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It’s here: Team Israel reveals its roster

By Scott Barancik/Jewish Baseball News

The long wait to see which players will represent Israel at World Baseball Classic qualifiers this week is over.

Team Israel’s 28-man roster (see below) includes two former Major Leaguers (player/coaches Shawn Green and Gabe Kapler), three Israelis, and 23 minor-leaguers. Because the MLB season is still underway, no current Major Leaguers are on the roster. Also missing are a number of Triple-A and even Double-A players whose teams wanted them around as potential call-ups later this month.

The double-elimination tournament takes place Sept. 19-23 in Jupiter, Fla., and pits Israel against teams from France, Spain, and South Africa. Whoever prevails will earn a spot in the main World Basic Classic competition, in November 2013. If Israel wins, the team it fields in 2013 likely will include a number of Major Leaguers (such as Kevin Youkilis, who already has committed to play) and Triple-A players.

Additional commentary on this week’s roster is shown below the table.

Team Israel: Roster for the WBC qualifying tourney
No.PlayerPos.AgeHometownMinor-league teamParent club
27COLVIN, DavidRHP23Mill Valley, CAClinton LumberKings (A)Seattle Mariners
34KAPLAN, JeffRHP27Dana Point, CABinghamton Mets (AA)New York Mets
36KOPP, DavidRHP26Coral Springs, FLErie SeaWolves (AA)Detroit Tigers
16LEICHMAN, AlonRHP23Kibbutz Gezer, IsraelN.A.N.A.
22LIPETZ, ShlomoRHP33Tel Aviv, IsraelN.A.N.A.
10LORIN, BrettRHP25Laguna Niguel, CAMobile Bay Bears (AA)Arizona Diamondbacks
21PERLMAN, MaxRHP24Jupiter, FLStockton Ports (A+)Oakland A's
(-)ROTHEM, DanRHP35Tel Aviv, IsraelN.A.N.A.
26SCHUMER, JustinRHP24Houston, TXSan Jose Giants (A+)San Francisco Giants
28ZEID, JoshRHP25New Haven, CTCorpus Christi Hooks (AA)Houston Astros
14BERGER, EricLHP26Goldsboro, NCColumbus Clippers (AAA)Cleveland Indians
35BLEIER, RichardLHP25Davie, FLFrisco Roughriders (AA)Texas Rangers
17GOULD, JeremyLHP24Buffalo Grove, ILSavannah Sand Gnats (A)New York Mets
29URLAUB, JeffLHP25Scottsdale, AZStockton Ports (A+)Oakland A's
37CUTLER, CharlieC26San Fransico, CAAltoona Curve (AA)Pittsburgh Pirates
3MARDER, JackC/IF22Calabasas, CAHigh Desert Mavericks (A+)Seattle Mariners
19RICKLES, NickC22Ft. Lauderdale, FLBurlington Bees (A+)Oakland A's
6DECKER, Cody1B25Santa Monica, CASan Antonio Missions (AA)San Diego Padres
25FREIMAN, Nate1B25Wellesley, MASan Antonio Missions (AA)San Diego Padres
9ORLOFF, Ben2B25Simi Valley, CACorpus Christi Hooks (AA)Houston Astros
2SATIN, Josh2B27Hidden Hills, CABuffalo Bisons (AAA)New York Mets
33HAERTHER, Casey3B24West Hills, CAArkansas Travelers (AA)Los Angeles Angels
7LEMMERMAN, JakeSS23Coronoa del Mar, CAChattanooga Lookouts (AA)Los Angeles Dodgers
15GREEN, ShawnOF39Des Plaines, ILN.A.N.A.
24GUEZ, BenOF25Houston, TXToledo Mud Hens (AAA)Detroit Tigers
18KAPLER, GabeOF37Hollywood, CAN.A.N.A.
31PEDERSON, JocOF20Palo Ato, CARancho Cucamonga Quakes (A+)Los Angeles Dodgers
23WIDLANSKY, RobbieOF/3B27Plantation, FLBowie Baysox (AA)Baltimore Orioles

Here are some other facts and observations on Team Israel’s roster for the qualifiers:

  • Of the 23 minor leaguers on the roster, three ended the 2012 season with a Triple-A team, 12 at the Double-A level, six at A-advanced, and two with a Single-A team.
  • Adam Greenberg, a former Major Leaguer who is trying to mount a comeback, was invited to Jupiter for tryouts but is not on the roster.
  • Josh Satin, who played briefly for the New York Mets in 2011 and 2012, is the only player with MLB experience.
  • The youngest player on the roster is 20-year-old outfielder Joc Pederson, who is ranked the Los Angeles Dodgers’ No. 3 prospect by MLB.com. The oldest player is 39-year-old Shawn Green, whose 15-year MLB career included five seasons with the Dodgers and ended with the New York Mets in 2007. Green’s 328 career HRs are second only to Hank Greenberg’s 331 among Jewish ballplayers.
  • Israeli player Alon Leichman plays for Cypress College, a community college in California.
  • During the qualifiers for the 2012 European Championship, Israeli pitcher Shlomo Lipetz was masterful, giving up just one earned run over 16-and-a-third innings while striking out 18 and walking three.
  • Three players on Team Israel are 6-foot-7-inches tall: pitchers Brett Lorin and Max Perlman, and 1B Nate Freiman. At 5-foot-8-inches, Alon Leichman is the shortest.
  • Nate Freiman and Cody Decker, teammates on the San Antonio Missions (AA), finished 2nd and 3rd in HRs this season among Texas League players.

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Kinsler is not really alone

JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — Texas Rangers 2B Ian Kinsler may be the only Jew playing in the 2010 World Series, but he’s got some company in the Minor Leagues.

Both World Series teams have Jewish players in their farm systems. And while none is likely to make the Majors in 2011, a couple show some promise.

The San Francisco Giants employ at least three tribe members:

  • C Aaron Lowenstein, 25, of the “AA” Richmond Flying Squirrels. Selected in the 44th round (1,137th overall) of the 2008 amateur draft. Split the 2010 season between the Squirrels and the “A-advanced” San Jose Giants. Hit a combined .194 with 0 HRs, 4 RBIs and 5 doubles over 93 at-bats.
  • SP Ari Ronick, 24, of the “A” Augusta GreenJackets. Selected in the 12th round (357th overall) of the 2008 amateur draft. In three 2010 starts, Ronick went 0-2 with a 10.80 ERA.
  • SP Justin Schumer, 22,  “A-short season” Salem-Keizer Volcanoes. Not drafted. Split the 2010 season between the Volcanoes and the “rookie-league” AZL Giants. In 5 starts and 4 relief appearances, went a combined 2-0 with a 1.00 ERA and held opposing batters to a .196 average.

As for the Rangers, Kinsler teammate and SP Scott Feldman didn’t make the post-season roster, but at least 2 Jews play for the franchise’s “AA” squad:

  • SP Richard Bleier, 23, of the “AA” Frisco RoughRiders. Selected in the 6th round (183rd overall) of the 2008 amateur draft. In 2010, went 7-11 with a 5.04 ERA but had a strikeout/walk ratio of 82/28.
  • SP Michael Schlact, 24, of the “AA” Frisco RoughRiders. Selected in the 3rd round (81st overall) of the 2004 amateur draft. Split the 2010 between Frisco and the “A-advanced” Bakersfield Blaze. Went a combined 4-5 with a 6.08 ERA.

Schlact, a 6’7″ right-hander, is the only player among those mentioned to skip college. He was drafted out of Wheeler High School in Marietta, Ga.

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Three more minor-leaguers identified

JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — The September/October issue of Jewish Sports Review identified three more Jews playing minor-league baseball, all of them right-handed starting pitchers:

  • Alex Kaminsky, formerly of Wright State University, signed a free-agent contract with the Cleveland Indians in June. In 14 starts with the “rookie-league” Mahoning Valley Scrappers, Kaminsky went 6-5 with a 2.48 ERA and 58 strikeouts in 69 innings. During the “AA” Akron Aeros season finale Monday (9/6/2010) — his lone outing with the team — he pitched 3 scoreless innings, allowing 2 hits and 2 walks while striking out a pair to earn the win. Fellow Jews on the Aeros include SP Eric Berger and 2B Jason Kipnis.
  • Justin Schumer, who schooled at the University of North Carolina at Asheville, signed a free-agent contract with the San Francisco Giants in July. Since then he has pitched three games for the “rookie-league” AZL Giants and six for the “A-short season” Salem-Keizer Volcanoes, assembling a combined record of 2-0 with a 1.00 ERA and .196 opponent batting average.
  • Mexico City native Mauricio Tabachnik, 20, is in his third season with the San Diego Padres’ franchise. In 2010, he went 3-4 with a 3.48 ERA, 42 strikeouts and 12 walks for the “A-short season” Eugene Emeralds.

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