemmerman leads the Rookie Pioneer League in doubles (24) and runs scored (68); ranks 2nd in batting average (.367), on-base percentage (.434), slugging percentage (.622) and OPS (1.058); and ranks 4th in HRs (12).

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JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — Here are your Players of the Day for Friday (8/20/2010):

Four MLB players had two hits apiece…

  • C Brad Ausmus of the Los Angeles Dodgers had his best day at the plate since returning from the disabled list, going 2/3 with two singles in a 3-1 loss to the Cincinnati Reds. A 41-year-old enjoying his 18th MLB season, Ausmus is batting .209 in 43 at-bats.
  • 1B Ike Davis of the New York Mets went 2/4 with two singles and an RBI in a 7-2 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates. Davis, a rookie, is batting .243 and ranks 2nd on the Mets in home runs (15), RBIs (56) and strikeouts (106), and 4th in runs scored (51). He has struggled of late, batting just .143 over his past 10 games.
  • LF Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers went 2/4 with two walks and two RBIs in a 10-6 victory over the San Diego Padres. A 26-year-old in his fourth major-league season, Braun has hit .353 in his last 10 games and .292 for the season.
  • Rookie 3B Danny Valencia of the Minnesota Twins continues to impress, going 2/4 in a 7-2 victory over the Los Angeles Angels. A mid-season call-up from “AAA” ball, Valencia is batting .335, tops among AL rookies.

One MLB pitcher shined…

  • RP Craig Breslow of the Oakland A’s pitched a scoreless 9th inning to preserve a 5-4 win over the Tampa Bay Rays, striking out 2 of the three batters he faced. It was just the third career save for Breslow, who typically is used in a middle-relief role. The 30-year-old Yale Alum is 4-3 with a 3.13 ERA. He has 55 strikeouts in 54 2/3 innings and has held opposing hitters to a .201 batting average.

And in the minors…

  • CF James Rapoport of the “AAA” Memphis Redbirds (St. Louis Cardinals) went 2/5 with 2 walks and 2 RBIs in a 6-3 win over the Salt Lake Bees. Rapoport, 25, is batting .264 with 2 HRs and 29 RBIs since being promoted to “AAA” earlier this season. He has 4 triples and 8 stolen bases for the Redbirds.
  • SP Jason Knapp of the “A” Lake County Captains (Cleveland Indians) pitched 4 innings of no-hit ball, struck out 7 batters and walked two in a 5-3 win over the Bowling Green Hot Rods.

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POTD: Braun, Rapoport, Zeid

JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — Here are your Players of the Day for Sunday, August 8, 2010:

  • LF Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers went 2/4 with a walk, 2 RBIs and three runs scored in an 11-6 win over the Houston Astros. A 26-year-old in his fourth major-league season, Braun is on pace to hit career lows in home runs and RBIs this season. In the past 10 games he’s hit .425 with 5 RBIs and 9 runs scored.
  • CF James Rapoport of the “AAA” Memphis Redbirds (St. Louis Cardinals) went 3/4 with a walk and one run scored in an 8-2 loss to the Reno Aces. Rapoport, 25, is batting .263 since being promoted to “AAA” ball earlier this season but .359 in August.
  • SP Josh Zeid of the “A” Lakewood BlueClaws (Philadelphia Phillies) gave up just three hits and one run in a 5-4 loss to the West Virginia Power. Zeid, a 23-year-old in just his second year of minor-league ball, struck out 9 and walked two in seven innings, but BlueClaws reliever Luke Wertz gave up four runs in the 9th to lose the game. Zeid has an impressive 84 strikeoutsin 82 and 2/3 innings this season, along with 23 walks.

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POTD: Valencia, Kopp, Rapoport, Satin

JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — Here are your players of the day for Sun., August 1, 2010:

  • 3B Danny Valencia of the Minnesota Twins went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI in a 4-0 win over the Seattle Mariners, the Twins’ 8th-straight victory. The 25-year-old rookie is batting .388 for the season (103 at-bats) and .486 over his last 10 games.
  • LF James Rapoport of the Memphis Redbirds (AAA) went 2-for-5 with a triple and an RBI in a 12-6 victory over the Omaha Royals. Rapoport, who majored in public policy at Stanford Univ., is batting .253 since being called up to “AAA” ball.
  • 2B Joshua Satin of the Binghamton Mets (AA) went 2-for-5 with an RBI and two runs scored in an 8-3 win over the Erie SeaWolves. Since being promoted from the “A+) St. Lucie Mets, the 25-year-old UC-Berkeley product is batting .311 with one home run and 22 RBIs in 167 at-bats, as well as a .408 on-base percentage.
  • SP David Kopp of the Springfield Cardinals (AA) pitched a beauty of a game, giving up just one run, four hits and no walks in seven innings against the New Arkansas Naturals. But the Cards managed just two hits in a 1-o loss. Kopp — who went 0-and-5 during a mid-season stint with the Memphis Redbirds (AAA) — is 8-3 with a 2.92 ERA for Springfield.

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Minor-league roundup

JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — The latest news on minor-league players:

  • Trenton Thunder (AA/New York Yankees) SP Jeremy Bleich is out for the season with a shoulder injury. Bleich finished the season with a 3-2 record and 4.79 ERA, holding opposing batters to a .236 average.
  • Springfield Cardinals (AA/St. Louis Cardinals) SP David Kopp continues to enjoy a strong season, with a 6-1 record, 3.00 ERA and 39 strikeouts in 57 innings. He’s scheduled to pitch game two of today’s (6/6/2010) doubleheader against the San Antonio Missions. Kopp, a 6’3″, 205 lb. right-hander from Margate, Fla., is one of three Jews in the St. Louis Cardinals’ farm system, along with C Charles Cutler (AA) and CF James Rapoport (AAA).
  • Florida International University sophomore Garrett Wittels extended his astounding hitting streak to 56 games Saturday in a season-ending loss to Dartmouth. According to the Associated Press:

Wittels hit an RBI double in the top of the first inning, leaving him two games shy of the Division I record set by Oklahoma State’s Robin Ventura in 1987. Wittels’ attempt to break the mark will resume next season. He went 3-for-5 and finished the season with a .417 average and a school-record 100 hits.

  • Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees (AAA/New York Yankees) SP Jason Hirsh is in a slump. Hirsh, a 6’8″, 250-pound right-hander from Burbank, Calif., won four straight at one point but hasn’t recorded a victory since May 13.

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JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — The latest info on Jews with bats:

  • New York Mets 1B Ike Davis, brought up from AAA two weeks after the 2010 season began, is now batting cleanup. The move to 4th in the batting order paid off for the Mets on Thursday (5/20/2010) as Davis went 3-for-5 with 2 doubles and three runs scored.
  • Davis was one of four Jewish players with multi-hit games Thursday (5/20/2010). Joining him were Tampa Bay Rays RF Gabe Kapler (2-for-2), Texas Rangers 2B Ian Kinsler (2-for-5), and Boston Red Sox 1B Kevin Youkilis (2-for4 with 1 HR and 4 RBIs).
  • According to this article, Youkilis is on pace to have his best month ever at the plate. So far this May, he leads the majors in batting average (.411), on-base percentage (.585), slugging percentage (.786), and OPS (1.371).
  • The Boston Red Sox dropped RP Scott Schoeneweis from the team’s roster Wednesday (5/19/2010). Schoeneweis, a last-minute addition to the Opening Day squad, had an unimpressive 7.90 ERA this season, allowing 19 hits in 13 innings. The Red Sox have not said yet whether they will trade Schoeneweis, release him, or place him on waivers.
  • Florida International University sophomore Garrett Wittels continued his record-setting streak Thursday by getting a hit in his 46th straight game, part of FIU’s 12-4 victory against Florida Atlantic University. Wittels needs one more game to tie Phil Stephenson for second on the all-time list at 47 games.
  • AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees SP Jason Hirsh had his four-game winning streak broken Tuesday (5/18/2010) in a 3-0 loss to the Indianapolis Indians. On the bright side, Wilkes-Barre Times-Leader columnist Dave Konopki praised Hirsh this week, saying “it would be great to see him wearing pinstripes while standing on the mound at Yankee Stadium.”
  • AAA Memphis Redbirds CF James Rapoport is on a tear since being called up from AA. After 11 games with the Redbirds — a St. Louis Cardinals affiliate — the 24-year-old is batting .378 with a .440 on-base percentage. Yesterday (5/20/2010) he went 4-for-6 in a 13-3 victory over the Sacramento River Cats.
  • Milwaukee Brewers LF Adam Stern hasn’t made the most of his brief return to the bigs. In four games since being called up from AAA, the 30-year-old Canadian is 0-for-6 with two strikeouts.
  • Texas Rangers SP Scott Feldman earned his first victory since April 11 with a 13-7 victory over the Baltimore Orioles. It wasn’t his finest hour: Feldman gave up a career-high 12 hits in six innings.
  • In other struggling-Jewish-pitcher news, Chicago Cubs RP John Grabow continued his shaky 2010 in a 5-4 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies. Grabow gave up 1 hit, two walks and the winning run in 2/3 inning. Grabow’s 8.44 ERA is second-worst in the National League, and he’s reportedly “testing the patience of manager Lou Piniella, who continues to give him the ball in crucial late-inning situations.”

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O.”BP (.585 — a mark that is 100 points better than any other player in the game), slugging (.786) and OPS (1.371).
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Morning Roundup

JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — The latest developments among Jews with bats:

  • Jason Hirsh, starting pitcher for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees (AAA), continued his  turnaround Thursday (5/13/2010) with a 7-3 victory against the Columbus Clippers. A 6’8″, 250-pound former major leaguer who began the season with three consecutive losses, Hirsh pitched six innings against Columbus, giving up three earned runs on five hits and one walk while striking out four. The fourth straight win improved his 2010 record to 4-and-3.
  • The St. Louis Cardinals recently promoted CF James Rapoport to their AAA squad. In six games with the Memphis Redbirds, Rapoport has had three multi-hit games and is hitting .296.
  • SP Stephen Strasburg, the Washington Nationals’ No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 draft, continued his remarkable first season in the minors Wednesday (5/12/2010) with a 6-inning, no-hit outing for the Syracuse Chiefs (AAA). Strasburg, who is not Jewish, may have dominated media coverage of the game, but teammate Josh Whitesell helped seal the Chief’s 4-1 victory over the Norfolk Tides with a three-run triple in the 5th inning.
  • Florida International University standout Garrett Wittels reportedly is headed to Alaska this summer. According to this article, Wittels — currently enjoying a 43-game hitting streak at FIU — will play for the Peninsula Oilers of the Alaska Baseball League, a six-team summer league. Peninsula is based in Kenai, Alaska.
  • Washington Nationals SP Jason Marquis had surgery on his elbow Friday (5/14/2010). Marquis, who had bone chips in the elbow, is expected to begin rehab immediately and begin making minor-league rehab appearances in four to six weeks.

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