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Israel’s WBC roster taking shape

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, Editor

Here are your minor-league highlights from the week of August 29 – September 4, 2016.

New additions

Jewish Baseball News welcomes three more players to its list of professional ballplayers. All three will play for Team Israel later this month in the World Baseball Classic qualifiers in Brooklyn.

  • Tyler Herron (Mets/AAA) is a 30-year-old right-hander out of Florida. Herron was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals out of high school in the 1st round of the 2005 amateur draft. The Mets are his fourth MLB franchise.
  • CF Braden Bishop (Mariners/High-A) is a 23-year-old California native who attended the University of Washington. Seattle drafted him in the 3rd round in 2015.
  • Troy Neiman (Rockies/High-A) is a 25-year-old right-hander out of California. Colorado signed the Cal-State Chico alum as an undrafted free agent in 2013.

Another player on the roster for Team Israel, CF Ty Kelly, was called-up by the Mets on September 1 and therefore is unlikely to be available for the WBC qualifiers. Although his mother was raised Jewish, Kelly does not identify as Jewish, so Jewish Baseball News does not track his statistics.

Jewish Baseball News Hitter of the Week

RF Rhett Wiseman (Nationals/A) hit .346 with 3 HRs, a double, 7 RBIs, and 2 stolen bases. He’s hitting .249 with 13 HRs, 25 doubles, 5 triples, 73 RBIs, and 18 stolen bases.

Jewish Baseball News Pitcher of the Week

P Rob Kaminsky (Indians/AA) earned 2 wins last week, pitching 7.1 innings of one-run ball on August 29, and 7 innings of 3-run ball on September 3. A 1st-round pick of the Cardinals in the 2013 draft, Kaminsky is 11-7 this season with a 3.28 ERA. He went 5-0 in August with a 1.78 ERA.

Other highlights

3B Scotty Burcham (Rockies/A) had a strong week, hitting .545 with a double, triple, 3 RBIs, 2 walks, and 2 stolen bases. The 2015 draftee had three multi-hit games, including one with 4 hits and another with 3.

1B Nate Freiman (Red Sox/AA) hit .273 with a home run, double, 5 RBIs, and 3 walks.

LF Zach Borenstein (Diamondbacks/AAA) hit .294 with 2 home runs and a double.

C Michael Barash (Angels/A), a 2016 draftee, went 4-for-10 with a home run, a walk, and 3 RBIs.

3B Mitchell Kranson (Twins/rookie), a 2016 draftee, went 3-for-5 on September 4 with 2 singles, a double, and 4 RBIs.

LF Mike Meyers (Red Sox/High-A) hit .333 with 2 doubles, a walk, 3 RBIs, and a stolen base.

C Garrett Stubbs (Astros/AA) hit .385 with 2 doubles, a walk, on RBI, and a stolen base.

In the first Triple-A start of his 8-year minor-league career, P Tyler Herron (Mets/AAA) earned a win September 1, giving up 2 earned runs on 3 hits and 3 walks over 6.2 innings while striking out 7.

P Corey Baker (Cardinals/AA) bounced back from a tough outing on August 30 to earn a win on September 4, pitching 5 shutout innings on 3 hits and 3 walks while striking out 2. Baker also went 1-for-2 at the plate.

P Dean Kremer (Dodgers/A), a 2016 draftee, held opponents scoreless in two separate 3-inning relief appearances, yielding a total of 2 hits and no walks while striking out 9. Since being promoted to Single-A, Kremer is 2-0 with a 0.59 ERA, yielding just 4 hits over 15.1 innings while striking out 22.

P Joey Wagman (Athletics/High-A) was near perfect in two relief appearances, yielding no hits and one walk across a combined 5 innings while striking out 8.

P Gabe Cramer threw 3 shutout innings over two appearances, yielding one hit and no walks while striking out 2.

P Max Fried (Braves/A) didn’t get a decision on September 3, but he did strike out 10 batters over 4.2 innings. It was his second consecutive 10-strikeout game.

P Brad Goldberg (White Sox/AAA) shut out his opponents in two one-inning relief appearances and earned his 10th save of the season.

P Raul Jacobson (Mets/A-short-season) pitched 6 shutout innings to earn a win on September 3, yielding 4 hits and 2 walks while striking out 1.

Transactions

  • The Pirates promoted P Henry Hirsch to Double-A. It is his first time playing at that level.
  • The Mets promoted P Tyler Herron to Triple-A.
  • The Rays promoted P Kenny Rosenberg, a 2016 draftee, from the rookie Gulf Coast League to the rookie Appalachian League.
  • The Pirates released 23-year-old C Nate Irving, a 2014 draftee who hit .276 in 2015 but hasn’t played since then.
  • P Jake Drossner (Brewers/A) came off the disabled list.
  • LF Jake Thomas (Blue Jays/A) went on the disabled list.

Disabled list

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Minor-League Monday (August 22-28, 2016)


By Scott Barancik, Editor

Here are your minor-league highlights from the week of August 22-28, 2016.

New additions

Jewish Baseball News welcomes two more players to its list of professional ballplayers.

The first is P Joey Wagman (Athletics/High-A), a 25-year-old reliever out of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. The second is 3B Scotty Burcham, a 23-year-old Sacramento State alum. Both are on Team Israel’s roster for the upcoming World Baseball Classific qualifying tournament in Brooklyn. Welcome, gentlemen!

Jewish Baseball News Hitter of the Week

1B Nate Freiman (Red Sox/AA) hit .273 with a home run, 3 doubles, 6 walks, and 9 RBIs last week. The highlight came August 24, when the former Oakland Athletic went 2-for-3 with two walks, an RBI double, and a three-run, walk-off bomb in the 9th inning (see video above). Freiman leads the Portland Sea Dogs with 55 RBIs.

Jewish Baseball News Pitcher of the Week

P Raul Jacobson (Mets/A-short-season) was dominant on August 23. In only his fourth start of the season, the second-year pro allowed just 3 hits and one earned run over 6 innings, walking none and striking out 8. Jacobson is 2-1 at the short-season level, with a 2.09 ERA, 2 saves in 2 chances, 41 strikeouts, and only 7 walks in 38.2 innings.

Other highlights

After being selected by the Marlins in the sixth-round of the 2015 draft, Marlins prospect Justin Cohen got off to a quick start last year, hitting .321 with 2 HRs and 12 RBIs in 56 at-bats before landing on the disabled list. Last week, the 19-year-old DH returned to the lineup after a hiatus of more than 12 months, going 4-for-15 with an RBI and two walks.

C Garrett Stubbs (Astros/AA) hit .313 with a double, triple, stolen base, and a walk. In 28 games since being promoted to Double-A, the 2015 draftee is hitting .318 with 4 HRs, 15 RBIs, a .398 on-base percentage, and .514 slugging percentage.

1B Jeremy Wolf (Mets/rookie) hit .258 last week with 2 doubles, a home run, 2 walks, and 6 RBIs. A 2016 draftee, he is hitting .291, and he leads the Kingsport Mets in HRs (4/tied), RBIs (31), and slugging percentage (.448).

In two six-inning starts last week, P Max Fried (Braves/A), Fried won one and lost one, yielding a total of 10 hits, 4 walks, and 6 earned runs. He also struck out 16 batters, including 10 alone on August 28. The 22-year-old has 102 strikeouts in 98.1 innings this season.

P Brandon Gold (Rockies/A-short-season), a 2016 draftee, pitched 3 shutout innings on August 26, yieldings 2 hits and no walks while striking out one.

P Brad Goldberg (White Sox/AAA) held opponents scoreless in two relief appearances, stretching his streak to 5. In 3 combined innings, he yielded one hit and one walk while striking out 4.

In four games since being promoted to Single-A, P Dean Kremer (Dodgers) is 2-0 with a 0.96 ERA. He has given up just 2 hits and 4 walks over 9.1 innings while striking out 13.

P Jared Lakind (Pirates/AA) was nearly perfect in three relief appearances, yielding just one hit and no walks while striking out 2 in a combined 4 innings.

Transactions

  • The Mets promoted P Josh Zeid to Triple-A.
  • The Marlins activated second-year DH Justin Cohen (rookie) from the disabled list
  • The Brewers activated C Tim Remes (A) from the disabled list.

Disabled list

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