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Browsing Posts tagged Jason Kipnis

By Scott Barancik, editor

The roster of players set to represent Israel in the World Baseball Classic in South Korea this March is taking shape.

Team Israel general manager Peter Kurz, whose squad of former Major League and current minor-league athletes guided Israel to a qualifying-round win in September, said Tuesday that 15 ballplayers had already committed to play in the main tournament in Seoul. The list includes:

  1. Ty Kelly, IF (New York Mets)
  2. Sam Fuld, OF (free agent)
  3. Jason Marquis, P (free agent)
  4. Ike Davis, 1B (free agent)
  5. Ryan Lavarnway, C (Oakland Athletics/minors)
  6. Cody Decker, IF (Milwaukee Brewers/minors)
  7. Josh Zeid, P (free agent)
  8. Nate Freiman, 1B (free agent)
  9. Tyler Krieger, IF (Cleveland Indians/minors)
  10. Nick Rickles, C (Washington Nationals/minors)
  11. Dean Kremer, P (Los Angeles Dodgers/minors)
  12. Corey Baker, P (St. Louis Cardinals/minors)
  13. Jeremy Bleich, P (free agent)
  14. Jake Kalish, P (Kansas City Royals/minors)
  15. Alex Katz, P (Chicago White Sox/minors)

Two key additions are Ty Kelly and Sam Fuld. During the qualifiers in September, Kelly was playing for the New York Mets, while Fuld, then with the Oakland Athletics, was on the disabled list. Also new are minor leaguers Tyler Krieger and Jake Kalish.

Roster spots have been offered to at least seven additional minor leaguers who played for Team Israel in September : Zach Borenstein (Arizona Diamondbacks), Brad Goldberg (Chicago White Sox), Blake Gailen (independent), Scotty Burcham (Colorado Rockies), Tyler Herron (New York Mets), R C Orlan (Washington Nationals), and Joey Wagman (Oakland Athletics). None has provided a final answer yet.

Kurz told Jewish Baseball News that Danny Valencia of the Seattle Mariners and Craig Breslow, who is seeking to return to the Major Leagues, are possible future additions to Israel’s roster. Team Israel also is pursuing Joc Pederson of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Jason Kipnis of the Cleveland Indians.

Several prominent pros politely declined Team Israel’s invitations due to injury, family commitments, Major League aspirations, or other concerns. They include Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers, Kevin Pillar and Scott Feldman of the Toronto Blue Jays, Richard Bleier of the New York Yankees, Jon Moscot of the Cincinnati Reds, and minor-league prospect and Ryan Sherriff of the St. Louis Cardinals. Sherriff played for Team Israel in the September qualifiers.

Alex Bregman of the Houston Astros and Ian Kinsler of the Detroit Tigers have committed to play for Team USA rather than Team Israel in the World Baseball Classic.

Under WBC rules, athletes can play on Team Israel as long as they are eligible for Israeli citizenship. That means having at least one Jewish grandparent or being married to someone Jewish. Nearly all the players on Israel’s roster personally identify as Jewish.

Earlier this month, eight players on the WBC roster visited Israel for a week to learn about the country, meet Israeli fans, and break ground on a new baseball stadium. MLB.com reporter Jonathan Mayo and Ironbound Films co-founder Jeremy Newberger plan to create a documentary about the trip, titled Heading Home.

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By Scott Barancik/Jewish Baseball News

When Philadelphia Phillies prospect B.J. Rosenberg made his Major League debut last week (6/9/2012), Jewish baseball fans around the world dropped us a line to ask: Is he one of ours?

We asked the diligent researchers at Jewish Sports Review, and their answer was clear: Absolutely not, despite Rosenberg’s Jewish-sounding name.

Determining a player’s religion is an awkward enterprise, but there’s no room for guessing. That’s why we at Jewish Baseball News have launched a resource called Not a Jew. A complement to our catalog of Jewish ballplayers, the Not a Jew page lists the names of players frequently mistaken as Jews.

Categories on the Not a Jew page include “Players with Jewish-sounding names” (such as Rosenberg), “Players with Jewish ancestry who don’t consider themselves Jewish” (such as Cleveland Indians 2B Jason Kipnis, a practicing Catholic whose father is Jewish), and “Players rumored to be Jewish who aren’t” (such as Carew).

For updates to the list, click the new “Not a Jew” tab in our menu.

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By Scott Barancik/Jewish Baseball News

Mondays blow. So inhale this:

  1. Hungering for more Jewish ballplayers? Jewish Sports Review recently uncovered two: Toronto Blue Jays prospect Ian Kadish, and Pittsburgh Pirates prospect Jared Lakind. Kadish, a 23-year-old reliever, debuted last year with the Bluefield Blue Jays (Rookie), going 2-3 with a 2.67 ERA, 7 saves, and 35 strikeouts in 30-and-one-third innings. Lakind, a 20-year-old first baseman, showed impressive run-production last year, contributing 4 HRs and 20 RBIs in just 108 at-bats for the GCL Pirates (Rookie), although his .148 batting average and 43 strikeouts left plenty of room for improvement.
  2. Kevin Youkilis, out since April 28, took batting practice and fielded ground balls Sunday (5/13/2012) for the first time since straining his lower back. We hope Youk returns to the Boston Red Sox lineup soon.
  3. Chicago White Sox reliever Dylan Axelrod is a practicing Christian. Why mention him? Because Axelrod, who made his Major League debut last month, is one of several current Major Leaguers who have at least one Jewish parent or grandparent — and thus may be eligible to play for Team Israel in the November 2012 qualifying round for the World Baseball Classic. Among others, Axelrod is joined by Cleveland Indians 2B (and Rookie of the Year candidate) Jason Kipnis, and Arizona Diamondbacks 1B Paul Goldschmidt, each of whom has a Jewish parent but identifies as Christian.
  4. Harrisburg Senators (AA) phenom Danny Rosenbaum turned in yet another stellar start on Friday (5/11/2012), pitching 7 scoreless innings in an 8-1 win over the Akron Aeros. A wizard at inducing ground balls, the 24-year-old Washington Nationals caused the Aeros to hit 11 times as many grounders as they did fly balls. So far this season, Rosenbaum is 5-0 with two complete games, a league-leading 0.71 ERA, 33 strikeouts, and just four walks in 50-and-2/3 innings, or less than one per 9 innings.
  5. In Milwaukee, Brewers 1B Ryan Braun is known not only as a star baseball player but an emerging restaurateur. His latest opening, a joint venture with Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, will be called 8*twelve MVP Bar & Grill. The name is a nod to the two stars’ jersey numbers — Braun’s is ‘8’ –and the fact that each is his sport’s reigning MVP.
Have any good news about Jewish athletes and teams? E-mail them to sbarancik@jewishbaseballnews.com.

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Jason Kipnis

JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — In March 2008, the editors of a bi-monthly publication called Jewish Sports Review contacted Arizona State University sophomore Jason Kipnis with a question: was the star outfielder willing to be listed as a Jewish athlete?

Kipnis, who was raised in no religion but whose father was Jewish, gave his okay. Fan sites like Jewish Baseball News have proudly claimed Kipnis ever since.

But just as Jewish fans were kvelling over his MLB debut with the Cleveland Indians last week, a number of astute observers swore they saw Kipnis sporting a crucifix.

The same Jewish Sports Review editors who contacted Kipnis in 2008 swiftly reached out to him again. And today (7/29/2011), Indians spokesman Bart Swain confirmed it: Jason Kipnis is now a practicing Roman Catholic.

Though we will miss covering Kipnis in these pages, we wish him the best both in his career and his faith.

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Jason Kipnis

JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — Cleveland Indians 2B Jason Kipnis made his first MLB hit count.

Coming to bat for just the 7th time since being called up from the “AAA” Columbus Clippers last week, Kipnis hit a walk-off RBI single with two outs in the 9th inning to give the Tribe a come-from-behind, 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Angels on Monday (7/25/2011).

The 24-year-old rookie’s teammates swarmed him after the dramatic hit. Until then he had only reached base once, after being hit by a pitch in his debut game.

“He’s not going to be intimidated,” Indians manager Manny Act told MLB.com. “He is going to contribute, and he has already done it today. … Jason Kipnis couldn’t pick a better spot to get his first hit in the big leagues.”

Check out our “Jewish Box Score” every day for the latest player stats.

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Jason Kipnis

JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — Cleveland Indians 2B Jason Kipnis made his MLB debut Friday (7/22/2011), and while he didn’t get a hit in the team’s 3-0 loss to the Chicago White Sox, he did manage to get hit.

The 24-year-old Illinois native grounded out and flied out in his first two at-bats against before getting drilled by starter Gavin Floyd with an 86-mph cutter in the 8th inning. Kipnis batted eighth for the Tribe and played second base, though he soon may get some playing time in the outfield.

Kipnis also earned a video clip on MLB.com for an athletic play he made in the 6th inning to narrowly toss out White Sox 3B Mark Teahen at first base.

Kipnis is the 11th Jewish ballplayer to play in the MLB in 2011. Texas Rangers P Scott Feldman had a debut of his own today: after spending the entire season so far on the disabled list, he pitched one shutout inning in the Rangers’ 12-2 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays.

The last Jewish player to make his major-league debut was CF Ryan Kalish, who went 2/4 and had an RBI with the Boston Red Sox on 7/31/2010 (see box score).

Check out our “Jewish Box Score” every day for the latest Kipnis stats.

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Jason Kipnis

JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — Highly-touted Cleveland Indians prospect Jason Kipnis will be the newest Jewish major-leaguer.

Shortly after today’s announcement of his impending promotion from the “AAA” Columbus Clippers (7/21/2011), MLB.com reported that Kipnis could make his MLB debut as early as Friday (7/22/2011).

“It’s time!” the 24-year-old wrote on his Twitter feed earlier today. “I’m coming Cleveland!”

The promotion did not come as a surprise. Drafted in 2009, Kipnis has quickly risen through the minor-league ranks. Through Wednesday’s games, the Illinois native led the “AAA” International League in triples (9) while ranking 2nd in runs scored (64), 7th in total bases (164), 10th in walks (44/tied), 12th in RBIs (55), and 17th in stolen bases (12).

Among the honors Kipnis already has received this season: a Player of the Week award, a starting slot in the AAA all-star game, and selection to the prestigious XM Futures Game, in which he homered.

Where Kipnis will play for the first-place Indians is an intriguing question. An outfielder through 2009, the franchise switched him to second base last year. But MLB.com says the Tribe’s greater need at present is in the outfield.

Friday’s home game against the Chicago White Sox will begin at 7:05pm EST.

Three  Jews made their ML B debuts last season: Minnesota Twins 3B Danny Valencia, who finished 3rd in voting for the A.L. Rookie of the Year; New York Mets 1B Ike Davis, who finished 7th in the N.L. Rookie of the Year vote; and Boston Red Sox CF Ryan Kalish.

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JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — So much to tell, so little time to tell it. Here are a few items worth noting:

  • The 2011 AAA All-Star Game, which pits the International League against the Pacific Coast League, will be broadcast tonight at 9:00pm EST on ESPN. Cleveland Indians prospect Jason Kipnis will start at 2B for the International team. Joining him from the bullpen will be Philadelphia Phillies prospect Michael Schwimer. Schwimer, a 6’8″ reliever from Fairfax, Va., is enjoying a breakout season with the “AAA” Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs, where he is 5-0 with 6 saves, a 1.78 ERA, 64 strikeouts, and 17 walks over 50-and-2/3 innings.
  • Speaking of Kipnis, the 24-year-old standout’s 1st-inning HR helped the USA squad defeat the World team 6-4 in Sunday’s (7/9/2011) Futures Game (see box score), which is considered a showcase for minor-league baseball’s top prospects. As recently reported, Kipnis’ promotion to the Majors is expected to come soon.
  • Jews batted 1.000 in last night’s MLB All-Star Game (7/12/2011), though that figure is a bit misleading. The only MOT who played was Boston Redsox 3B Kevin Youkilis, who singled in his only plate appearance. Milwaukee Brewers LF Ryan Braun was supposed to start for the National League but sat out due to a leg injury that has kept him idle since July 2. Braun not only was the top vote-getter in the National League this year but set the all-time N.L. record with 5.9-million votes — which MLB.com points out is nearly 10 times the population of Milwaukee, Wisc.
  • Garrett Wittels, a Florida International University infielder who hit in 56 straight games in 2010, was signed as a free agent earlier this month by the St. Louis Cardinals and assigned to Batavia Muckdogs, the club’s “A-short season” team. Through 5 games, Wittels is batting .118 with 1 RBI. He joins Muckdogs P Corey Baker, who was picked in the 49th round of last month’s MLB amateur draft.
  • Also signed as a free agent recently was C Jacob Meskin. Since joining the “rookie-league” GCL Astros (Houston Astros), Meskin has gone 0/13 with 5 strikeouts yet somehow managed to drive in 3 runs. Thanks to Jewish Baseball News reader Bill R. for the tip on Jacob.

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Jason Kipnis

JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — In his first full season in “AAA” ball, Cleveland Indians prospect Jason Kipnis has all the markings of a star.

Player of the Week winner? Yep, just last week in fact.

All-Star selection? You bet. He’s the starting second baseman on the “AAA” International League squad, which will line up against the “AAA” Pacific Coast League on July 13.

Chosen to play in the prestigious All-Star Futures Game? Check. He’s one of 25 players on the U.S. squad, which will play against a ‘World’ team on July 10.

Not surprisingly, Indians fans, rotisserie baseball enthusiasts, and sports writers alike have been clamoring for the 24-year-old suburban Chicago native to be called up, stat. Just today (7/6/2011), Cleveland Plain Dealer columnist Terry Pluto said “it’s time for the Indians to once again change their infield,” noting that the Tribe could summon Kipnis “very, very soon.”

Just how well is he playing these days? The fleet-footed Kipnis leads the International League in triples (9) runs (60), ranks 2nd in OPS (.906), is 3rd in slugging percentage (.520) and total bases (155), in 6th in OBP (.386) and RBIs (50/tied), and is 8th-highest in walks (40).

He’s no slouch in HRs, with 11 dingers so far, including a two-HR game on 6/28/2011. And check out this stat: Kipnis has stolen 11 bases — and not been caught once.

Exactly when will he get the call? Terry Pluto, the columnist, says the Indians can use next week’s All-Star break to “decide if it’s time to turn second base over to JasonKipnis.”

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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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JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — Spring Training 2011 is just two weeks old. Many players are still shedding their off-season rust. But a couple Jewish players are already tearing the stitching off the ball.

Texas Rangers 2B Ian Kinsler, who was hobbled by injuries last season, leads all MLB players with 4 HRs, is tied for second with 7 RBIs, and is batting .444 (8/18). Figure in walks, and he has a nifty on-base percentage of .545.

Also hitting well is Minnesota Twins 3B Danny Valencia. After finishing 3rd in voting for the A.L. Rookie of the Year award last year, Valencia is batting .500 (6/12) with 3 RBIs and is tied for the A.L. lead in doubles, with four.

Here is how all Jewish position players were doing through Mon., March 7:

 

TEAM
AB H HR RBI BB AVG OBP
Danny Valencia
MIN
12 6 0 3 1 .500 .538
Ian Kinsler
TEX
18 8 4 7 3 .444 .545
Ryan Braun
MIL
11 3 1 2 1 .273 .333
Ike Davis NYM 12 3 1 3 4 .250 .438
Ben Guez
DET
4 1 0 0 3 .250 .571
Gabe Kapler
LAD
15 3 0 1 0 .200 .200
Kevin Youkilis
BOS
13 2 0 1 1 .154 .214
Jason Kipnis
CLE
13 2 1 2 2 .154 .267
Ryan Kalish
TB
16 2 0 0 2 .125 .222
Sam Fuld
TB
9 1 0 0 0 .111 .111
Ryan Lavarnway
BOS
4 0 0 0 0 .000 .000
Jake Lemmerman
LAD
1 0 0 0 0 .000 .000

Among pitchers, Washington Nationals starter Jason Marquis followed up a difficult 2010 with a strong spring-training outing, giving up just 1 hit over 3 innings in his only game played so far. Here’s how all Jewish pitchers were doing through March 7:

 

TEAM
W L ERA G IP H BB SO
Jason Marquis
WSH
0 0 0.00 1 3 1 0 1
Aaron Poreda
SD
0 0 5.40 2 1.2 0 4 1
Michael Schwimer
PHI
0 0 13.50 2 2 4 0 1
John Grabow
CHC
0 0 18.00 1 1 3 0 1
Craig Breslow
OAK
Scott Feldman TEX
Jason Hirsh NYY
David Kopp STL

To track Jewish players in Spring Training, visit Jewish Baseball News for our daily box score.

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TEAM
AB H HR RBI BB AVG OBP
Danny Valencia
MIN
12 6 0 3 1 .500 .538
Ian Kinsler
TEX
18 8 4 7 3 .444 .545
Ryan Braun
MIL
11 3 1 2 1 .273 .333
Ike Davis NYM 12 3 1 3 4 .250 .438
Ben Guez
DET
4 1 0 0 3 .250 .571
Gabe Kapler
LAD
15 3 0 1 0 .200 .200
Kevin Youkilis
BOS
13 2 0 1 1 .154 .214
Jason Kipnis
CLE
13 2 1 2 2 .154 .267
Ryan Kalish
TB
16 2 0 0 2 .125 .222
Sam Fuld
TB
9 1 0 0 0 .111 .111
Ryan Lavarnway
BOS
4 0 0 0 0 .000 .000
Jake Lemmerman
LAD
1 0 0 0 0 .000 .000
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JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — The number of Jewish minor-leaguers who will be attending a Major-League spring training this year has reached nine.

According to MLB.com, the invitees include:

  1. Sam Fuld (Tampa Bay Rays)
  2. Ben Guez (Detroit Tigers)
  3. Jason Hirsh (New York Yankees)
  4. Gabe Kapler (Los Angeles Dodgers)
  5. Jason Kipnis (Cleveland Indians)
  6. David Kopp (St. Louis Cardinals)
  7. Ryan Lavarnway (Boston Red Sox)
  8. Aaron Poreda (San Diego Padres)
  9. Michael Schwimer (Philadelphia Phillies)

Jewish Baseball News will maintain a running list of these and other spring-training invitees through the end of March on our home page.

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JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — So far, at least four Jewish minor-leaguers have been invited to attend Major League spring training camps in 2011.

According to MLB team web sites, four ballplayers have been identified as “non-roster invitees” — that is, they have been invited to attend spring training even though they are not on their team’s 40-man roster. They include:

  • CF Ben Guez, 23 (Detroit Tigers). Guez hit a combined .249 for 3 minor-league teams in 2010, including the “AAA” Toledo Mud Hens. He had 10 HRs, 43 RBIs, a .341 on-base percentage, and 14 stolen bases. Guez also played in the Arizona Fall League, which MLB teams typically reserve for their top minor-league prospects.
  • SP Jason Hirsh, 28 (New York Yankees). A 6’8″ right hander, Hirsh went 9-7 with the “AAA” Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees in 2010, racking up a 3.90 ERA and a strong strikeout-to-walk ratio of 95/39. He played in the MLB from 2006-08, pitching both for the Houston Astros and Colorado Rockies.
  • 2B Jason Kipnis, 23 (Cleveland Indians). The Indians’ minor-league player of the year in 2010, Kipnis hit a combined .307 for the club’s “AA” and “A-advanced” teams, with 16 HRs, 74 RBIs, a .386 OBP, .492 SLG, and 9 stolen bases. Called up to “AAA” for the post-season, he went 10/22, hit for the cycle once, and fell a single short of hitting for the cycle the following game. Also played in the Arizona Fall League, where he was among the league leaders in several batting categories.
  • SP Michael Schwimer, 24 (Philadelphia Phillies). Another 6’8″ right hander, Schwimer went a combined 7-5 with the Phillies’ “AAA” and “AA” teams in 2010, with a 2.85 ERA and an impressive 76 strikeouts in just 60 innings.

According to MLB.com, two additional Jewish minor leaguers have been added to their respective MLB team’s 40-man roster. Whether or not this means they’ll be attending spring training is unclear. They are:

  • SP David Kopp, 25 (St. Louis Cardinals). Kopp had a rough time with the Cards’ “AAA” team in 2010 (he went 0-5 with a 8.63 ERA) but finished the season strong with the “AA” squad, where he went 12-4 with a 3.05 ERA.
  • RP Aaron Poreda, 24 (San Diego Padres). The 6’6″ left hander, who pitched well during a brief major-league stint with the Padres in 2009, went a combined 1-2 with the team’s “AAA” and “AA” squads in 2010, along with a 3.83 ERA and an opponent batting average of just .176. Poreda gave up just one HR in 54 innings but had a weak strikeout-to-walk ratio of 47/64.

Thanks to Jewish Baseball News reader Michael Lebowitz for the tips about Guez and Kipnis.

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JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — The Arizona Fall League’s 30-game regular season came to an end Thursday (11/17/2008). So how did its six Jewish players do?

Hitters

  • 2B Josh Satin, Mesa Solar Sox (New York Mets). In 41 at-bats, Satin hit a blistering .390 with 2 doubles, 1 HR, 6 RBIs, a .479 on-base percentage (OBP), and .512 slugging percentage (SLP). He saw limited play because the Mets, feeling he already had played a lot in 2010, put him on the AFL’s “taxi squad,” which restricted him to 2 games per week.
  • 2B Jason Kipnis, Peoria Javelinas (Cleveland Indians). In 78 at-bats, Kipnis hit .295 with 3 HRs, 11 doubles (tied for 1st in the league), 3 triples (3rd/tie), 3 HRs, 19 RBIs (4th/tie), .337 OBP, .628 SLG (5th), and 2 stolen bases. Great figures no doubt, but the real story is about mental toughness. Kipnis began the season uncharacteristically struggling at the plate, his batting average just .159 through October. But in November, he rebounded by batting .471 with 8 doubles and 9 RBIs. And he did it while enduring day-to-day uncertainty about where he would play: 2B, 3B, or DH.
  • C Ryan Lavarnway, Peoria Javelinas (Boston Red Sox). In 82 at-bats, Lavarnway hit .268 with 3 doubles, 3 HRs, 12 RBIs, .380 OBP and .415 SLG. His 16 walks tied for 3rd in the league.
  • OF Ben Guez, Surprise Rafters (Detroit Tigers). In 57 at-bats, Guez hit .228 with 2 doubles, 1 triple, 3 HRs, 6 RBIs, .302 OBP, and 4 stolen bases. Six of his 13 hits were for extra bases, leading to a healthy .456 SLG. But Guez’s power stroke came at the cost of a low batting average…and 21 strikeouts.

Pitchers

  • SP Josh Zeid, Mesa Solar Sox (Philadelphia Phillies). Zeid went 3-0 with a 3.86 ERA. In 14 innings, he struck out 12 and walked just one batter. He held opposing teams to a .204 batting average.
  • RP Eric Berger, Peoria Javelinas (Cleveland Indians). Playing in a middle-relief role, Berger went 0-0 with an .082 ERA. In 11 innings, Berger struck out 12, walked 8, and held opposing teams to a .171 batting average.

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JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — Two weeks ago, Cleveland Indians prospect Jason Kipnis was batting just .159 in the prestigious Arizona Fall League, a far cry from his .307 average during the 2010 minor-league season. “I kill nearly every rally the Peoria Javelinas put together,” he lamented in his blog.

Talk about your turnarounds.

Since then the 23-year-old Arizona State product has gone on a hitting rampage, getting 2 or more hits in 7 of 8 games (including his last six), rapping 9 doubles, and driving in 9 runs. In the process, Kipnis has nearly doubled his batting average to .295, is batting .355 with runners in scoring position, and has joined the league leaders in several offensive categories:

  • Doubles: 11 (1st/tied)
  • Triples: 3 (3rd/tied)
  • RBIs: 19 (4th/tied)
  • Slugging percentage: .628 (5th)

His finest performance came during a Nov. 13 game against the Mesa Solar Sox. Kipnis went 4/4 with 3 doubles, 3 RBIs and a run in the Javelinas’ 10-3 victory.

With only one game left in the AFL’s 30-game regular season, the Javelinas are a league-leading 19-10, and Kipnis has little left to prove. His recent outburst shows he’s quite capable of hitting some of the best pitchers in the minor leagues, and it’s looking highly likely that he’ll reach the Majors at some point in 2011, if not right out of Spring Training.

Kipnis’ recent performance also shows an ability to put up with uncertainty. A career outfielder until the Indians switched him to 2B in 2010, Kipnis has had to split the AFL season between 2B, 3B and DH due to the presence of teammate Dustin Ackley, a highly-touted Seattle Mariners prospect who also plays 2B. (Here’s an interesting fact: Ackley was the 2nd pick in the 2009 draft, and Kipnis was the 63rd.)

The Javelinas’ final regular-season game takes place tonight (11/18/2010) against the Scottsdale Scorpions. The two will meet again Saturday night (11/19/2010) in the AFL championship game.

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JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — Here is your Arizona Fall League update for Wednesday, Nov. 10:

  • 2B Jason Kipnis, a Cleveland Indians prospect, hit a double and a 2-run single in the Peoria Javelinas’ 8-5 win over the Surprise Rafters. Kipnis is batting .217 with 3 HRs, 10 extra-base hits, and 14 RBIs in 60 at-bats.
  • C Ryan Lavarnway, a Boston Red Sox prospect and Kipnis’ teammate on the Javelinas, singled and hit a solo HR. He’s batting .302 with 3 HRs, 9 RBIs and a .423 on-base percentage. His 14 walks are tied for 2nd-best in the AFL.
  • Rafters OF Ben Guez, a Detroit Tigers prospect, went 0/4 in a losing effort. He’s batting .279 with 3 HRs, 6 RBIs, 4 stolen bases, and an OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage) of .949, 12th-best in the AFL.
  • 2B Josh Satin, a New York Mets prospect who has seen limited action in the AFL but recently had a 5-RBI game, singled once and walked twice in a 9-6 loss to the Phoenix Desert Dogs. In 28 at-bats, Satin has 1 HR, 6 RBIs, a .429 batting average and .529 on-base percentage. Why is he getting so little playing time? Satin recently answered that question in a note to Jewish Baseball News:

I’m on the taxi squad which means you can only play twice a week. I played so many games this season that the Mets thought only playing a few a week would be a good idea.

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JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — The Peoria Javelinas crushed the Phoenix Desert Dogs 16-8 on Monday (11/8/2010). The win upped Peoria’s record to 14-7, tops in the prestigious Arizona Fall League.

  • Javelinas 2B Jason Kipnis, a Cleveland Indians prospect, tripled twice, walked, and scored two runs while playing DH. For the season, Kipnis is hitting just .196 in 56 at-bats. But the 23-year-old Arizona State recruit has 12 RBIs, and nine of his 11 hits have been for extra bases (3 doubles, triples and HRs apiece).
  • Javelinas C Ryan Lavarnway, a Boston Red Sox prospect, went 3/6 with a solo HR. The 23-year-old Yale recruit was less effective in the field, yielding 2 passed balls and allowing one stolen base. For the season he’s batting .288 with 2 HRs, 8 RBIs and a .419 on-base percentage. His 14 walks are tied for 2nd-best in the AFL.

The AFL has posed special challenges for Kipnis and Lavarnway.

Though the Indians only recently converted Kipnis from outfielder to second baseman, he had the misfortune of being teamed on the Javelinas with highly-touted 2B Dustin Ackley, the #2 overall pick in the 2009 amateur draft. With Ackley on board, Kipnis has played in just 14 of the Javelinas’ 21 games and has split his time between second base, third base and DH. Such changes appear to have hurt his confidence at the plate (for insight, see his blog). During the 2010 regular season, he hit over .300.

But Kipnis’ problem will melt away when the AFL season ends later this month and Dustin Ackley returns to the Seattle Mariners’ farm system. Not so for teammate Lavarnway.

The main thing standing between Lavarnway — a power-hitter with an excellent eye — and the Majors is his defensive play. The Red Sox sent Lavarnway to Peoria primarily to work on his catching skills, but he has continued to struggle with passed balls there.

The Javelinas have 8 games left to play this season. The AFL championship will take place on Saturday, Nov. 20.

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JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — The West beat the East 3-2 in the Arizona Fall League’s “Rising Stars” game Saturday night (11/6/2010), and the 3 Jews selected to play in the nationally-broadcast showcase performed well.

Playing for the victorious West:

  • C Ryan Lavarnway, a Boston Red Sox prospect, went 1/2. He led off a third-inning rally with a single but later was tossed out at home plate.
  • 2B Jason Kipnis, the Cleveland Indians’ minor-league player of the year in 2010, doubled in his only at-bat. In a recent trend, he played 3B rather than 2B.

Playing for the East:

Fifty of the prestigious Arizona Fall League’s 180 players were chosen to play in the Rising Stars game. Although most play at the Class AA or AAA minor-league level, Zeid — a 6’5″ righty from New Haven, Conn. — played for the “A” Lakewood BlueClaws in 2010.

More than half of those who played in last year’s Rising Stars game were called-up to the Majors at some point in 2010.

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JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — Baseball’s annual “Rising Stars” game will be broadcast on Saturday night (11/6/2010), and this year there’s even more reason than usual to watch.

The 50 minor-leaguers chosen to play in the showcase game include 19 former 1st-round draft picks, and as a group they are considered among the most likely to play MLB ball in 2011. More than half of the contestants in 2009’s Rising Stars game ended up in the Majors in 2010.

What’s more, this year’s squad includes 3 Jewish players:

  • SP Josh Zeid. The Philadelphia Phillies prospect recently was named Best Reliever in Class A ball. Currently playing for the Mesa Solar Sox of the prestigious Arizona Fall League, the 6’5″ righty is 3-0 with a 3.86 ERA, 12 strikeouts and just one walk. See his blog here.
  • C Ryan Lavarnway. The Boston Red Sox prospect led all Red Sox minor-leaguers with 102 RBIs in 2010. Currently playing for the AFL’s Peoria Javelinas, he is batting .264 with a .412 on-base percentage.
  • 2B Jason Kipnis. The Cleveland Indians named him the franchise’s top minor-league player in 2010. Currently playing alongside Ryan Lavarnway on the Javelinas, he is batting .173 but has 3 HRs and 12 RBIs in just 52 at-bats. See his blog here.

OF Ben Guez was not selected to play. The Detroit Tigers prospect is currently batting .308 for the AFL’s Surprise Rafters and is ranked 7th among all AFL players in OPS (1.041), a statistic that combines a player’s on-base percentage and slugging percentage.

The Rising Stars game will be broadcast nationally at 9:00pm ET Saturday night on the MLB Network. It also will be shown online at MLB.com.

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JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — Another day, another accolade for 2B Jason Kipnis.

On Oct. 21, the Cleveland Indians named Kipnis the franchise’s 2010 Minor League Player of the Year. It’s just the latest recognition of what has been a remarkable year for the 23-year-old standout.

According to this MLB.com article, Kipnis currently ranks third on the Indians’ depth chart at second base, giving him an outside chance at getting some MLB playing time in 2011. Not bad when you consider Kipnis was an outfielder until being switched to second base this year.

Coincidentally, the precise title of the Indians’ annual honor is the “Lou Boudreau Award.” A Hall of Fame shortstop who went on to become a manager and broadcaster, Boudreau was raised Christian but his mother was Jewish.

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