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Browsing Posts tagged Joc Pederson

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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By Scott Barancik/Jewish Baseball News

Here are highlights from minor-league games played on Sunday, April 7:

  • Joc Pederson, ranked the Los Angeles Dodgers’ #4 prospect by Baseball America, went a combined 3-for-7 with two HRs, a double, and 3 RBIs. Pederson is an outfielder with the Chattanooga Lookouts (AA).
  • New York Mets prospect Josh Satin went 2-for-4 with a double to raise his average to .412. Satin plays for the Las Vegas 51s (AAA).
  • In his first start of the 2013 season, Tampa Bay Rays prospect Sean Bierman pitched 5 innings of one-hit ball. Bierman plays for the Bowling Green Hot Rods (A).
  • Seattle Mariners prospect David Colvin pitched two and 1/3 perfect innings. Colvin plays for the High Desert Mavericks (High-A).

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By Scott Barancik/Jewish Baseball News

With the regular season now underway, we’re taking a quick look back at how Jewish players performed in spring training.

The sheer number who played was impressive: a total of at least 24 Jews — 18 position players and six pitchers — got on the field for at least one MLB game this spring.


Collectively,  position players hit .255 with 14 HRs and 64 RBIs in 384 at-bats (see table below). Several stood out:

  • Kevin Youkilis had an eye-popping debut with the New York Yankees. He led all Jewish players (as well as all Yankees) with 6 HRs, 6 doubles and 14 RBIs in just 50 at-bats, along with an .800 slugging percentage and a 1.139 OPS (on-base plus slugging).
  • New York Mets prospect Josh Satin made the most of his 16 plate appearances, cobbling together 3 singles, 2 doubles, 5 walks, and 3 RBIs to amass a .455 batting average and .647 on-base percentage.
  • Ike Davis, another Met, showed great poise at the plate, hitting .327 with 4 doubles, 1 HR, and 4 RBIs. Davis’s 9 walks boosted his on-base percentage to a healthy .431.
  • Danny Valencia lost his fight for a spot on the Baltimore Orioles’ opening-day roster but made a good impression on his new team, hitting .323 with 1 HR, 4 RBIs, and a .417 on-base percentage.
  • Maxx Tissenbaum, a 21-year-old San Diego Padres prospect with one minor-league season under his belt, knocked in 3 runs in just 4 at-bats.
  • St. Louis Cardinals prospect Adam Ehrlich walked in both of his plate appearances, St. Louis Cardinals prospect Charlie Cutler singled in his only appearance of the spring, and San Diego Padres prospect Cody Decker went 3-for-6 with a double.

Final hitting stats, 2013 MLB Spring Training

Ryan BraunMIL1023636.261.357
Charlie CutlerSTL111001.0001.000
Ike DavisNYM21551815.327.431
Cody DeckerSD26300.500.500
Adam EhrlichSTL30000-1.000
Nate Freiman*HOU/OAK25541319.241.268
Sam FuldTB820514.250.286
Adam GreenbergBAL21000.000.000
Ben GuezDET11000.000.000
Ian KinslerTEX24631419.222.292
Ryan LavarnwayBOS1644606.136.188
Jake LemmermanSTL11000.000.000
Joc PedersonLAD710101.100.182
Kevin PillarTOR79100.111.111
Josh SatinNYM1211503.455.647
Maxx TissenbaumSD44103.250.400
Danny ValenciaBAL17311014.323.417
Kevin YoukilisNYY185014614.280.339
* Now with Oakland A's
Source: Jewish Baseball News collection of data from,, and



Among the six Jewish pitchers who played in at least one spring training game (see below), these ones stood out:

  • Houston Astros prospect Josh Zeid went 1-0 with a 1.50 ERA in six relief appearances, held opposing players to a .235 batting average, and drew 3.33 times as many groundouts as flyouts.
  • San Diego Padres veteran Jason Marquis went 1-1 with a 3.74 ERA in six starts and held opponents to a .239 batting average.
  • Toronto Blue Jays prospect Michael Schwimer earned a 3.00 ERA in three relief appearances and limited opposing teams to a .182 batting average.
  • Scott Feldman stood out for less desirable reasons. The newly-minted Chicago Cub went 0-3 with an 11.25 ERA, gave up nearly 2 hits per inning, yielded 7 HRs, and got lit up by opposing batters to the tune of a .396 average.

Final pitching stats, 2013 MLB Spring Training

1Jeremy BleichNYY000.0010.1000
2Scott FeldmanCHC0311.25620.038617
3Jason MarquisSD113.74621.2211515
4Danny Rosenbaum*COL214.5068.0930
5Michael SchwimerTOR003.0033.0224
6Josh ZeidHOU101.5066.0442
* Now with Washington Nationals
Source: Jewish Baseball News collection of data from,, and

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