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The 16 Jewish Cubs

The first Jewish Cub

The first Jewish Cub

By Scott Barancik, Editor

On September 5, 1927, Lefty Weinert tossed a 6-1, complete-game win over the St. Louis Cardinals in the first game of a doubleheader at Wrigley Field, yielding 5 hits and no earned runs.

It wasn’t just the 25-year-old southpaw’s Chicago Cubs premiere. It also marked the very first Jewish appearance in this storied franchise’s history.

Another lengthy dry spell would follow. The next Jewish Cub didn’t appear until September 7, 1942, when 23-year-old third baseman Cy Block went 2-for-4 with an RBI double in his Major League debut.

In time, the numbers grew. Through 2016, a total of 16 Jewish players had worn a Cubs uniform. The most recent: outfielder Ryan Kalish, who first played for Chicago in 2014 and earned a .444 on-base percentage in 10 plate appearances during the 2016 regular season.

 

Jewish Cubs

  1. Ryan Kalish, OF (2014, 2016)
  2. Scott Feldman, P (2013)
  3. John Grabow, P (2009-11)
  4. Sam Fuld, CF (2007, 2009-10)
  5. Jason Marquis, P (2007-08)
  6. Adam Greenberg, CF (2005)
  7. Andrew Lorraine, P (1999-2000)
  8. Jose J. Bautista, P (1993-94)
  9. Ken Holtzman, P (1965-71, 1978-79)
  10. Dave A. Roberts, P (1977-78)
  11. Steve Stone, P (1974-76)
  12. Art Shamsky, 1B (1972)
  13. Ed Mayer, P (1957-58)
  14. Hy Cohen, P (1955)
  15. Cy Block, 3B (1942, 1945-46)
  16. Lefty Weinert, P (1927-28)

The roster of Jewish Cubs is dominated by pitchers. Over the decades, a total of 11 hurlers have combined for 165 wins against 156 losses and a 4.07 ERA. Kenny Holtzman tossed two of the franchise’s 10 no-hitters and racked up 80 wins, tying him for 23rd-most in Cub history. Steve Stone, who also pitched for the White Sox, played three seasons with the Cubs before going on to earn a Cy Young Award with the Baltimore Orioles.

A partial box score from <a href=

Lefty Weinert's Chicago Cub debut on September 5, 1927 (click for full box score)" width="300" height="209" srcset="http://www.jewishbaseballnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/weinert-box-300x209.jpg 300w, http://www.jewishbaseballnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/weinert-box-120x84.jpg 120w, http://www.jewishbaseballnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/weinert-box.jpg 406w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" /> A partial box score from Lefty Weinert’s Chicago Cub debut on September 5, 1927 (click image for full box score)

Pitchers are so dominant on the list that they account for 75 percent of all at-bats by Jewish Cubs — and eight of nine Jewish home runs. Position players have hit .253 with a .343 on-base percentage for the Cubs but managed just one home run in 328 combined at-bats, a solo shot by CF Sam Fuld on the last day of the 2009 regular season.

Art Shamsky burned the Cubs twice. In 1969, the outfielder hit .300 with the New York Mets to help deliver Chicago its most devastating late-season collapse. In 1972, in the twilight of his career, Shamsky managed just two hits in his only 16 at-bats as a Cub.

Ryan Kalish played for the Cubs in 2014 and 2016

Ryan Kalish played for the Cubs in 2014 and 2016

Theo Epstein, the Cubs’ president of baseball operations, assembled the roster that led to the team’s 2016 World Series triumph. There were no Jewish players in uniform during the Cubs’ playoff run, however. Kalish, who hit .368 at Triple-A in 2016, was left off the Major League roster and declared his free agency on October 11.

There was one Jewish Cub in a World Series, if only briefly. Cy Block entered Game 6 of the 1945 Series against Hank Greenberg‘s Detroit Tigers as a pinch-runner in the 9th inning with the score tied 7-7. Although he didn’t cross home plate, Chicago went on to beat Detroit 8-7 in 12 innings despite a Greenberg home run.

Detroit, of course, won Game 7, launching what would be a 70-year World Series drought for the Cubs that would finally end, gloriously, in 2016.

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Minor-League Monday (Aug. 1-7, 2016)

By Scott Barancik, Editor

Here are your minor-league updates from the week of August 1-7, 2016.

Jewish Baseball News Hitter of the Week

C Andy Yerzy (Diamondbacks/rookie), a 2nd-round pick in the 2016 draft, hit .400 last week with a double, 5 RBIs, and a walk. The highlight was a 4-for-5 game on August 5.

Jewish Baseball News Pitcher of the Week

P Rob Kaminsky (Indians/AA) earned his sixth win on August 5, tossing 5 shutout innings. July was Kaminsky’s best month of the season, with the fourth-year going 3-2 with a 2.45 ERA and yielding just 1.12 walks/hits per inning.

Other highlights

On August 5, 1B Ike Davis (Yankees/AAA) went 3-for-4 with 2 home runs and 4 RBIs. Davis went hitless the rest of the week.

1B Cody Decker (Red Sox/AA) hit .348 last week with a double, triple, home run, 3 RBIs, and a walk.

C Ryan Gold (Blue Jays/rookie) went 4-for-8 a double, 2 RBIs, a walk, and an intentional walk. The 2016 draftee is hitting .347 over 18 games.

C Ryan Lavarnway (Blue Jays/AA) hit .421 with a home run, 4 RBIs, and 2 walks.

LF Mike Meyers (Red Sox/High-A) hit .304 with 1 double, 5 RBIs, three walks, and three stolen bases. For the season, he’s hitting .278 with 4 HRs, 60 RBIs, 23 stolen bases in 26 attempts, and a .339 on-base percentage.

OF Jeremy Wolf (Mets/rookie) hit .316 with a double, home run, 5 RBIs, and 3 walks.

In a start on August 5, P Corey Baker (Cardinals/AA) pitched 5 dominant innings, yielding one earned run on 2 hits and no walks while striking out 7 for the win.

Through August 5, reliever Henry Hirsch (Pirates/High-A) had 10 straight scoreless appearances. The last time he yielded an earned run was June 29.

Reliever Alex Katz (White Sox/A) delivered three scoreless appearances last week. In 5 combined innings, he yielded just one hit and two walks while striking out three.

Transactions

Craig Breslow (Rangers/AAA) was placed on the team’s temporary inactive list. However, WEEI.com reported that the Rangers actually released Breslow from his minor-league contract.

Disabled list

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Minor-League Monday (July 25-31, 2016)

By Scott Barancik, Editor

Here are your minor-league updates from the week of July 25-31, 2016.

Jewish Baseball News Player of the Week

LF Zach Borenstein (Diamondbacks/AAA) hit .600 last week with a home run, triple, 3 doubles, 4 RBIS, and a walk. This is his second straight Player of the Week award. In his first full season at Triple-A, the 26-year-old Illinois native is hitting .293 with 7 HRs, 4 triples, 21 doubles, 49 RBIs, and a .838 OPS.

Other highlights

CF Rhett Wiseman (Nationals/A) hit .333 with 2 HRs, a triple and a double, 7 RBIs, and 4 walks.

In his first full week since being promoted to Single-A, 2016 draftee Michael Barash (Angels) went 4-for-10 with a home run, double, and 3 RBIs.

OF Jeremy Wolf (Mets/rookie), a 31st-round draft pick in 2016, hit a scorching .615 last week with a triple, double, walk, 3 RBIs, and no strikeouts. He has a six-game hitting streak going.

C Dalton Blumenfeld (Angels/rookie) went 4-for-9 (.444) with a double, 5 RBIs, and a walk.

1B Nate Freiman (Red Sox/AA) hit .321 with 2 triples, 3 doubles, and 6 RBIs.

C Ryan Gold (Blue Jays/rookie), an 18-year-old draftee out of South Carolina, went 4-for-8 with two doubles.

After nearly a month on the disabled list, 2B Mason Katz (Cardinals/AA) went 2-for-4 on July 25 but then returned to the list. He is hitting .381 with 3 HRs and 7 RBIs in 42 Double-A at-bats this season.

P Gabe Cramer (Royals/A) pitched four no-hit innings over two appearances, striking out 5 and walking 3. He is 3-2 with a 2.48 ERA and 37 strikeouts in 29 innings.

In three relief appearances, P Scott Effross (Cubs/A) gave up just 2 hits and one walk over 5 innings while striking out 7 batters.

P Jake Fishman (Blue Jays/rookie), a 2016 draftee, earned his third straight perfect relief appearance last week. In his last three games, he has struck out 10 batters over a total of 6.2 innings while yielding no hits, walks, or runs.

In his last game before being promoted to Single-A, P Raul Jacobson (Mets) pitched 5 shutout innings, yielding just 2 hits and no walks while striking out 4.

P Kenny Rosenberg (Rays/rookie), a 2016 draftee, pitched 4 scoreless innings over two appearances, yielding 4 hits and a walk while striking out three. In 5 games with the GCL Rays, he is 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA and 13 strikeouts in 11 innings.

Transactions

C Michael Barash (Angels), a 2016 draftee, was promoted from rookie league to Single-A.

SS Alex Bregman (Astros) was called-up from Triple-A to the Majors.

P Raul Jacobson (Mets) was promoted from short-season to Single-A.

C Adam Sonabend (Giants/A) came off the disabled list after more than a month.

P Corey Baker (Cardinals) was demoted from Triple-A to Double-A.

Disabled list

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By Scott Barancik, Editor

Here are your minor-league updates from the week of July 18-24, 2016, a period shortened by All-Star games.

Jewish Baseball News Player of the Week

LF Zach Borenstein (Diamondbacks/AAA) hit .353 last week with a home run, 2 doubles, 5 RBIs, and a stolen base.

Debuts

P Marc Huberman (Cubs/rookie), an 18th-round pick out of USC in the 2016 draft, pitched a scoreless inning of relief in his pro debut on July 18, yielding one hit while striking out two batters.

Other highlights

SS Alex Bregman (Astros/AAA) started the week going 8-for-14 before going hitless in his next three games, something he’d done only once before all season. But that didn’t stop Houston from calling-up the 2015 draftee, who’s expected to make his MLB debut tonight against the Yankees. Bregman also was named the minor leagues’ top offensive player at midseason by MiLB.com.

C Ryan Lavarnway (Red Sox/AA) hit safely in all five games last week, going 6-for-17 (.353) with 2 doubles, 5 RBIs, and 4 walks.

1B Ike Davis (Yankees/AAA) hit .333 with a home run and a double, drove in 5 runs, and drew 5 walks against 3 strikeouts.

C Ryan Gold (Blue Jays/rookie) went 2-for-5 with his first professional home run on July 23, a three-run shot.

C Mitchell Kranson (Twins/rookie) hit .444 last week, highlighted by a 4-for-5, two-RBI performance on July 18.

LF Mike Meyers (Red Sox/High-A) hit safely in all five games, going 9-for-20 (.450) with a double, 3 RBIs, and 2 walks. Meyuers is hitting .409 in July, and his 52 RBIs are tied for ninth-best in the Carolina League.

C Garrett Stubbs (Astros/AA) hit .444 last week with 3 RBIs and a stolen base. Since his promotion to Double-A ball on July 4, the USC alum is hitting .368 with a home run, 7 RBIs, and 7 walks against 2 strikeouts.

OF Adam Walton (Diamondbacks/short season) went 4-for-11 last week with 2 RBIs and a walk.

P Jake Fishman (Blue Jays/rookie) tossed three perfect innings of relief on July 22, yielding no walks or hits while striking out 5 batters.

P Rob Kaminsky (Indians/AA) won his fourth decision in a row on July 21, pitching six innings of one-run ball. He yielded 6 hits and 2 walks while striking out 6.

P Dean Kremer was nearly flawless in his third pro outing, a three-inning relief stint on July 22 in which he yielded 1 hit and no walks while striking out 3.

P Kenny Rosenberg (Rays/rookie) threw three no-hit innings on July 21, yielding one walk while striking out 3.

P Josh Zeid (Mets/AA) pitched eight shutout innings for the win on July 21, yielding 4 hits and 2 walks while fanning 7.

Transactions

C Zach Kapstein (Orioles/High-A) came off the disabled list.

Second-year P Jason Richman (Rangers) was reassigned to Single-A. Across four levels (all the way up to Triple-A), Richman is 2-4 this season with a 2.79 ERA.

The Texas Rangers signed P Craig Breslow to a minor-league contract and assigned him to the franchise’s Triple-A team.

Disabled list

P Max Fried (Braves/A).

P Alec Grosser (Dodgers/High-A).

LF Ryan Kalish (Cubs/AAA). Appendicitis.

2B Mason Katz (Cardinals/AA). Hamstring.

P Jon Moscot (Reds/AAA). Elbow.

C Adam Sonabend (Giants/A).

P Zack Weiss (Reds/AA). Shoulder.

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By Scott Barancik, Editor

Here are your minor-league updates from the week of July 11-17, 2016, a period shortened by All-Star games.

Jewish Baseball News Player of the Week

For the third time this season — and the second week in a row — our Player of the Week is LF Mike Meyers (Red Sox/High-A). Meyers hit .375 with a double, 2 triples, 4 walks, and 5 RBIs. His 8 triples are tied for #1 in the Carolina League.

Debuts

Two recent draft picks made their debut last week.

C Jason Goldstein (Mariners/rookie), a 9th-round pick, was perfect in his pro debut on July 14. The 22-year-old University of Illinois alum had an RBI single in his only at-bat and threw out an attempted base-stealer who had been a perfect 8-for-8 in thefts up to that point.

In two relief outings, P Matthew Gorst (Red Sox/short-season) held batters scoreless, yielding 1 hit and 2 walks over 2.2 innings.

Other highlights

CF Rhett Wiseman hit safely in all five games last week, going 8-for-23 (.348) with a triple, 3 RBIs, and 1 stolen base in 3 attempts.

1B Ike Davis (Yankees/AAA) went 4-for-12 last week with a HR, 2 RBIs, and 2 walks.

1B Cody Decker (Boston/AA) went only 3-of-13 record at the plate and struck out six times, but he made his hits count, stroking two HRs and a double while driving in 4 runs.

C Ryan Gold (Blue Jays/rookie), a 2016 draftee, went 5-for-14 (.357) with a triple, RBI, and 3 walks.

P Gabe Cramer (Royals/A) pitched 4 scoreless innings across two appearances, striking out 6 batters while yielding 2 hits and a walk. He’s averaging 11.2 strikeouts per nine innings

Transactions

Second-year P Jason Richman (Rangers) was promoted to Triple-A.

P Josh Zeid (Mets) was demoted to Double-A.

The Miami Marlins released former MLB P Craig Breslow.

The Philadelphia Phillies released P Jeremy Bleich (AA).

Disabled list

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Minor-League Monday (July 4-10, 2016)

By Scott Barancik, Editor

Here are your minor-league updates from the week of July 4-10, 2016.

Jewish Baseball News Player of the Week

LF Mike Meyers (Red Sox/High-A) had another strong week, hitting .409 with a HR, double, 3 RBIs, 2 stolen bases, and his sixth triple of the season. He ranks second on the Salem Red Sox in RBIs (44), and fourth in stolen bases (18).

Debuts

Two 2016 draftees made their pro debuts last week.

C Andy Yerzy (Diamondbacks/rookie) went 3-for-4 in his pro debut on July 6 and finished the week 6-for-15 (.400) with 5 strikeouts.

P Brandon Gold (Rockies/short season) had a rough go of it in his first pro game, yielding 3 hits, a walk, a wild pitch, a grand-slam HR, and 3 earned runs without retiring a batter on July 6. (One batter reached base on an error.) But Gold was golden in his second appearance, striking out 2 batters in a perfect inning on July 9.

Other highlights

The latest minor-league player to be identified as Jewish is P Gabe Cramer (Royals/A). A second-year pro out of Stanford, Cramer is 2-1 with one save, a 2.79 ERA, and 23 strikeouts in 19.1 innings against just 9 walks. Last week he was dominant, yielding one hit and 2 walks over a combined 3.1 innings while striking out 8 batters.

In his second week of Triple-A ball, SS Alex Bregman (Astros) hit .316 with 3 HRs and 6 RBIs while striking out just once. He also tripled, doubled, and singled in the All-Star Futures Games on Sunday while playing both shortstop and third base.

C Michael Barash (Angels/rookie), a 2016 draftee, went 4-for-5 on July 8 with 3 singles, a grand-slam HR, and 6 RBIs. The round-tripper was his first as a pro.

C Nick Rickles (Nationals/AA) hit just .231 last week, but two of his three hits were home runs, including a two-run, walk-off shot on July 10.

In his first week of Double-A ball, C Garrett Stubbs (Astros/AA) hit .357 with a HR, 4 RBIs, 3 walks, and one strikeout.

P Max Fried (Braves/A) earned his seventh win against five losses on July 4. Entering the game in the second inning, he yielded 4 hits and a walk over 4 shutout innings while striking out 6.

P Brad Goldberg (White Sox/AAA) earned two saves last week and was added to roster of the International League All-Star team, which will face the Pacific Coast League’s All-Stars on July 13.

P Kenny Koplove (Phillies/High-A) pitched a combined 5 scoreless innings in two relief appearances, yielding 3 hits and a walk while fanning 3.

P Jared Lakind (Pirates/AA) was named an Eastern League All-Star. He’s 3-0 this season with 6 saves, a 1.80 ERA, and 45 strikeouts in 45 innings.

P Ryan Sherriff (Cardinals/AAA) earned his first save of the season on July 9, pitching 1.2 perfect innings while striking out 3 batters.

Transactions

P Josh Zeid (Mets) was promoted to Triple-A.

C Garrett Stubbs (Astros), a 2015 draftee, was promoted to Double-A.

The Atlanta Braves traded pitching prospect Alec Grosser to the Los Angeles Dodgers, which assigned him to a rookie-league squad.

The White Sox released OF Kyle Ruchim, a Northwestern alum who signed as an undrafted free agent in May 2016.

Disabled list

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By Scott Barancik, Editor

Here are your minor-league updates from the week of June 27-July 3, 2016.

Jewish Baseball News Player of the Week

What an incredible week for SS Alex Bregman (Astros). Last year’s #2 overall draft pick homered and went 2-for-3 in the Texas League (AA) All-Star game. He was named to the U.S. roster for MLB’s All-Star Futures Game. He was promoted to Houston’s Triple-A club — and didn’t shrink from the challenge. Oh, no. Bregman went 4-for-5 with 3 RBIs and a walk in his first game with the Fresno Grizzlies. And in the next four games, he homered four times, including twice on July 4. (Yes, we’re cheating a bit here by counting Bregman’s play on July 4. Technically, that’s next week’s news.) All told, Bregman is 10-for-21 (.476) with 4 HRs, 2 doubles, eleven RBIs, and 2 walks since being promoted. Curiously, he’s played all of his Triple-A games at shortstop, even though the Astros had begun moving him to third base in order to speed his ascent to the Majors.

Debuts

Three draftees made their pro debuts last week.

Dodgers draftee Dean Kremer (P/rookie league), the first Israeli citizen to be drafted by an MLB team, started Sunday’s game for the Orem Owlz. He pitched 1.1 innings, yielding 2 hits, 2 walks, and 2 earned runs.

Blue Jays draftee Ryan Gold (C/rookie league), an 18-year-old from South Carolina, went 2-for-8 in his first four games, contributing a single, double, 2 walks, and an RBI.

Rays draftee Kenny Rosenberg (P/rookie league) made his pro debut on July 2, yielding 2 hits and an earned run over 2 innings.

Other highlights

Add one more player to the list of 2016 draftees: OF David Oppenheim of USC.

C Michael Barash (Angels/rookie league) hit .333 with 2 doubles and 3 RBIs. Since his debut, he’s thrown out three of 13 attempted base-stealers.

LF Zach Borenstein (Diamondbacks/AAA) raised his RBI total to 37, but he’s also working on his speed. The 25-year-old added three stolen bases last week to boost his 2016 total to 12, and he has yet to be tossed out. In 2015, Borenstein stole six bases in 10 attempts at the Double-A level and didn’t even try stealing in Triple-A.

P Craig Breslow (Marlins/AAA) has had a rough time since Miami demoted him earlier this season, going 0-for-3 with a 6.85 ERA, two blown saves in four chances, a .343 opponent batting average, and yielding nearly 2 hits/walks per inning. His very first appearance was a doozy: one inning, four hits, three earned runs. But Breslow has trimmed his ERA since then, and on Sunday, he was nearly perfect, yielding just one hit over 3 innings while striking out three.

1B Ike Davis (Yankees/AAA) hit a grand-slam HR in his first game after being sent back down to Triple-A.

Former major-league 1B Nate Freiman (Red Sox/AA) homered twice on July 1. Since signing a minor-league deal with Boston, he’s hitting .270 with a .347 on-base percentage and is leading the Portland Sea Dogs in home runs (8) and RBIs (31).

LF Mike Meyers (Red Sox/High-A) drove in four runs last week to boost his total to 41, second-highest on the Salem Red Sox. He has 16 stolen bases in 18 attempts.

C Nick Rickles (Nationals/AA) went 3-for-4 with a double, two singles, a walk, and an RBI on Sunday. In three games with the Harrisburg Senators, he’s hitting .455.

CF Rhett Wiseman (Nationals/A) didn’t hit for average last week (.231), but five of his six hits went for extra bases (2 HRs, 1 triple, 2 doubles) and he drove in 7 runs, boosting his season total to a team-high 44 RBIs (tied).

1B Jeremy Wolf (Mets/rookie league) went 4-for-5 on June 30 with a double, his first professional home run, and 4 RBIs.

P Max Fried (Braves/A) was masterful in a shutout start on June 29, yielding just 2 hits and 2 walks over 6 innings while striking out 9.

P Brad Goldberg (White Sox/AAA) racked up two more scoreless relief appearances, yielding a combined one walk and no hits over 2 innings while striking out 2. He has a 0.77 ERA over his last 10 appearances.

P Rob Kaminsky (Indians/AA) went 1-1 in two starts last week. In a combined 12.2 innings, he yielded 3 earned runs on 6 hits and 3 walks while striking out 13.

P Alex Katz (White Sox/A) held opponents scoreless in two relief appearances. He gave up one hit and no walks over 2.1 innings while striking out 2.

P Jared Lakind (Pittsburgh/AA) held opponents scoreless in two relief appearances, striking out 6 batters over 3 combined innings. For the season, he’s 3-0 with 5 saves in 6 chances, has a 1.74 ERA, 40 strikeouts in 41.1 innings, and has held opposing batters to a .190 average.

P R.C. Orlan (Nationals/High-A) held opponents scoreless three times. In 4 combined innings, he yielded one hit and three walks while striking out four.

Second-year P Jason Richman held opponents scoreless twice. In 2.1 combined innings, he yielded one hit and no walks while striking out one.

P Josh Zeid (Mets/AA) earned his second victory with a strong performance July 3, yielding just 2 hits and 3 walks over 7 innings while fanning 8.

Disabled list

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(MiLB.com)

(MiLB.com)

By Scott Barancik, Editor

Don’t let the first name fool you.

Reliever Ryan Sherriff (St. Louis Cardinals/AAA) is the latest player to join the growing roster of Jewish pro baseball players.

The 26-year-old southpaw is enjoying a tremendous season with the Memphis Redbirds. Sherriff is 2-0 with a 1.45 ERA — third-best among Pacific Coast League players with at least 30 innings pitched — and is limiting opposing batters to 0.96 walks/hits per inning and a batting average of .176.

You might say the California native is pitching beneath the radar. When MLB.com issued its most recent list of the Cardinals’ top 30 prospects, Sherriff’s name was nowhere to be found.

That’s okay. He’ll let his left arm do the talking. Selected by St. Louis in the 28th round of the 2011 draft, Sheriff has a career ERA of 2.89 since then.

Why so many parents of Jewish baseball players have named their son “Ryan” is a mystery. (As Sherriff’s Twitter feed correctly implies, the name is often translated as “little king.”) Sherriff joins four current or former major leaguers named ‘Ryan’ (Ryan Braun, Ryan Kalish, Ryan Lavarnway, Ryan Sadowski), one 2016 draftee (Ryan Gold), and one current independent-league player (Ryan Lashley). Check out this video to get a sense of who Ryan Sherriff is.

Thanks to our friends at JewishSportsReview.com for confirming our reader’s tip.

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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.

Highlights

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 MLB.com 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.

Transactions

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.

Birthdays

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By Scott Barancik, Editor

Here they are, your minor-league updates from the week of May 2-8, 2016.

Highlights

After getting only one hit in his first 22 at-bats, former major leaguer Ike Davis (AAA/Rangers) went 3-for-5 with two doubles and five RBIs on May 2. Davis has reached base in his last six games and had one or more hits in five of them, raising his average to a respectable .257.

OF Zach Borenstein‘s 15 RBIs rank third on the Reno Aces (AAA/Diamondbacks), and he’s accumulated them in just 80 at-bats.

OF Mike Meyers (High-A/Red Sox) went 3-for-5 on May 8, stroking his second HR of the season and stealing his fourth base.

Brad Goldberg (AAA/White Sox) kept opponents scoreless in both relief appearances, yielding a total of two hits and no walks over three innings while striking out two. His overall ERA between AA and AAA ball this season is 2.19.

After tearing the ball apart in AAA, Ryan Kalish was called up by the Cubs and made his season debut May 3.

C Garrett Stubbs (High-A/Astros) has been on fire since returning from the disabled list May 5. In three games last week, he went 5-for-12 (.417) with a double, home run, 3 walks, 4 RBIs, and stolen base. He’s been spectacular behind the plate, throwing out 7 of 10 attempted base stealers with no errors.

CF Rhett Wiseman (A/Nationals) has a 5-game hitting streak and has raised his average to .223. On May 5, he went 4-for-5 with a triple and an RBI.

Jeremy Bleich (AA/Phillies) held batters scoreless in all three relief appearances last week, yielding four hits and two walks over five innings while striking out four.

Richard Bleier (AAA/Yankees) was dominant in his second start of the season May 5, a 7-inning gem in which he gave up six hits, a walk, and one earned run while striking out four.

Former major leaguer Ryan Lavarnway (AAA/Braves) has hit safely in nine of his last 10 games, raising his average to .275 with 7 doubles and 8 RBIs.

Scott Effross (A/Cubs) held opponents scoreless in two relief appearances, yielding one hit and two walks over three innings while striking out six.

Robert Orlan (High-A/Nationals) has earned saves in three of his last four appearances, including a one-inning stint May 8 that trimmed his ERA to 1.88, his opponents’ batting average to .109, and his walks/hits per innings to 1.05.

Transactions

  • Former major leaguer Nate Freiman has signed a minor-league contract with the Boston Red Sox and will suit up with the franchise’s Double-A club, the Portland Sea Dogs. After being released by the Washington Nationals’ Triple-A club last month, Freiman played six games for the independent Long Island Ducks, hitting .381 with two HRs and four RBIs.
  • White Sox prospect Alex Katz was reassigned to extended spring training.

Injury updates

  • Astros #1 prospect Alex Bregman (AA) returned from the disabled list on May 5. For the week, he was 3-for-13 (.231) with four walks and two strikeouts. He hit two doubles on May 6.
  • Former major leaguer Josh Satin is off the disabled list and has played five games with the El Paso Chihuahuas (AAA/Padres).
  • Marlins prospect Maxx Tissenbaum (A) has been placed on the 7-day disabled list retroactive to 4/27/2016.

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By Scott Barancik, Editor

Here they are, your minor-league highlights from the week of April 25-May 1, 2016.

Drossner is near perfect

Brewers Single-A prospect Jake Drossner, a 2015 draftee, was nearly perfect April 28, yielding one hit and no walks over 5 innings of relief while striking out six. It was his first relief appearance of the season after four starts.

Kalish battering hurlers

Former major-leaguer Ryan Kalish is one of the hottest hitters in Triple-A. The Cubs’ farmhand is ranked first in the Pacific Coast League in on-base percentage (.500), second in batting average (.396), and fifth in OPS (1.047). The highlight last week: Kalish singled, doubled, tripled, walked, drove in a run, and made a sliding catch on April 28.

Baker’s trifecta

Cardinals Double-A prospect Corey Baker recorded his third scoreless start in a row on April 28, yielding 2 hits and 2 walks over 5-and-two-thirds innings while striking out 7. Baker’s ERA is a slim 1.29, third-best in the Texas League.

Kaminsky settles in

Indians #10 prospect Rob Kaminsky settled down after a couple rough mid-April starts in Double-A. He yielded one earned run over 5 innings on April 26 and one earned run over 6-and-two-thirds innings on May 1, reducing his ERA from 6.60 to 4.39.

Orlan’s saves

Nationals High-A prospect Robert “R.C.” Orlan has two saves in his last three relief appearances and is limiting opponents to 1.05 walks and hits per inning.

Short hits

  • Diamondbacks Triple-A prospect Zach Borenstein has hit .391 with a home run and 6 RBIs over his last 10 games.
  • Astros #1 prospect Alex Bregman was placed on the disabled list April 23 with an injured hamstring. The fast-rising 2015 draftee started 2016 with a bang, stroking 5 HRs with 14 RBIs and six walks in just 50 at-bats.
  • Former major-leaguer Ike Davis has just one hit in 22 at-bats with the Rangers’ Triple-A team.

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Minor-League Monday (April 11-17, 2016)

By Scott Barancik, Editor

Here are minor-league highlights from the week of April 11-17.

Bregman’s power trip

It was a jaw-dropping week for No. 1 Astros prospect Alex Bregman. The No. 2 overall pick in the 2015 amateur draft tore up Double-A pitching with a total of 5 HRs — more than he hit in all of 2015 — and 12 RBIs on .440 hitting, including three HRs over a stretch of eight at-bats. They weren’t your average round-trippers, either. The 22-year-old shortstop hit two HRs on Monday (including a walk-off shot in the 12th inning), a solo shot on Tuesday (4/12/2016), and a grand-slam HR on Friday. Best sign that Bregman is playing at the right level? He only struck out three times. Don’t be surprised if Bregman is named the Texas League’s Player of the Week. He has hit safely in all 10 games this season. In 2015, Bregman hit a total of 4 home runs. Check out this article on his rapid progress.

Bregman’s grand slam

Kalish’s on-base onslaught

Opposing pitchers couldn’t keep former major-leaguer Ryan Kalish off the base paths last week. Playing for the Cubs’ Triple-A team, the 28-year-old left fielder hit .438, walked 4 times, and didn’t strike out once.

Meyers’ triple threat

Mike Meyers, a left fielder with Boston’s High-A club, tripled twice last week. He’s one of only five Carolina League players with 2 or more triples so far.

Sonabend’s surprise

Adam Sonabend‘s future in pro ball looked dim. He went undrafted out of college, an experience so painful that he blogged about it on Gabe Kapler’s website. Although the San Francisco Giants signed him as an undrafted free agent, he spent the entire 2015 season as a bullpen catcher, logging only two at-bats. But the Giants must have seen something in the 23-year-old catcher, because Sonabend’s already caught three games for the franchise’s Low-A team, where he’s hitting .308 with 1 RBI. He’ll have to do something about opposing runners, however, who are 8-for-8 in stolen bases against him so far.

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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

Team AB H 2B 3B HR RBI SB AVG OBP
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

Team W L ERA G IP H BB SO AVG WHIP
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

Boston Red Sox outfielder Ryan Kalish has signed a minor-league contract with the Chicago Cubs.

Behind the deal was a man who knows the 25-year-old well: former Red Sox GM Theo Epstein, who drafted Kalish out of high school in 2006 and joined the Cubs as president of baseball operations in October 2011.

Considered Boston’s outfielder of the future after a promising rookie season in 2010, Kalish missed all of the 2011 and 2013 seasons and much of 2012 with shoulder and neck injuries that required surgery. He became a free agent earlier this month.

After graduating from Red Bank Catholic High School in New Jersey, Kalish passed up a scholarship offer to play football and baseball at the University of Virginia when the Red Sox selected him in the ninth round of the 2006 amateur draft, CSNChicago reported.

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Fuld, Kalish start search for new teams

By Scott Barancik, editor

For Sam Fuld, the Tampa Bay Rays have been the “perfect organization,” a team that appreciated his aggressiveness on the basepaths and competence in the outfield. Had the Chicago Cubs not traded him in 2011, he might never have had enough playing time to achieve legendary status for his diving catches, and to inspire a fan giveaway like the Rays’ “Super Sam” Fuld cape.

But the 32-year-old’s tenure with the Rays likely ended yesterday when the team opted not to tender him an offer. The decision leaves Fuld a free agent for the first time in his six-year MLB career.

“I knew it was a possibility,” Fuld said Monday. “By no means did I think it was a sure thing that I’d be tendered. I was prepared for it at some level. Given the season I had last year, it’s not all together surprising.” Fuld hit just .199 in 119 games last season.

Neither Fuld nor the Rays ruled out the possibility of reaching a deal before the season begins, but the Stanford alum said there was only a “1-in-30 chance.”

“For the first time in my life, I have some say in who I play for,” he added.

Like Fuld, outfielder Ryan Kalish became a free agent Monday after the Boston Red Sox declined to tender an offer. The 25-year-old Kalish has undergone back and shoulder surgery in recent years and was out all of 2013.

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By Scott Barancik, editor

For some Jewish baseball fans, Yom Kippur isn’t just the holiest day on the calendar. It’s also a litmus test of a ballplayer’s commitment to Judaism.

That’s not so true here at Jewish Baseball News, a secular website that holds no grudge against a ballplayer for choosing to swing a bat during the High Holidays (although we take pride when a player like Sandy Koufax or Shawn Green elects to pray rather than play).

Some players find ways to bridge the gap. Consider reliever Craig Breslow, who told Boston’s Jewish Journal:

“In previous years, I have participated in online Passover seders and High Holy Day services, and have fasted as best as I could, even on game days. ‘Typically, I try to observe the holidays in a way that is meaningful to me and indicative of my commitment to Judaism, but also honors and acknowledges the commitment that I have made to my teammates.”

So without further ado, here’s a breakdown of who played last night, and who didn’t.

Played

Six Jewish major leaguers played last night, and five of them emerged victorious:

  1. Nate Freiman, Oakland A’s.Went 1-for-2. Result: defeated the Texas Rangers.
  2. Ian Kinsler, Texas Rangers. Went 0-for-2 but drew three walks, drove in a run, and scored 2 more. Result: lost to the Oakland A’s.
  3. Danny Valencia, Baltimore Orioles. Went 1-for-4 with an RBI single. Result: defeated the Toronto Blue Jays.
  4. Craig Breslow, Boston Red Sox. Of the three batters faced, struck out one, walked another, and gave up a two-run double, leading to a blown save. Result: defeated the New York Yankees.
  5. Josh Zeid, Houston Astros. Pitched a scoreless 8th inning, giving up a walk and a hit but no runs, and earning a hold. Result: defeated the Los Angeles Angels.
  6. Sam Fuld, Tampa Bay Rays. Was brought in as a defensive replacement in the 9th inning. Result: defeated the Minnesota Twins.

Did not play, for one reason or another 

Four major leaguers didn’t play last night even though their teams did, and three of the teams won anyway. With the exception of Baltimore’s Scott Feldman, Baylawsuits doesn’t know whether it was the players’ decision not to play or their managers’.

  1. Scott Feldman, Baltimore Orioles. A member of the team’s starting rotation, he’d pitched 2 days earlier. Result: defeated the Toronto Blue Jays.
  2. Ryan Lavarnway, Boston Red Sox. A back-up catcher, he hasn’t played since Sept. 7. Result: defeated the New York Yankees.
  3. Kevin Pillar, Toronto Blue Jays. A back-up outfielder, he’d started seven of his team’s past 10 games and played part of one other. Result: lost to the Baltimore Orioles.
  4. Josh Satin, New York Mets. A versatile infielder, he’d started six of his team’s past 10 games and played parts of two others. Result: defeated the Miami Marlins.

Unable to play

Four players were on the disabled list, and one was on suspension for violating baseball’s anti-drug policy.

  1. Ike Davis, New York Mets. On disabled list.
  2. Ryan Kalish, Boston Red Sox. On disabled list.
  3. Jason Marquis, San Diego Padres. On disabled list.
  4. Kevin Youkilis, New York Yankees. On disabled list.
  5. Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers. Suspended.

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Red Sox’ Kalish faces surgery, again

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By Scott Barancik/Jewish Baseball News

Injury-prone Boston Red Sox outfielder Ryan Kalish has hurt his right (non-throwing) shoulder and will undergo surgery, forcing him to miss Spring Training and probably some of the 2013 regular season.

The news comes as a blow to Red Sox fans who hoped the 24-year-old Kalish would assume a larger role in the outfield after enduring two surgeries that caused him to miss the entire 2011 season. Kalish enjoyed a strong rookie season in 2010, hitting .252 with 4 HRs, 24 RBIs, and 10 stolen bases in 163 at-bats. He later underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left (throwing) shoulder and a bulging disc in his neck. Kalish managed to return to Boston for a short if underwhelming stint in 2012 and dedicated himself to getting stronger in the offseason.

It’s not clear whether injuring his right shoulder was a better fate than re-injuring his left one. Dr. Lewis Yocum reportedly is scheduled to operate on Kalish next week. In 2010, Baseball Prospectus named Yocum the No. 2 surgeon in baseball.

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By Scott Barancik/Jewish Baseball News

Jewish Baseball News, the website that brings you “News and stats on Jews with bats,” has selected the top Jewish minor-leaguers of the 2012 season.

Here are the award winners:

Rookie of the year

Jack Marder, 2B/C/LF, High Desert Mavericks (Seattle Mariners)

Most improved

Mauricio Tabachnik, P, Guerreros de Oaxaca (no MLB affiliation)

Comeback player

Jeremy Bleich, P, Tampa Yankees (New York Yankees)

Best starter

No winner

Best reliever

Jeff Urlaub, Stockton Ports (Oakland Athletics)

Power hitter

Nate Freiman, 1B, San Antonio Missions (San Diego Padres); obtained by the Houston Astros on 12/6/2012.

Most valuable player

Robbie Widlansky, DH/OF/1B, Bowie Baysox (Baltimore Orioles); obtained by the Los Angeles Angels on 12/6/2012.

Additional information on the award winners and runners-up is provided below.

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Detailed information

Rookie of the Year

Jack Marder, 22, made his minor-league debut in 2011. Because he had just 71 at-bats that year, Jewish Baseball News considers 2012 his “rookie” season. And what a season it was. The versatile 22-year-old hit .360, including .410 with runners in scoring position, and reached base 42.5 percent of the time. Marder had only 278 at-bats but still drilled 24 doubles, 4 triples, and 10 HRs, drove in 56 runs, and stole 16 bases in 22 attempts.

Honorable mention (in alphabetical order): Sean Bierman (Tampa Bay Rays), Jeremy Schaffer (St. Louis Cardinals), Maxx Tissenbaum (San Diego Padres)

Most improved

Mauricio Tabachnik, 23, spent three years in the San Diego Padres’ farm system before being released in 2011. A native of Mexico, he took his right arm to the Mexican League that year but did not impress. In addition to compiling a 5.36 ERA, he gave up an average of two walks and/or hits per inning and walked more batters (41) than he struck out (24). But Tabachnik was a different player in 2012, finishing 4-2 with a 3.18 ERA, more strikeouts (38) than walks (27), and giving up an average of five fewer hits and/or walks per nine innings.

Honorable mention: Richard Bleier (Texas Rangers), Cameron Selik (Washington Nationals)

Comeback player

Jeremy Bleich, 25, was a starting pitcher with the Trenton Thunder (AA) when he seriously hurt his shoulder in May 2010. It would be another two years before the former 1st-round draft pick would pitch again, this time as a reliever. Bleich’s 2012 comeback was impressive. He went 2-1 with a career-best 3.86 ERA, struck out 24 while walking just eight, and held opposing batters to a .242 average.

Honorable mention: Ryan Kalish (Boston Red Sox)

Best reliever

Jeff Urlaub, 25, finished the 2012 season with a winning record (7-6) and a 3.18 ERA, despite playing for two teams with losing records. He produced some eye-popping stats along the way, striking out a combined 58 batters while walking only 9, holding opposing teams to a .197 batting average, and allowing just 4 HRs in 65 innings.

Honorable mention: Corey Baker (St. Louis Cardinals), David Colvin (Seattle Mariners), Ian Kadish (Toronto Blue Jays)

Power hitter

Nate Freiman, 25, doesn’t just look imposing at the plate. The 6-foot-7-inch terrorized Texas League pitchers in 2012 with a career-high 24 HRs and a league-leading 105 RBIs. He didn’t sacrifice discipline, turning in a tidy .298 batting average and .370 on-base percentage. Later, Freiman brought his big bat to the World Baseball Classic, where he launched 4 HRs in 12 at-bats for Team Israel.

Honorable mention: Cody Decker (San Diego Padres)

Most valuable player

Robbie Widlansky, 28, helped the Bowie Baysox (AA) earn a playoff berth with the best performance of his 6-year professional career. He ranked among Eastern League leaders with a .316 batting average (3rd place), 83 RBIs (3rd), 35 doubles (2nd/tie), and a .404 on-base percentage (2nd). Widlansky also stole 11 bases, and his walk-to-strikeout ratio (64 to 74) was a career high.

Honorable mention: Joc Pederson (Los Angeles Dodgers), Nate Freiman (San Diego Padres)

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Good news Monday (8/13/2012)

By Scott Barancik/Jewish Baseball News

Mondays bite. But you can bite back:

  • Scott Feldman‘s winning streak ended Friday (8/10/2012) with a 6-2 loss to the Detroit Tigers, but what a streak it was. After losing his first six decisions of the season and amassing a 6.50 ERA, the 6-foot-6-inch Texas Ranger won the next six with a 2.81 ERA.
  • Jason Marquis took a no-hitter into the 7th inning Saturday (8/11/2012) in a 5-0 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates (see video). The 33-year-old San Diego Padre ended up with a 2-hit, complete-game shutout and has won five of his last six starts. Interestingly, the resurgent Marquis matched the Pirates’ offensive output by going 2-for-4 at the plate. His .276 batting average is third best this season among MLB pitchers with at least 20 at-bats.
  • Jeremy Schaffer, picked by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 18th round of this year’s amateur draft, already is putting up big numbers. The 22-year-old first baseman out of Tulane University leads the Appalachian rookie league with 41 RBIs in just 179 at-bats.
  • The Kevin Youkilis trade just got a little worse for the Boston Red Sox. Not only has Youk been hitting the ball a ton for the Chicago White Sox — since arriving in late June, he’s hit .252 with 10 HRs, 29 RBIs, a .371 on-base percentage, and an .875 OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage) in 139 at-bats — but his successor at third base, rookie phenom Will Middlebrooks, just suffered a season-ending wrist injury. Coincidence of the day? Middlebrooks’ temporary replacement is recently-acquired 3B Danny Valencia.
  • On Sunday (8/12/2012), Houston Astros prospect Ben Orloff celebrated his recent promotion to the Corpus Christi Hooks (AA) with a 5-for-5 performance. The 25-year-old shortstop doubled, tripled, and drove in 4 runs en route to a 20-9 thrashing of the Springfield Cardinals.
  • Four in one month? That’s how many Jews the Boston Red Sox recently added to their roster. The quartet included Valencia (see above), reliever Craig Breslow, C Ryan Lavarnway, and LF Ryan Kalish, who has since returned to AAA.
  • Just weeks after putting together a 3-HR game, Joc Pederson powered the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (A-advanced) to an 11-9 win over the Modesto Nuts. Pederson — ranked the Los Angeles Dodgers’ No.3 prospect by MLB.com — went 3-for-5 with a HR, two doubles, and 5 RBIs.
  • Keep a close eye on Jack Marder. Already ranked the Seattle Mariners’ No. 15 prospect in just his second year of pro ball, the High Desert Mavericks (A-advanced) catcher is batting .363 with 10 HRs, 24 doubles (including three on 7/31/2012), 4 triples, 55 RBIs, 16 stolen bases, and an OPS of 1.019 in only 273 at-bats. Marder is hitting a blistering .413 with runners in scoring position and recently added second base and the outfield to his fielding repertoire. It’s a shame that he may have too few at-bats to qualify for the California League batting crown.
  • As Jewish Baseball News correspondent Zev Ben Avigdor points out on his minor-league Twitter feed, New York Mets prospect Josh Satin is on fire. The 27-year-old first baseman has hit .444 (16-for-36) in the past 10 games, with 2 HRs, six doubles, 4 walks, and 10 RBIs.
  • Next season will mark the 40th anniversary of MLB’s designated hitter rule, and first-ever DH Ron Blomberg already is getting some love for his historic role.
  • Sam Fuld loves going horizontal for fly balls, but the Tampa Bay Ray won’t be leaping tall buildings anytime soon. “Super Sam” told the Tampa Bay Times he’s scared of heights, “mainly bridges, tops of buildings, mountains.” He also revealed his favorite television show (Seinfeld) and said he has a “man crush” on actor Matt Damon — another diminutive but athletic Ivy Leaguer.

Have any good news about Jewish athletes? Send it to sbarancik@jewishbaseballnews.com.

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Suddenly, it’s raining Jews in Boston

By Scott Barancik/Jewish Baseball News

Two days ago, there were no Jews on the Boston Red Sox’s roster.

Ryan Kalish had been sent back to AAA Pawtucket on July 8 after a mediocre three-week stint. Beloved infielder Kevin Youkilis had been traded to the Chicago White Sox on June 25. There was no simche at Fenway.

Suddenly, though, it’s raining Jews in Boston.

Tuesday (7/31/2012) was a twofer. The Red Sox recalled Kalish after outfielder Ryan Sweeney landed himself on the disabled list by punching a door. They also acquired reliever Craig Breslow in a last-minute trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

And today they called up catcher Ryan Lavarnway, the club’s No. 3 prospect, to fill the roster hole left by injured outfielder Daniel Nava.

No telling how long Kalish and Lavarnway will stay, of course. But it’s not often you see a team’s 25-man roster add three Jewish players in two days.

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