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Browsing Posts tagged Michael Fagan

By Scott Barancik, Editor

Here are your minor-league highlights from the week of May 29 – June 4, 2017. Members of Team Israel’s 2017 squad are marked with an asterisk:

rickles phils mug


Jewish Baseball News Hitter of the Week: Nick Rickles*

Nick Rickles* (Phillies/AA) hit .385 (5-for-13) in his first full week with the Philadelphia Phillies franchise, highlighted by a two-HR, 5 RBI performance on June 3. It was the second two-HR game in his 7-year minor-league career and tied his career high for most RBIs in a game.

weiss tortugas mug


Jewish Baseball News Pitcher of the Week: Zack Weiss

  • Zack Weiss (Reds/High-A), who last played in 2015, finally escaped the disabled list and was nearly perfect in his two relief appearances last week, yielding one hit and no walks over a combined 2.1 innings while striking out 4.

Other highlights

  • P Brad Goldberg* (White Sox) was promoted from Triple-A on June 3 and made his Major League debut the same day. In the minors this season, Goldberg is 2-1 with a 1.99 ERA and 4 saves in 5 chances.
  • CF Braden Bishop (Mariners/High-A) hit .320 (8-for-25) with a double, 4 RBIs, 3 walks and 2 stolen bases. He leads the Modesto Nuts in batting average (.320), on-base percentage (.419), OPS (.844) and stolen bases (11 in 12 tries). Bishop has just one error in the outfield, giving him a .992 fielding percentage.
  • 1B Cody Decker* (Mets/AA) hit .368 (7-for-19) with 4 doubles and 4 RBIs. He leads the Binghamton Rumble Ponies with a .528 slugging percentage and an OPS of .902.
  • LF Mike Meyers* (Red Sox/High-A) hit .348 (8-for-23) with a double and 4 RBIs.
  • LF Jake Thomas (Blue Jays/AA) hit an RBI double in his Double-A debut on June 4.
  • P Corey Baker* (Cardinals/AA) held opponents scoreless in two relief outings, yielding 3 hits and no walks over a combined 3.2 innings while striking out 2.
  • P Ryan Sherriff (Cardinals/AAA) ran his scoreless relief streak to 10 innings over 8 appearances. He is 2-0 with a 3.65 ERA, 3 saves in 3 chances, and only 1.09 hits/walks per inning.


  • P Brad Goldberg* was called up by the Chicago White Sox on June 3 and made his MLB debut the same day.
  • LF Jake Thomas (Blue Jays/AA) was promoted from Single-A on June 3, skipping High-A entirely.
  • P Zack Weiss (Reds/High-A) came off the disabled list and made his season debut on May 31.
  • P Jason Richman (Rangers/High-A) was released on May 31.
  • P Kenny Rosenberg (Rays/A), who is 2-3 with a 3.95 ERA and a save so far this season, was assigned to extended spring training.
  • P Henry Hirsch, a former minor-leaguer with the Pirates, signed with the Long Island Ducks of the independent Atlantic League.
  • 3B Zach Goldstein, a Southern New Hampshire University third baseman who was named Northeast-10 Conference Baseball Player of the Year in 2017, signed with the Long Island Ducks of the independent Atlantic League. Playing in his first professional game on June 2, Goldstein went 1-for-3 with an RBI double.
  • C Nick Rickles* (Phillies/AA), who was traded by the Nationals in late May, made his debut with Philadelphia’s Double-A team on May 31.

Free agents

Disabled list

Note to readers: Minor-League Monday does not include stats for all current Jewish minor-leaguers. Click here for a complete list of players, and then click on a player’s name to be taken to his stat page.

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Minor-League Monday (May 9-15, 2016)

By Scott Barancik, Editor

Here they are, your minor-league updates from the week of May 9-15, 2016.


Astros #1 prospect Alex Bregman (AA) hit .286 with 2 HRs, 2 doubles, 5 RBIs, and 3 walks in the week ended May 15. He also made his first professional start at third base, a show of versatility that could ease his eventual rise to the Majors, given that Astros SS Carlos Correa is thought to have the shortstop position locked down. General manager Jeff Luhnow told that depending how Bregman does the rest of the season and what sort of spaces open up in Houston, it’s possible the 2015 draftee could be called up later this year. Bregman ranks 1st in the Texas League in on-base percentage (.420), 7th in batting average (.310) and home runs (7/tied), and is homering once in every 12 at-bats.

After enduring a crushing loss on May 9 (3 IP, 9 H, 7 ER, 3 HR, 2 BB, 0 K), St. Louis Cardinals prospect Corey Baker (AA) could have gone into a protracted funk. Instead, the 26-year-old righty rebounded with a dominant 6-inning performance on May 15, yielding one earned run on three hits and two walks while striking out six.

Pittsburgh Pirates prospect Jared Lakind (AA) had three scoreless relief appearances, striking out seven batters over a combined four innings while yielding just one hit and one walk. He also earned his second save of the season.

Washington Nationals prospect Rhett Wiseman (A) drove in eight runs over the week’s final three games to raise his season total to 21, tying him for 11th place in the South Atlantic League. Wiseman hit just .173 in April but is hitting .300 in May.

Pittsburgh Pirates prospect Henry Hirsch (High-A) picked up his first save of the season on May 15 with a perfect inning of relief. For the season, he’s 1-2 with a 3.22 ERA.

In his first week with the Boston Red Sox franchise, former major leaguer Nate Freiman (AA) hit .333 with 3 doubles, 6 RBIs, and 3 walks.

Boston Red Sox prospect Mike Meyers (High-A) hit his third triple, his first two doubles of the season, and drove in six runs to raise his season total to 18. Meyers, who’s hitting .304, is one of very few minor leaguers with more triples than doubles.

Houston Astros prospect Garrett Stubbs (High-A) has reached base safely on all seven steal attempts this season, and he has done so in just 64 at-bats.

Washington Nationals prospect R.C. Orlan (High-A) lowered his ERA to 1.59 with two scoreless relief appearances. He’s 1-0 with three saves in four chances, has held opposing batters to a .143 average, and has yielded just eight hits over 17 innings.

Texas Rangers prospect Jason Richman, a 2015 draftee, held opponents hitless in his first two Double-A relief appearances, yielding two walks over two innings.


Injury updates

  • Cleveland Indians prospect Rob Kaminsky (AA) was placed on the 7-day disabled list.
  • Cincinnati Reds prospect Zack Weiss (AA) remains on the disabled list.
  • Miami Marlins prospect Maxx Tissenbaum (A) remains on the disabled list.


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By Scott Barancik, editor

(Editor’s note: Coverage of the MLB amateur draft is a collaboration between Jewish Baseball News and our friends at Jewish Sports Review, a bi-monthly newsletter that tracks Jewish athletes in multiple sports around the globe. Click here for subscription information.)

At least six Jewish players were selected in MLB’s 2014 amateur draft, led by Princeton hurler Michael Fagan, a 9th-round pick.

It’s one of the smallest crops in years (although additional Jewish draftees may be identified as time passes). Last year, MLB teams drafted 13 Jewish players, and the 2012 and 2013 drafts both produced 1st-round Jewish picks. Several of this year’s players are not expected to sign.

But the 2014 crew is a talented group. Here is a first look at them, in order of draft selection.

Michael Fagan, 22

  • DOB: 5/12/1992
  • Parents: Bruce and Jan Fagan
  • Twitter: @belikemike_31
  • Height: 6’0”
  • Weight: 195 lbs.
  • Position: LHP
  • School: Princeton
  • MLB team: Athletics
  • Round/Pick: 9/282

This wasn’t Michael Fagan’s first MLB draft. After graduating from San Diego Jewish Academy in 2010, his hometown Padres picked him in the 45th round. But the left-handed pitcher opted to attend Princeton instead.

It proved a wise choice. Fagan struggled mightily with the Princeton Tigers at first. Freshman and sophomore years, he had a combined 2-6 record and 10.93 ERA. Junior year, he went 1-4 with a 7.99 ERA. But after working on his fundamentals and seeing a sports psychologist (see article), he turned things around senior year. Fagan went 4-2 with a 2.33 ERA across nine starts, led the Ivy League with 77 strikeouts, issued just 18 walks, and was named to the All-Ivy League First Team.

Fagan was the sixth pitcher selected by Oakland in the 2014 draft but the first left-hander. He received a $20,000 signing bonus and reportedly has been assigned to play for the Vermont Lake Monsters, the franchise’s A-short-season team.

Julian Barzilli (Cardinals)

Julian Barzilli, 23

  • DOB: 11/16/1990
  • Parents: Ron and Lu Barzilli
  • Twitter: none
  • Height: 6’0”
  • Weight: 185 lbs.
  • Position: 3B
  • School: Whittier (CA)
  • Team: Cardinals
  • Round/Pick: 31/945

Another 21 rounds passed at the 2014 draft before the next Jewish player was selected, but Julian Barzulli was worth the wait.

Consider Barzulli’s 2014 season, for which the Whittier Poet — yes, they are called the Poets — was named the ABCA/Rawlings Division III West Region Player of the Year. The 23-year-old third baseman hit .390, led all Division III players with 17 HRs — including a three-HR performance against Occidental on March 29 — drove in 52 runs, and ranked third overall with an .851 slugging percentage. Despite being a power hitter, he walked more often (27) than he struck out (25).

Just the seventh Poet to be drafted since 1965, Barzulli led the college to its first-ever post-season appearance in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. He’s not the only baseballing Barzulli; brother Elliott just finished his freshman season with the Georgia Tech team.

St. Louis has assigned Barzilli to the GCL Cardinals, a rookie-league team.

Nate Irving (Arizona)

Nate Irving, 21

  • DOB: 10/17/1992
  • Parents: Jonathan and Rheva Irving
  • Twitter: @UVAJuliusirving
  • Height: 6’0”
  • Weight: 230 lbs.
  • Position: C
  • School: Virginia
  • Team: Diamondbacks
  • Round/Pick: 34/1,020

Before the 2014 draft, Baseball America ranked Virginia junior Nate Irving the #354th best player in the pool. The publication called him a “contact-oriented hitter” who walks more than he strikes out and “makes up for his power deficiency with advanced plate discipline and knowledge of the strike zone.”

Defensively, Irving was more than solid, making only 3 errors in 2014 and tossing out 12 of 26 base stealers. “A catch-and-throw backstop with intangibles,” Baseball America noted.

Perhaps too intangible for some. For unknown reasons, Irving was drafted 1,020th overall, well below his projected slot.

Bradley Wilpon (Boston)

Bradley Wilpon, 18

  • DOB: 8/9/1995
  • Parents: Jeff and Valerie Wilpon
  • Twitter: @Mistahbrad95
  • Height: 5’10”
  • Weight: 175 lbs.
  • Position: RHP
  • School: Brunswick H.S. (CT)
  • Team: Red Sox
  • Round/Pick: 36/1,094

One of two 18-year-olds selected in the draft, Bradley Wilpon began his high-school career with a splash, tossing a no-hitter in his first start as a freshman on on the varsity squad. He finished well, too, compiling a 5-1 record his senior year with a 1.54 ERA.

He comes from a baseball family. Grandfather Fred Wilpon is principal owner of the New York Mets, and father Jeff Wilpon is the franchise’s chief operating officer. But the family’s talent extends beyond the front office. Jeff, a catcher, was selected by the Seattle Mariners in the 5th round of the 1982 draft and by the Montreal Expos in the 4th round of the 1983 draft.

Wilpon is expected to play baseball at the University of Pennsylvania this Fall rather than sign with Boston.

Keith Weisenberg (Toronto)

Keith Weisenberg, 18

  • DOB: 12/6/1995
  • Parents: Marc and Sheryl Weisenberg
  • Twitter: @KWeis_
  • Height: 6’5”
  • Weight: 195 lbs.
  • Position: RHP
  • School: Osceola H.S. (FL)
  • Team: Blue Jays
  • Round/Pick: 38/1,134
  • scouting video

A 6’5″ high schooler whose fastball touches 95 mph, Keith Weisenberg was projected to go as high as the first two rounds of the 2014 draft. Baseball America ranked him the #70 player in the draft pool.

Stats tell part of the story. In 2014, the 18-year-old went 9-2 with a 1.09 ERA and 88 strikeouts in 64 innings. He also hit .329 with 2 HRs and 15 RBIs. On top of that, Weisenberg graduated summa cum laude this year and was a member of the National Honor Society.

Said Baseball America: “The ball jumps from Weisenberg’s hand and he pitches off a fastball with plus life. It plays up beyond its pure velocity readings with downhill plane, arm-side run and sink. Weisenberg, who spots up effectively to both sides of the plate, has a minimal-effort delivery with a loose arm that looks like he is playing catch and will likely allow him to have above-average control.” also enthused. “It’s rare for a top high school right-hander out of Florida to be described as projectable, but it’s a label that fits Weisenberg well.”

But MLB teams knew he planned to attend Stanford unless they made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. Instead, they let him go until the late rounds, so Stanford it is. Weisenberg will be eligible for the draft again after his junior year, in 2017.

Kyle Ruchim (St. Louis)

Kyle Ruchim, 21

  • DOB: 8/11/1992
  • Parents: Mitch Ruchim and Karen Ruchim
  • Twitter: @RucDaddy
  • Height: 5’10”
  • Weight: 180 lbs.
  • Position: 2B
  • School: Northwestern
  • Team: Cardinals
  • Round/Pick: 39/1,185

The final known Jewish player selected in the draft — and the second taken by St. Louis — Northwestern’s Kyle Ruchim had a phenomenal junior year in 2013. He ranked 4th in the Big Ten in batting average (.365), 3rd in OBP (.441), and 4th in slugging (.513). Although he was drafted as a second baseman, Ruchim assembled a 4-4 pitching record during his first three years of college, earning 14 saves and striking out 86 batters in 72 innings.

Senior year, Northwestern named him team captain, and Perfect Game named him one of the top 100 college seniors in the country. Unfortunately, the two-time Academic All-Big Ten selection played just two games in 2014 before being injured and undergoing season-ending surgery. St. Louis drafted him anyway.

Ruchim graduated this year with a degree in biology. He’s reportedly likely to sign with the Cardinals, although returning to Northwestern for a 4th season is an option.

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Tally of Jews in MLB draft reaches 11

JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — The running count of Jews chosen in last month’s MLB amateur draft has reached 11.

Jewish Baseball News last reported that at least six of the 1,500 players selected in the three-day draft were Jewish. Since then, our friends at Jewish Sports Review have identified another five Jews, shown below in red. Where possible, we list the signing status of each player, and which minor-league squad they have been assigned to, if any:

  1. Jake Lemmerman, SS (Los Angeles Dodgers: 5th round, 172th overall pick). Background: Duke University. Status: Signed.  Playing for the Ogden Raptors (Rookie Pioneer League).
  2. Zach Weiss, P (Pittsburgh Pirates: 10th round, 297th overall pick). Background: Northwood High School, Irvine, Calif. Status: Not signed. May play at UCLA instead.
  3. Jason Markovitz, RP (Seattle Mariners: 13th round, 402nd overall pick): Background: Long Beach State. Status: Signed. Playing for the Everett AquaSox (Class A-short season).
  4. Andrew Pevsner, P (Los Angeles Dodgers: 16th round, 502nd overall pick). Background: Johns Hopkins University. Status: Signed. Playing for the Ogden Raptors (Rookie Pioneer League).
  5. Mike Schwartz, 1B (Chicago White Sox: 17th round, 518th overall pick). Background: University of Tampa. Status: Signed. Playing for the Bristol White Sox (Rookie Applachian League).
  6. Eric Jaffe, 1B/P (Boston Red Sox: 19th round, 593rd overall pick). Background: Bishop O’Dowd High School, Oakland, Calif. Status: Not signed.
  7. Jeremy Gould, P (New York Mets: 28th round, 842nd overall pick). Background: Duke University. Status: Signed. Playing for the GCL Mets (Rookie Gulf Coast League) .
  8. Jeff Urlaub, P (Oakland A’s: 30th round, 905th pick). Background: Grand Canyon University. Status: Signed. Playing for the AZL Athletics (Rookie Arizona League).
  9. Zach Kapstein, C (Boston Red Sox: 44th round, 1343th pick). Backgound: Tiverton High School, Little Compton, R.I. Status: Signed. Playing for the GCL Red Sox (Rookie Gulf Coast League).
  10. Michael Fagan, SP (San Diego Padres: 45th round, 1354th pick). Status: Not signed. According to his school’s web site, Fagan “has decided to delay his professional (baseball) career and attend Princeton University in the Fall.”
  11. Harris Fanaroff, P (Washington Nationals: 50th round, 1496th pick). Status: Not signed. Will likely attend Lehigh University in the Fall.

Although he was not selected in the 2010 amateur draft, Lehigh University SP Andrew Berger attended a couple of the post-draft MLB tryouts as a free agent and later signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Berger is playing for the Yakima Bears (Class A-short season).



JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — The running count of Jews chosen in this month’s MLB amateur draft has reached six.

Harrison Fanaroff, a high-school pitcher out of Potomac, Md., was selected by the Washington Nationals in the draft’s 50th and final round (1,496th overall). According to Washington Jewish Week, Fanaroff was thrilled to be picked but, as of last week, was leaning toward attending Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa. According to an earlier article by the same reporter, Jeff Seidel, Fanaroff and other Jewish players accounted for more than half the baseball team at Churchill High School this year.

The Nationals, of course, are home to starting pitcher Jason Marquis, who has been on the disabled list since April 19.

On 6/10/2010, Jewish Baseball News reported the names of five other Jews selected in this year’s amateur draft. Here is an update on their status:

  • Jake Lemmerman, SS (Los Angeles Dodgers: 5th round, 172th overall pick). Status: Signed.  Playing for the Ogden Raptors (Rookie Pioneer League).
  • Jason Markovitz (Seattle Mariners: 13th round, 402nd overall pick): Status: Signed. Playing for the Everett AquaSox (Class A-short season).
  • Mike Schwartz (Chicago White Sox: 17th round, 518th overall pick). Status: Signed. Playing for the Bristol White Sox (Rookie Applachian League).
  • Jeremy Gould (New York Mets: 28th round, 842nd overall pick). Status: Signed. Team placement unknown.
  • Michael Fagan (San Diego Padres: 45th round, 1354th pick). Status: Not signed. According to his school’s web site, Fagan “has decided to delay his professional (baseball) career and attend Princeton University in the fall.”

Thanks to Jewish Baseball News fan Dan Gordon for the tip on Harris Fanaroff.



Jews in the MLB draft

JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — At least five Jewish players were selected in this week’s MLB amateur draft, two of them out of Duke University.

They include:

  • Jake Lemmerman (Los Angeles Dodgers: 5th round, 172th overall pick). A 6’2″ shortstop who just completed his junior year at Duke (Div. I), Lemmerman led his team in eight offensive categories this season, including slugging percentage (.569) and on-base percentage (.418), and had the best fielding percentage of any ACC shortstop (.987).
  • Jason Markovitz (Seattle Mariners: 13th round, 402nd overall pick). A 6’3″ relief pitcher from Long Beach State (Div. I), Markovitz finished the 2010 season with a team-leading 2.93 ERA, held opposing batters to a second-best .220 batting average, and struck out an impressive 34 batters in 27.33 innings pitched.
  • Mike Schwartz (Chicago White Sox: 17th round, 518th overall pick). A 6’0″ first baseman from the University of Tampa (Div. II), Schwartz was the Sunshine State Conference 2010 Player of the Year, led the nation in walks (75), and led his team in batting average (.415), slugging percentage (.716) and on-base percentage (.596).
  • Jeremy Gould (New York Mets: 28th round, 842nd overall pick). A 6’4″ outfielder and relief pitcher from Duke (Div. I), Gould ranked 3rd on the team in home runs (7) and on-base percentage (.386), and 2nd in ERA (4.76).
  • Michael Fagan (San Diego Padres: 45th round, 1354th pick). A pitcher at the San Diego Jewish Academy (high school), Fagan led his team in ERA (0.78), struck out 103 batters in just 45 innings pitched, and led all batters in slugging percentage (.674). According to his school’s web site, Fagan “has decided to delay his professional (baseball) career and attend Princeton University in the fall.”

Ephraim Moxson of Jewish Sports Review says he and co-editor Shel Wallman are busily contacting other players drafted by the MLB in an attempt to identify additional Jews.

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