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Browsing Posts tagged Joc Pederson

By Scott Barancik, editor

Matt Holliday’s misfortune has proved opportune for two Jewish ballplayers.

Thanks to the Cardinals outfielder’s injury — sorry, Matt — Dodgers rookie Joc Pederson will replace him in the National League’s starting lineup at Tuesday’s All-Star Game (7/14/2015), and Brewers veteran Ryan Braun will replace Holliday as a reserve on the roster. It’s Braun’s sixth career All-Star nod, but his first since his a 2013 drug suspension. The 31-year-old LF celebrated Sunday with his 16th HR.

Might Braun and Pederson end up in the outfield together sometime Tuesday night?

The All-Star Game isn’t the only occasion for a Pederson/Braun mash-up. In the 6th inning of Friday’s Dodgers-Brewers game, Pederson dropped a single in front of Braun to break up a Milwaukee no-hitter. Pederson’s RBI double in the 7th proved the game-winner.

Dynamic Jew-o: A 6th-inning defensive replacement Saturday, Blue Jays 3B Danny Valencia went 1-for-2 with a 3-run HR. Teammate Kevin Pillar singled, walked twice, and swiped a base in Toronto’s 6-2 win over Kansas City.

The Valencia/Pillar show resumed Sunday. Pillar tripled, doubled in Valencia, and tossed out Eric Hosmer when the Royals 1B tried to stretch a single into a double. Valencia singled and smacked a 2-run double.

Atlanta’s Ryan Lavarnway walked and hit a solo HR Saturday, his first round-tripper since Sep. 4, 2013.

Ian Kinsler, third in career doubles among MLB Jews, hit two Friday to give him 20 for the season. On Sunday, he stroked three singles.

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By Scott Barancik, editor

Now here’s something you don’t see very often: two Jewish players, both centerfielders, smacking 2 HRs apiece on the same day.

Dodgers phenom Joc Pederson and Toronto’s Kevin Pillar accomplished the rare feat Tuesday night. Pederson hit the more prodigious bombs, launching a 477-foot monster in Game 1 of a doubleheader against Colorado and a 472-foot shot in Game 2.

The 23-year-old Palo Alto native added his first Major League triple and drove in 4 RBIs overall. He has homered in 4 straight games and is tied for second in the N.L. with 16 round-trippers.

Pillar was the bigger surprise. Entering Game 2 of a doubleheader against the Nations with just 2 HRs in nearly 200 at-bats this season, the 26-year-old launched a solo shot in the 2nd inning and a 3-run shot in the 6th that plated teammate Danny Valencia, who contributed a double and a sacrifice fly Tuesday. Pillar didn’t his 2nd HR of 2015 until May 30.



Ryan Braun owns the record for HRs by a Jewish rookie, with 34 in 2007, and was named N.L. Rookie of the Year.  All-time Jewish home run leader Hank Greenberg hit 12 his rookie year (1933), and runner-up Shawn Green hit 15 in his (1995).

The all-time N.L. rookie record of 38 HRs is shared by Baltimore’s Frank Robinson (1955) and the Boston Braves’ Wally Berger (1930). With 16 HRs in the Dodgers’ first 52 games this season, Pederson is on pace to hit 50.

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By Scott Barancik, editor

As baseball fans celebrate Opening Day, Jewish Baseball News is taking a look back at the 21 Jews who participated in MLB Spring Training this year.

Fifteen position players and six pitchers saw playing time, some as full-fledged team members, others as non-roster invitees, and several via short-term stints. Their stats are shown at the bottom; players who made their franchise’s Opening Day roster are shown in bold.

Following are some of the Spring’s top stories.

  • It will take a lot more for him to earn back some fans’ trust and affection, but Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun — fresh from a 65-game suspension for taking performance-enhancing drugs — dazzled, hitting .417 with nine RBIs and eight extra-base hits in 36 at-bats.
  • Ike Davis and Josh Satin both made the Mets’ Opening Day roster and will share First Base duties with Lucas Duda. But Davis — who squeaked by with a .241 average in Spring Training — is among the candidates to be sent down later this week to make room for Jon Niese.
  • Nate Freiman‘s 11 RBIs ranked eighth on the A’s, but it wasn’t enough to make the team’s Opening Day roster. Meanwhile, teammate Sam Fuld wowed his way onto the roster with four triples, 7 RBIs and a .348 on-base percentage.
  • With Boston’s Craig Breslow starting the season on the disabled list, Scott Feldman is the only Jewish pitcher to make an Opening Day roster. He also was the only Jewish starter during spring Training. As a group, Jewish pitchers went 1-and-5.
  • After missing much of the past three seasons with surgeries and injuries, former Boston Red Sox OF Ryan Kalish earned a spot on the Cubs’ Opening Day roster. Kalish hit .304 with 3 RBIs, stole 6 of 7 bases, and reached base 38.5% of the time.
  • Texas prospect Aaron Poreda earned some respect in his first MLB Spring Training since 2011. Poreda claimed one save in two chances, held opposing hitters to a .265 average, and walked just one batter over 8.1 innings.
  • Ian Kinsler, traded by Texas during the off-season for Detroit’s Cecil Fielder, outperformed “Big Daddy” with 3 HRs, 9 extra-based hits, 9 RBIs, a perfect 4-for-4 in stolen bases, a .300 average, and a .382 on-base percentage. Fielder matched Kinsler’s power (3 HRs, 9 extra-base hits, 10 RBIs) but hit .246 while striking out 16 times and drawing only two walks.
  • Ben Guez, a 27-year-old outfielder who spent part of the last four seasons with Detroit’s Triple-A club but has yet to be called up, made a brief but exciting splash in three Spring Training games. Against Toronto on 3/18/2014, Guez reached base all six times, going 3-for-3 with two doubles and three walks. His career MLB Spring Training average is a robust .529, along with a .692 on-base percentage.

 MLB Spring Training hitting, 2014

Zach Borenstein LAA 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 NA 1.000
Ryan Braun MIL 36 15 5 0 3 9 0 .417 .500
Ike Davis NYM 29 7 2 0 2 7 0 .241 .313
Cody Decker SDP 10 3 1 0 1 4 0 .300 .417
Nate Freiman OAK 42 10 2 1 1 11 0 .238 .327
Sam Fuld OAK 59 16 1 4 1 7 1-1 .271 .348
Ben Guez DET 7 5 2 0 0 2 0-1 .714 .818
Ryan Kalish CHC 46 14 1 0 0 3 6-7 .304 .385
Ian Kinsler DET 60 18 5 1 3 9 4-4 .300 .382
Ryan Lavarnway BOS 38 11 1 0 2 5 0 .289 .357
Jake Lemmerman SDP 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .500
Joc Pederson LAD 38 7 1 0 3 6 0 .184 .311
Kevin Pillar TOR 33 5 1 1 0 4 0-1 .152 .176
Josh Satin NYM 50 13 2 0 1 4 0 .260 .333
Danny Valencia KCR 48 11 1 0 1 4 1-1 .229 .327

Notes: Zach Borenstein walked in his only plate appearance

MLB Spring Training pitching, 2014

Jeremy Bleich NYY 0 0 9.00 1 1.0 2 0 0 .500 2.00
Scott Feldman HOU 0 2 5.40 4 16.2 21 2 14 .292 1.38
Aaron Poreda TEX 0 1 3.24 8 8.1 9 1 8 .265 1.20
Danny Rosenbaum WAS 0 1 2.70 3 3.1 3 2 2 .300 1.50
Jeff Urlaub OAK 1 1 8.10 4 3.1 4 2 1 .333 1.80
Josh Zeid HOU 0 0 4.15 7 8.2 12 4 12 .333 1.85

Notes: Aaron Poreda earned one save in two chances; Josh Zeid earned a save in his sole opportunity. Boston’s Craig Breslow did not play, due to injury

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By Scott Barancik, editor

Jews make up an estimated 1.7 percent of all Americans and an even smaller percentage of professional baseball players. But ESPN Insider’s 2014 ranking of the Top 100 Minor Leaguers features three Jews, a 3 percent rate. And Baseball America’s 2014 list of the Top 10 prospects per franchise  includes four Jews.

Joc Pederson appears 41st on ESPN’s list and #1 on Baseball America’s list of the top Los Angeles Dodgers prospects. A 21-year-old center fielder, Pederson earned L.A.’s Minor League Player of the Year award in 2012 and afterward played for Team Israel in the World Baseball Classic qualifier. In 2013 he hit .278 with 22 HRs, 58 RBIs, 31 stolen bases and a .381 OBP for the Dodgers’ Double-A affiliate. Baseball America predicts he’ll reach the Majors sometime in 2014, possibly by Opening Day.

Max Fried ranks 48th on ESPN’s list and #3 on Baseball America’s list of the top San Diego Padres prospects. A 6-foot-4-inch lefty who studied video of Sandy Koufax as an adolescent and was drafted straight out of high school, the 20-year-old Fried earned a $3-million signing bonus from the Padres in 2012. In 2013 he went 6-7 with a 3.49 ERA for the team’s Single-A club. Baseball America says he’ll “zoom through the minors if he throws more strikes.”

Rob Kaminsky caps off ESPN’s list at the 100th spot, and he ranks 9th on Baseball America’s list of the top St. Louis Cardinals prospects. Drafted out of high school last year by the St. Louis Cardinals, the 19-year-old pitcher went 0-3 in rookie ball but finished with a respectable 3.68 ERA while striking out an average of 11.5 batters per nine innings. Baseball America says Kaminsky has the best curveball in the Cards’ system, and he’s expected to open 2014 in Single-A.

Zach Borenstein didn’t make ESPN’s cut, but he ranks 9th on Baseball America’s list of the top Los Angeles Angels prospects. A 23-year-old outfielder, Borenstein hit .337 in 2013 with 28 HRs, 95 RBIs, and a 1.034 OPS for the franchise’s A-Advanced team, and he came close to winning the league’s Triple Crown. That he made the list at all is somewhat miraculous, given that he was left off the Angels’ Top 20 list at the end of the 2013 season, but a change in authors led to a different outlook. Baseball America says Borenstein could spend a good part of 2014 at Triple-A.

Thanks to Kaplan’s Korner for the tip on ESPN Insider’s new rankings.

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Joc Pederson, in Team Israel uniform (2012)

By Scott Barancik, editor

2012 wasn’t a bad year for Los Angeles Dodgers prospect Joc Pederson.

A third-year player drafted out of Palo Alto High School, the 6-foot-1 outfielder hit .313 with 18 HRs, 70 RBIs, a .396 on-base percentage, and 26 stolen bases for the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (A+). The Dodgers named him their Branch Rickey Minor League Player of the Year. Baseball America called him the best defensive outfielder in the club’s farm system. It also said he had the franchise’s best strike-zone discipline.

But if you thought the buzz on Pederson couldn’t get more positive, think again.

Halfway into the 2013 season, the 21-year-old is hitting more home runs and doubles than last year, stealing more bases, and getting caught far less often. His ranking on Baseball America’s list of top minor-league prospects has rocketed from 85th overall at the beginning of 2013 to 35th. At yesterday’s All-Star Futures Game — which pit the top 25 U.S. prospects against the top 25 foreign-born prospects — Pederson singled, walked, and scored a run in his only two plate appearances, and he nearly tossed out a runner trying to score on a sacrifice fly.

Here’s what Sports Illustrated had to say about him yesterday:

Pederson is an outstanding natural athlete and a grinder with a high baseball IQ. While none of his tools are well above average, all five have the potential to be average or better; he’s got a compact stroke with legitimate power, and an advanced approach at the plate that translates into on-base ability. Scouts are split as to whether he can stay in center due to the limitations of his speed and arm, but he may be able to fulfill the offensive profile needed in left field.

Despite his prowess, Los Angeles is in no hurry to promote Pederson to Triple-A, and we may not see him wearing Dodger blue anytime soon, if ever.

Added S.I. yesterday: “His future in the Dodgers’ organization is cloudy due to their expensive four-player logjam; Carl CrawfordAndre EthierMatt Kemp and Yasiel Puig are all under contract through at least 2017. [Pederson] represents a significant trade chip if they need to acquire an impact player at the deadline, though.”

Joc Pederson’s career stats

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