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By Scott Barancik/Jewish Baseball News

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

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

BATTING

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

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

Final hitting stats, 2013 MLB Spring Training

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

 

PITCHING

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

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

Final pitching stats, 2013 MLB Spring Training

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

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Good news Monday (8/27/2012)

By Scott Barancik/Jewish Baseball News

Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night, nor even pesky tropical storms, shall stay this website from its appointed rounds:

  • Ike Davis was mobbed by New York Mets teammates Sunday after hitting his second round-tripper of the day, a walk-off HR against the Houston Astros. The New York Mets 1B has 22 HRs this year, tied for 7th best in the N.L. By the way, if you plan to be in New York City on Sept. 9, Davis is hosting a benefit concert to raise funds for childhood-cancer research.
  • Just three months into his professional career, St. Louis Cardinals prospect Jeremy Schaffer has been named an Appalachian League all-star. The 22-year-old Tulane University alum is hitting .271 with 10 HRs and leads the league both in doubles (20) and RBIs (51) in just 229 at-bats.
  • Kevin Youkilis hit a grand-slam HR against the New York Yankees on Tuesday (8/21/2012) to break a 2-2 tie. The third slam of his career, it sent the Chicago White Sox’s home crowd into a frency (see video). Later in the week, Youk told Israel Sports Radio he’ll play for Team Israel in the World Baseball Classic if the team makes it past next month’s qualifying round, presuming he’s healthy. Click here for tickets to the qualifiers in Jupiter, Fla.
  • Nate Freiman leads all AA players with 102 RBIs. It’s the second straight 100 RBI-plus season for the 6’7″ San Diego Padres prospect. A first baseman with the San Antonio Missions, Freiman is hitting .292 with 23 HRs. Talk about consistent: he had 20 RBIs in April, 22 in May, 21 in June, 20 in July, and 19 so far in August.
  • Former Cleveland Indians prospect Alex Kaminsky is making a name for himself in the independent Frontier League. A 24-year-old righty with the Gateway Grizzlies, Kaminsky hasn’t allowed a run in his past three starts, including a 6-and-one-third-inning stint Thursday (8/23/2012) en route to a 1-0 win over the Windy City ThunderBolts. He’s 10-4 this season with a 3.43 ERA.
  • Ben Guez has had only 265 at-bats at the AAA level this year, but that hasn’t stopped the Detroit Tigers prospect from collecting six triples, tying him for 4th-highest in the International League. Guez is hitting a combined .297 in AAA and AA this year, with 8 HRs, 44 RBIs, 13 stolen bases, and a. 414 on-base percentage.
  • Tampa Bay Rays prospect Sean Bierman is quietly racking-up quite a rookie season. A 10th-round draft pick this June, the 6’0″ lefty recently was promoted to the Bowling Green Hot Rods (A) from the Hudson Valley Renegades (A-short season). In a combined 12 games, Bierman is 5-2 with a 2.67 ERA, 39 strikeouts, and just 6 walks in 57-and-a-third innings — less than one base on balls per 9 innings.
  • Ian Kinsler went 3-for-5 Saturday (8/25/2012) with a HR and a three-run triple in a 9-3 rout of the Minnesota Twins. Kinlers hit .308 in his last 10 games, with 2 HRs, 9 RBIs, and 8 walks. ESPN.com notes that he’s hitting outside balls far better than inside balls this season.
  • Sam Fuld sparked another win last week (8/20/2012), leading the Tampa Bay Rays to a 5-1 victory over the Kansas City Royals. The Tampa Bay Times said it best: “Fuld delivered a spark with two great catches and two hits, including stretching a single into a double in the eighth, then lighting the Captain Morgan lamp as the player of the game. ‘Sammy does everything right,’ manager Joe Maddon said.”

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

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Good news Monday (8/20/2012)

By Scott Barancik/Jewish Baseball News

Fear not: there is still some good news in the world:

  • Sam Fuld‘s heroic fielding and hustle have earned him the nickname “Super Sam,” but Tampa Bay Rays fans may just want to call him “Sparkplug.” Though a wrist injury kept Fuld off the field this season until July 24, the club has gone 18-and-7 since his return. The 30-year-old utility outfielder’s impact was never more clear than on Saturday (8/18/2012). The Rays were down 8-0 to the Los Angeles Angels when Fuld singled in his team’s first run, launching a 7-run inning that ultimately propelled the Rays to an improbable 10-8 win.
  • Detroit Tigers prospect Ben Guez continues to enjoy a breakout year with the club’s AA and AAA teams. The diminutive outfielder — he is listed at 5’10” and 180 pounds, about the same size as Sam Fuld — is hitting a combined .300 with 8 HRs, 5 triples, 42 RBIs, 12 stolen bases, and a preposterously high .423 on-base percentage. He has spent roughly three-quarters of the season with the Toledo Mud Hens (AAA).
  • Two of the N.L.’s top home-run hitters are Jewish. Milwaukee Brewers LF Ryan Braun, the reigning N.L. MVP, hit four dingers over a 3-game stretch last week and leads the league with 33 overall. New York Mets 1B Ike Davis has hit a career-high 22 HRs, good enough for 12th place.
  • Not to be outdone are San Diego Padres prospects Nate Freiman and Cody Decker. Teammates on the San Antonio Missions (AA), the pair rank 4th and 5th among all double-A players in home runs, with 23 and 22 respectively. Decker had an additional 5 HRs with the Padres’ AAA team, giving him 27 overall. Freiman, a 6’7″ first baseman, is hitting .298 and leads all AA players with 98 RBIs8.
  • Craig Breslow made the most of his two-pitch appearance Saturday (8/18/2012). The Boston Red Sox reliever entered the game with one out in the 8th inning, a 3-1 lead, a man on first base, and New York Yankees 2B Robinson Cano at the plate. Breslow’s second pitch, a cutter, lured Cano into an inning-ending double play, but what caught the eye of many observers was his batterymate: catcher Ryan Lavarnway. Several Jewish Baseball News readers, including Jerome Deutsch, noted the rarity of this all-Jewish battery. (Yes, it has happened before.) But even rarer was the fact that both men attended Yale University. According to the Yale Daily News, Breslow (Class of 2002) and Lavarnway (Class of 2009) were the first Yale batterymates since 1883. Said Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine after the game: “I got a lot smarter having them out there.”
  • We’re only a month away from Team Israel’s appearance at the World Baseball Classic qualifying round in Jupiter, Fla. Among those scheduled to play in the team’s September 19 opener against South Africa are player-coaches Shawn Green (ranked second among Jewish major-leaguers in career HRs), former MLB’er Gabe Kapler, a variety of of other current and ex-pros, and a handful of Israelis. Click here for tickets.
  • Joc Pederson is on a roll. Ranked the Los Angeles Dodgers’ No. 3 prospect by MLB.com, the 20-year-old son of former major-leaguer Stu Pederson is batting .400 over his past 10 games with 5 HRs, 4 doubles, 11 RBIs, 3 walks, and 2 stolen bases. An outfielder with the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (A-advanced), Pederson is hitting .313 this season with 17 HRs, 59 RBIs, 22 stolen bases, a .397 on-base percentage, and an OPS (on-base plus slugging) of .918.
  • Danny Rosenbaum is the Jekyll & Hyde of 2012. After starting the year 5-0 with an 0.71 ERA and just four walks for the Harrisonburg Senators (AA), there was talk the Washington Nationals might call-up the 6’1″ lefty in September. (See Rosenbaum’s May 2012 interview with Jewish Baseball News contributor Zev Ben Avigdor.) But when his go-to catcher Sandy Leon was called-up to the majors, everything seemed to fall apart, and today the 24-year-old’s record is a less stellar 8-and-9 with a 3.73 ERA. On Saturday (8/18/2012), though, it looked like the ‘old’ Rosenbaum had returned. Danny pitched 7 shutout innings in a 2-1 win over the Erie SeaWolves, giving up just five hits and one walk.

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

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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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Good news Monday (7/30/2012)

By Scott Barancik/Jewish Baseball News

It’s not easy to muster a smile on Mondays, but here are a few good reasons:

  • There are only three possible explanations for pitcher Scott Feldman‘s recent dominance: a pact with the devil, alien body-snatching, or performance-enhancing drugs. Through July 4, the Texas Ranger had a 2-6 record and a 6.11 ERA, while opposing batters were hitting him at a .285 clip. But the 29-year-old Hawaii native has strangled his past 3 opponents, giving up just one earned run in 17 innings (an ERA of 0.53) while striking out 10 and walking zero. The performance has boosted his record to 5-6 and slimmed his ERA to 4.76.
  • Sam Fuld is back. After spending the first three months of the season on the disabled list, the scrappy Tampa Bay Rays outfielder returned to the field with a vengeance last week (7/24/2012). In five games since returning, Fuld went 6-for-16 (.375) with 2 doubles and 2 RBIs, and the slumping Rays won three of five.
  • Los Angeles Dodgers prospect Joc Pederson is surging. A 20-year-old outfielder with the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (A-advanced), Pederson has hit .333 in his past 10 games, including 3 HRs, 11 RBIs, 3 stolen bases, and a .429 on-base percentage. The Palo Alto, Calif. native was an 11th-round pick out of high school in the 2010 draft. At the beginning of this season, MLB.com ranked him the Dodgers’ No. 4 prospect.
  • Baltimore Orioles prospect Robbie Widlansky is among Eastern League leaders in several offensive categories. A 27-year-old outfielder/DH with the Bowie Baysox (AA), Widlansky is hitting.301 with 6 HRs, 62 RBIs (3rd highest), 9 stolen bases, and an on-base percentage of .396 (4th).
  • Think the Chicago White Sox are happy they acquired 3B Kevin Youkilis? Check out this MLB.com compilation video titled “The Youk Effect.”
  • One of Israel’s few home-grown baseball stars is a 6’4″, 33-year-old pitcher whose day job is booking musicians for the City Winery in New York City. The Wall Street Journal has a terrific profile on Shlomo Lipetz and the challenges  he faced learning baseball in Tel Aviv after relatives first exposed him to the sport in a 1986 visit to Shea Stadium.
  • Ike Davis had a 3-HR game for the first time in his career on Saturday (7/28/2012). The Arizona native homered in his first three at-bats (see video) and added a single to go 4-for-4 in a 6-3 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks in Phoenix. After an anemic start this season, Davis is tied for 6th place in the National League with 20 HRs, is third among N.L. first basemen with 60 RBIs, and has raised his batting average to .213. He has six HRs in his past 10 games.
  • According to our friends at Jewish Sports Review, a total of 13 Jewish players were selected in the 2012 amateur draft. We’ll publish the full list, along with short bios, very soon.
  • Adam Greenberg is vying for a spot on on Team Israel, which will be competing in a qualifying round for the World Baseball Classic in September. The 31-year-old former Chicago Cub is best known, unfortunately, for getting hit in the head by pitcher Valerio de los Santos during his first and only Major League at-bat, in 2005. Greenberg’s career was derailed by the resulting concussion and vertigo. But the 5’9″ fireplug has grit. He singled off de los Santos when he next faced him, in a 2011 independent-league game, and you can see both at-bats in this video profile by ESPN. Good luck, Adam!
  • Nearly 3 months after being demoted to AAA, Danny Valencia has returned to the Minnesota Twins. The 27-year-old third baseman immediately chipped in with an RBI double and two runs scored in a 12-5 win over the Cleveland Indians on Saturday (7/28/2012). His stay is likely to be short, as regular 3B Trevor Plouffe is suffering only from a bruised right thumb.
  • Congratulations to U.S. women’s gymnastics captain Aly Raisman, a tribe member who advanced to the Olympics’ all-around finals with a terrific floor exercise she performed to the tune of Hava Nagila on Sunday night (7/29/2012).

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

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Good new Monday (7/16/2012)

By Scott Barancik/Jewish Baseball News

Boker tov, fellow Hebrews! Here’s some good news for your Monday morn:

  • Seattle Mariners prospect Jack Marder was out most of June with injuries, but you wouldn’t know it from his first 3 games back, when he went 7-for-15 with 2 HRs, a double, and 5 RBIs (July 6-8). A 22-year-old catcher with the High Desert Mavericks (A-advanced), Marder is hitting .360 this season with 8 HRs, 15 doubles, and 40 RBIs in just 186 at-bats. By the way, Jack isn’t the only catcher in his family. Sister Sam Marder, Ohio State’s all-time HR leader, plays professional fastpitch softball with the Akron Racers. Check out this article about the siblings.
  • There’s no sadder story in baseball history than that of Adam Greenberg, which is why the latest news about New Haven, Conn., native is so great. Greenberg, you may recall, had been called up by the Chicago Cubs in 2005 and was enjoying his first Major League at-bat when Florida Marlins P Valeria de los Santos accidentally beaned him, ending his MLB career and giving him a dubious footnote in the record books. But the still-young Greenberg — he’s only 31 — reportedly has begun training to play for Team Israel in the upcoming World Baseball Classic qualifying round, in September. Can’t wait to see you there, Adam.
  • Sure, Ike Davis has struggled at the plate this season, with his batting average only recently edging up above .200. But there’s a good reason the New York Mets continue to use him as a starter: run production. Davis’ 50 RBIs place him among the top 20 in the National League and have him 0n pace to crush his career high of 71. He also has 13 HRs, compared with a career-high of 19. Now if he can just start walking and singling a little more, and striking out a little less…
  • The New York Mets reportedly are interested in Boston Red Sox backup catcher Kelly Shoppach. If Shoppach is traded, hard-hitting prospect Ryan Lavarnway, who had a cup of coffee with the Red Sox last year, will likely be called-up for good.
  • One of the greatest home-run duos in Jewish baseball history is together again. San Diego Padres slugger Cody Decker is back with the San Antonio Missions (AA) and teammate Nate Freiman after a brief stint in AAA, and the pair is on fire. Decker, who hit a grand slam last week (7/12/2012) and homered in the same game as Freiman for at least the second time this year (7/9/2012), has 22 HRs overall, including an astounding 18 in just 186 at-bats with the Missions. Freiman has 20 HRs, leads the Texas League with 75 RBIs, and was profiled in this recent article.
  • The Tampa Bay Rays seem eager to get Sam Fuld back on the field. Despite a mediocre rehab assignment in which he went 2-for-13 with the Charlotte Stone Crabs, Fuld has been promoted to the Durham Bulls (AAA).
  • Max Fried, an 18-year-old lefty who was the No. 7 overall pick of the San Diego Padres in last month’s amateur draft, has yet to give up a run in three appearances with the rookie-league AZL Padres. According to jewishsportsreview.com, only four Jews have been drafted higher in baseball history: Ron Blomberg (No. 1 in 1967), Mike Lieberthal (No. 3 in 1990), Justin Wayne (No. 5 in 2000), and Ryan Braun (No. 5 in 2005).
  • Speaking of Ryan Braun, the reigning N.L. MVP is leading his league in HRs with 26 — that’s one in every 12.2 at-bats — and is on pace to crush his career high of 37 (2008). He’s also among league leaders with 64 RBIs (2nd/tie), a .640 slugging percentage (2nd), nine hit-by-pitches (2nd), a .401 on-base percentage (5th), .313 batting average (8th), and 16 stolen bases (10th/tie). All without the aid of performance-enhancing drugs, mind you.
  • Kevin Youkilis returns to Fenway Park today (7/16/2012) for the first time since the Red Sox traded him. The Chicago White Sox are mighty happy with Youk so far. In 61 at-bats, the 33-year-old 1B/3B is hitting .295 with 3 HRs, 15 RBIs, and a .397 on-base percentage. Read Kevin’s love letter to Boston fans here.

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

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Good news Monday (7/9/2012)

By Scott Barancik/Jewish Baseball News

Our cup runneth over with good news this week:

  • Does Kevin Youkilis have a flair for the dramatic, or what? The newly-minted Chicago White Sox third baseman homered in his first at-bat at U.S. Cellular Field (see video) and finished the day 3-for-6 with 4 RBIs. He’s 9-for-23 (.391) during the current homestand, with 3 HRs and 10 RBIs.
  • Los Angeles Dodgers prospect Joc Pederson must have eaten his Wheaties on July 1. The 20-year-old outfielder with the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (A-advanced) homered three times in a 17-4 rout of the High Desert Mavericks to tie a franchise record. Quite a feat, especially since he’d managed just 3 HRs in his first 52 games.
  • Baltimore Orioles prospect Robbie Widlansky, who will be participating in the upcoming Eastern League (AA) All-Star game, was named Player of the Month in June after hitting .407 with 10 doubles, 2 HRs, 21 RBIs, and an OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging) of 1.116. (Read our interview with Widlansky here.)
  • Los Angeles Dodgers prospect Jake Lemmerman tweeted this photo of himself and hero Tommy Lasorda last week.
  • Sorry to hear that Los Angeles Dodgers CF Matt Kemp injured his hamstring, but the upside is that Milwaukee Brewers LF Ryan Braun will be an N.L. starter in this week’s All-Star Game rather than a reserve player.
  • Jewish Baseball News contributor Zev Ben Avigdor snapped this photo (below) at a Binghamton Mets (AA) home game against the Altoona Curve on July 3. Guess who threw out the first ball that night? Cleveland Cavaliers F Omri Casspri, the first Israeli to play in the NBA.
  • Fans unfurl an Israel flag at a Binghamton Mets game.

  • Max Ungar, an 18-year-old catcher selected by the Washington Nationals in the 36th round of this year’s amateur draft, is going to attend Denison University instead. Ungar confirmed the decision in a tweet to Jewish Baseball News. “I chose college over the pro’s,” he wrote. “A classic ‘Moneyball’ move.”
  • What’s it’s like to be a newly-drafted rookie about to begin your first minor-league assignment? Maxx Tissenbaum, an 11th-round draft pick of the San Diego Padres, tells you all about it in his blog The Padres Life.
  • Boston Red Sox prospect Ryan Lavarnway will be the starting catcher for the International League (AAA) in its annual All-Star game against the Pacific Coast League (AAA).
  • The bad news is that Sam Fuld went 0-for-3 in an appearance July 7 with the Charlotte Stone Crabs (A-advanced). The good news is that it marked the first game he’s played since undergoing wrist surgery. The Tampa Bay Rays outfielder is expected to complete a 20-game rehab stint before returning to St. Petersburg.
  • The Oakland A’s have promoted reliever Jeff Urlaub to the Stockton Ports (A-advanced). Can you blame them? In 25 appearances with the Burlington Bees (A) this season, the 25-year-old stringbean — he’s 6’2″, 160 lbs. — assembled a 5-4 record with 3 saves, a 2.60 ERA, 27 strikeouts and only one walk. And Urlaub continues to impress. Four games into his new gig with Stockton, he’s given up one hit, no walks, and no runs while holding opposing hitters to a .059 batting average.
  • Friday night (July 6) was a memorable one for Los Angeles Angels prospect Zach Borenstein, who went 4-for-5 with two doubles, two HRs, and 6 RBIs. His second HR of the night, struck in the bottom of the 9th inning, propelled the Cedar Rapids Kernels (A) to a 12-11, walk-off win over the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers.

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

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Good news Monday (7/2/2012)

By Scott Barancik/Jewish Baseball News

Get ready to kvell, brothers and sisters. It’s Good news Monday!

  • San Diego Padres prospect Nate Freiman won the Texas League Home Run Derby last Thursday (6/28/2012). A 6’7″ first baseman with the San Antonio Missions (AA), Freiman’s first swing of the contest reportedly was “the sweetest.” He launched a shot that not only struck the scoreboard but hit the “i” in “Freiman.”
  • Talk about cleaning up your own mess. When Augusta GreenJackets (A) reliever Andrew Berger entered Friday’s (6/29/2012) game against the Savannah Sand Gnats in the 7th inning, he promptly gave up a single and double. But the 24-year-old San Francisco Giants prospect didn’t lose hope. Instead, Berger struck out the side, knocked down the Sand Gnats in order the following inning (one of them by strikeout), and struck out the side again in the 9th.
  • Texas Rangers reliever Scott Feldman and his wife hosted a softball game at Rangers Ballpark yesterday (7/1/2012) for  injured soldiers. The couple previously has hosted families of deployed soldiers as well as patients from a local veterans’ hospital.
  • Baseball fans voted two Jewish players into next week’s All-Star game. Texas Rangers 2B Ian Kinsler, who also played in 2008 and 2010, will be the back-up to New York Yankees 2B Robinson Cano on the A.L. squad. On the opposing team, Milwaukee Brewers LF Ryan Braun was chosen for the 5th consecutive year, this time as a reserve player.
  • Today is the deadline for Team Israel to turn in its 50-player roster for the World Baseball Classic qualifiers in September. According to a person involved in the process, the roster includes players who have committed to play (including player/coaches Shawn Green and Gabe Kapler) as well as players who the team wants who have not yet committed.
  • Boston Red Sox prospect Ryan Lavarnway had a heck of a June. A catcher with the Pawtucket Red Sox (AAA), the Yale University alum erupted with a .405 batting average, 4 HRs, 18 RBIs, 10 doubles, a .469 on-base percentage, and an OPS (on-base plus slugging) of 1.136.
  • New York Mets prospect Josh Satin probably wishes he could play against the Durham Bulls every day of the season. As Jewish Baseball News writer Zev Ben Avigdor pointed out in his Twitter feed, the Buffalo Bisons (AAA) first baseman was on fire during a recent 4-game series against the Bulls, going 10-for-14 with 2 HRs, 4 RBIs and 4 walks.
  • When Tampa Bay Rays OF Sam Fuld had surgery on his right wrist during Spring Training, doctors predicted he wouldn’t return to the lineup before August. But after taking batting practice Friday (6/29/2012), his first time doing so since March, Fuld was optomistic. “I think we can be looking at the end of this homestand,” he said.
  • New York Yankees prospect Jeremy Bleich, who hadn’t pitched a shoulder injury sidelined him in 2010, is back. In three short appearances with the rookie-league GCL Yankees, the 25-year-old Stanford alum is 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA. Bleich has given up 3 hits and one walk in 5-and-2/3 innings while striking out 7.
  • In case you missed it, here is a clip of President Barack Obama, a Chicago native, teasing Boston Red Sox fans for trading Kevin Youkilis to the Chicago White Sox. Judging from the boos, the joke was too soon.

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

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Good news Tuesday (5/29/2012)

By Scott Barancik/Jewish Baseball News

Because Monday was Memorial Day, dontcha know:

  • Texas Rangers 2B Ian Kinsler broke out of a 27-game HR slump on Sunday (5/27/2012) with a HR, double, and four RBIs in a 12-6 triumph over the Texas Rangers. Despite the drought, Kinsler leads the majors with 41 runs scored. Sunday’s two-hit game was his fifth in six starts.
  • After an impressive debut with the Boston Red Sox in 2010, neck and shoulder surgery sidelined LF Ryan Kalish for the better part of the past year. But in the first game of a rehab stint with the Salem Red Sox (A-advanced) last week, the 24-year-old celebrated his return with a HR and a single, and yesterday (5/28/2012) he even stole a base. Way to go, Ryno.
  • Success has split up the power duo of San Diego Padres sluggers Nate Freiman and Cody Decker. While playing for the San Antonio Missions (AA) this season, the pair led the Texas League with 14 HRs apiece. Alas, Decker was promoted to AAA last week. So far he’s earned his keep: through 6 games and 22 at-bats, he is hitting .364 with a HR, three doubles, two RBIs, and an OPS of 1.098.
  • Ryan Sadowski led the Lotte Giants of the Korean Baseball Organization to victory Saturday (5/26/2012) with a 3-hit, complete-game performance. The 6’4″ hurler, whom Korean fans call “Dow,” is enjoying his third season with the team after completing one of the more unusual MLB careers. Called up in 2009 by the San Francisco Giants, the University of Florida alum promptly delivered two shutouts, followed by four less-impressive outings that led him back to AAA. Rather than try returning to The Show in 2010, Sadowski indulged his wanderlust by signing with the “other” Giants. At age 29, he’s young enough to revisit American baseball, but so far the iconoclastic Florida native is staying put. To learn more about this clever young man, see these 2011 and 2012 interviews.
  • It’s no fun being sent down to the minors, but Minnesota Twins 3B Danny Valencia is making the best of an opportunity to retool his mechanics. The 27-year-old started out slow with the Rochester Red Wings (AAA) but has hit .325 with 2 HRs and 9 RBIs in his past 10 games.
  • Second-year player Jack Marder of the High Desert Mavericks (A-advanced) is tearing up the California League. The Seattle Mariners prospect ranks among league leaders with a .368 batting average (2nd), .413 on-base percentage (3rd), and .566 slugging percentage (7th), to go along with 4 HRs and 24 RBIs in 136 at-bats. On Sunday (5/27/2012), Marder’s two-run single with two outs in the 12th inning earned the Mavericks a 3-2 win over the Modesto Nuts.
  • Released last week by the Minnesota Twins, P Jason Marquis is a free agent. Could the Twins’ loss be Team Israel’s gain?
  • Tampa Bay Rays OF Sam Fuld may be on the disabled list, but that didn’t stop him from appearing as a sabermetrics expert on a recent Rays broadcast. The Stanford alum is a former STATS Inc. intern who applied for the position after reading Michael Lewis’ book Moneyball.
  • And now our favorite headline of the week, from the San Francisco Chronicle: All Eyes are on Ryan Braun’s Groin. San Francisco’s reputation notwithstanding, the headline concerned a recent injury suffered by the reigning N.L. MVP.
Have any good news about Jewish athletes? Send it to sbarancik@jewishbaseballnews.com.

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By Scott Barancik/Jewish Baseball News

In 2010, the year Jewish Baseball News debuted, MLB’s Opening Day rosters included 10 Jewish players. In 2011 there were nine.

This season? Only seven. It’s enough to make an M.O.T. cry in his $9 ballpark beer.

Thanks to injuries (Sam Fuld, Ryan Kalish), flips of a coin (Ryan LavarnwayMichael Schwimer), a veteran’s departure (John Grabow), and a freak family accident (Jason Marquis), the number of Jewish players on Opening Day rosters will be the lowest in years.

The seven are:

  1. Ryan Braun (LF), Milwaukee Brewers
  2. Craig Breslow (P), Arizona Diamondbacks
  3. Ike Davis (1B), New York Mets
  4. Scott Feldman (P), Texas Rangers
  5. Ian Kinsler (2B), Texas Rangers
  6. Kevin Youkilis (3B/1B), Boston Red Sox
  7. Danny Valencia (3B), Minnesota Twins
More players are likely to be called in later this season, however. They include:
  1. Josh Satin (IF), New York Mets. After getting his first 25 MLB at-bats at the end of 2011, Satin was invited this season to Spring Training, where he batted a respectable .259 with a .323 on-base percentage. When he’ll come back: definitely in September, possibly sooner if the injury-prone Mets lose an infielder.
  2. Jason Marquis (P), Minnesota Twins. Marquis was slotted to be the Twins’ fifth starter on Opening Day. But when his 7-year-old daughter was seriously injured two weeks ago in a bicycle accident, he admirably chose to go home and care for her. Now back after 9 days, the Twins sent him down to the minors for a tune-up. When he’ll come back: as long as he doesn’t screw up badly in the minors, Marquis should be back before the end of the month.
  3. Ryan Lavarnway (C), Boston Red Sox. Lavarnway is a far better hitter than Boston’s #2 catcher, Kelly Shoppach. Take this year’s Spring Training, where Lavarnway outhit .him .429 to .258. Now he just needs to prove he can catch half as well as Shoppach. When he’ll be back: if Shoppach and his teammates fail to produce at the plate, Lavarnway could return before the All-Star break.
  4. Sam Fuld (CF/LF), Tampa Bay Rays. Fuld underwent surgery this week after reinjuring his right wrist. The Rays won’t miss his bat, but they will miss his fielding prowess, baserunning skill, and crowd-pleasing hustle. When he’ll be back: Early reports say Fuld’s likely to be out 4-5 months, meaning an August or September return. A lot will depend on not only on the speed of his recovery but how well rookie outfielder Stephen Vogt and veteran outfielder Luke Scott perform in their Rays debuts.
  5. Michael Schwimer (P), Philadelphia Phillies. A September call-up last season, Schwimer went 1-0 in Spring Training with a 3.86 ERA, one save, five strikeouts, and just one walk in 4-and-two-thirds innings. When he’ll be back: Definitely by September, if not sooner. Schwimer’s misfortune is that the Phillies have an abundance of strong relievers.
  6. Ryan Kalish (RF), Boston Red Sox. After neck surgery in September and shoulder surgery in November, Kalish is starting 2012 on the 60-day disabled list. When he’ll be back: Probably September, but only if he performs well in the minors after completing rehab.
  7.  Brett Lorin (P), Arizona Diamondbacks. For someone who hasn’t even reached AA, Lorin had a remarkable Spring Training, holding opposing batters to a .194 average and going 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA, 7 strikeouts, and one walk across 9 innings. When he’ll be back: MLB teams are loathe to call-up players who lack AAA experience. But if Lorin performs as well with the Mobile BayBears (AA) as he did this Spring, a September taste is possible.

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Sam Fuld reinjures his right wrist against the Blue Jays (Getty Images; TBO.com)

By Scott Barancik/Jewish Baseball News

Sam Fuld will miss most if not all of the 2012 season due to an injured right wrist. According to MLB.com, the Tampa Bay Rays OF is schedule to undergo surgery this morning in Cleveland.

Fuld, 30, first injured the wrist in September against the Baltimore Orioles. He reinjured it March 23 in a 7-5 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays.

The Tampa Tribune says Fuld, hopeful that rehab would be sufficient, had passed up the chance to undergo surgery during the offseason.

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Today’s news scraps (3/29/2012)

By Scott Barancik/Jewish Baseball News

Here’s what’s happening in the world of baseball today (Thursday, Mar. 29, 2012):

  • INJURY: Sam Fuld told the Tampa Tribune he’s going to get a second medical opinion on his injured right wrist and may end up facing surgery and/or rehab. The Tampa Bay Rays outfielder injured his wrist last September in Baltimore.
  • TRIUMPHANT: Scott Feldman pitched masterfully in the Texas Rangers’ 12-0 win over the Cincinnati Reds on Monday (3/26/2012). The 6-foot-7-inch right-hander scattered three hits and no walks over 6 innings while striking out nine. Teammate Ian Kinsler contributed a HR.
  • FAMILY EMERGENCY: Minnesota Twins right-hander Jason Marquis left Spring Training more than a week ago to care for his 7-year-old daughter, who was seriously injured when she fell off a bicycle.
  • REASSIGNED: The Philadelphia Phillies optioned reliever Michael Schwimer to the franchise’s AAA team last week. After making his MLB debut last season, the 26-year-old hurler spent most of Spring Training 2012 with the Phillies, where he recorded a 3.86 ERA and one save in four-and-two-thirds innings.
  • CONTRACT TALKS: Ian Kinsler is in talks with the Texas Rangers about extending his contract. His current contract ends after this season, although the team has a $10-million option for 2013.
  • CONFIDENT: After hitting .311 and placing 3rd in balloting for A.L. Rookie of the Year in 2010, the 2011 season was a “humbling” one for Danny Valencia. But the Minnesota Twins 3B says he’s regained some confidence and is trying to have fun again on the field.

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Spring Training surprises: An update

By Scott Barancik/Jewish Baseball News

Given that he’s the reigning National League MVP, you might think Ryan Braun would be tearing up Spring Training pitching.

And you would be wrong.

Opening Day is little more than a week away, but 2012 already has already delivered a few surprises, as well as some more predictable performances.

The Surprising

  • John Grabow has yet to give up an earned run. After a second mediocre season in Wrigley Field made him a target of fan frustration, the nine-year veteran seemed on the verge of Washed Up, and the best he could get for 2012 was a minor-league contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers. But now, Grabow has a fighting chance at filling the final spot in the Dodgers’ regular-season bullpen. In six appearances this Spring, the 33-year-old has given up no runs, one walk, and only four hits across six innings, while striking out 7.
  • In Arizona, veteran reliever Craig Breslow has been outperformed by a low-level minor leaguer. With a lifetime ERA of 3.06, the odds are good that Breslow will find his form during the regular season, but so far this Spring he’s been ineffective, running up a 7.11 ERA in five appearances. The real shocker has been teammate Brett Lorin, a 6’7″ starter who has yet to play even Double-A ball yet. In 7 relief appearances this Spring, the 24-year-old is 1-0 with a 2.57 ERA, five strikeouts, and nary a single walk.
  • Minor-leaguer Nate Freiman has 5 RBIs in just 5 at-bats. He’s yet to reach Double-A. He wasn’t on the San Diego Padres’ Spring Training roster, or among its non-roster invitees. But the 6’7″ first baseman has made the most of his limited opportunities this Spring. In 3 appearances, none of them as a starter, Freiman hit a three-run HR, an RBI single, and a sacrifice fly. Only two Jewish players — Danny Valencia (7 RBIs, 45 at-bats), and Ike Davis (6 RBIs, 35 at-bats) have driven in more runs.
  • Ryan Braun is hitting just .095. Narrowly escaping a 50-game suspension under MLB’s drug policy probably hasn’t helped Braun’s psyche any. But who would expect the N.L.’s 2011 MVP to have just 2 hits in 21 at-bats so far this Spring? To be fair, the Milwaukee Brewers’ 28-year-old left fielder has drawn 6 walks, giving him a respectable if modest .321 on-base percentage. Still…
  • The “other” Ryan is hitting .455. Boston Red Sox C Ryan Lavarnway, who made his Major League debut last August, has always swung a good bat. But his performance this Spring will make the Red Sox think twice about sending him down to AAA next week.

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The Predictable

  • Ian Kinsler is off to a fast start, hitting .368 with 3 HRs and 5 RBIs.
  • Sam Fuld is hitting .217, identical to his average across seven MLB Spring Trainings. Notwithstanding his remarkable start last April, Super Sam hits only slight better during the regular season, with a career average of .244.
  • Jason Marquis is struggling with his control. In 4 Spring stars, the newly-arrived Minnesota Twin is 1-1 with an 8.53 ERA, and he’s walked nearly twice as many batters (9) as he’s struck out (5).
For more detailed Spring Training stats, see the tables below.

Hitters

Spring training games played through March 25, 2012
 BatterTeamPosABHHRRBIBBSOAVGOBPSLG
1Ben OrloffHOU2B210100.500.500.500
2Ryan LavarnwayBOSC33150435.455.486.515
3Nate FreimanSD1B521501.400.3331.000
4Ian KinslerTEX2B38143515.368.385.684
5Jake LemmermanLADSS310000.333.333.333
6Danny ValenciaMIN3B45123729.267.298.533
7Josh SatinNYM2B2770239.259.323.296
8Ike DavisNYM1B3581677.229.357.371
9Sam FuldTBLF2350055.217.357.217
10Kevin YoukilisBOS3B2860246.214.333.250
11Ryan BraunMILLF2121265.095.321.238
TOTAL260739343152.281nana

Pitchers

Spring Training games played through March 25, 2012
 PlayerTeamWLERAIPHRERBBSO
1John GrabowLAD100.00640017
2Daniel BerlindCHC000.00100010
3Brett LorinARI102.57742205
4Michael SchwimerPHI103.864.252215
5Scott FeldmanTEX024.50141777211
6Craig BreslowARI007.116.165534
7Jason MarquisMIN118.5312.219121295
TOTAL434.8851.25528281737

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Spring Training update (3/11/12)

By Scott Barancik/Jewish Baseball News

Spring Training 2012 is in its second week, and a number of Jewish players are in the mix.

Fifteen Jews — including 6 pitchers and 9 position players — were invited to participate in Major League Baseball’s annual rite this year. They include all 13 who played MLB ball in 2011, plus former major league OF Ryan Kalish (Boston Red Sox) and current minor league P Brett Lorin (Arizona Diamondbacks). Fourteen of the 15 are on their teams’ 40-man roster. P John Grabow, who recently signed a minor-league contract with the Los Angeles dodgers, is the lone non-roster invitee.

The Boston Red Sox have the highest Jewish population of any team at Spring Training, with three players, followed by the Arizona Diamondbacks, New York Mets, and Texas Rangers, each with two.

Through games played March 10, Jewish batters were hitting a combined .253, with 2 HRs and 10 RBIs in 75 at-bats (see table below). New York Mets 1B Ike Davis led the group with a .400 average and .500 on-base percentage. Minnesota Twins 3B Danny Valencia showed some power with a HR, two doubles, and a .357 average. National League MVP Ryan Braun was off to a slow start, with four strikeouts and just one hit in his first 8 at-bats, a home run.

Boston’s Kalish, who had off-season surgery on his neck and left shoulder, isn’t expected to play until June.

Jewish pitchers were playing admirably well. Five of the six hadn’t yielded a single run through March 10. Texas Rangers starter Scott Feldman, for example, gave up just two hits and a walk over five total innings while striking out three. Jason Marquis, a newly-minted Minnesota Twin, was the sole disappointment. He blew his first start by giving up 4 earned runs and 3 walks to the Red Sox before being removed in the 2nd inning. His second start, against the St. Louis Cardinals, was modestly better: Marquis gave up 1 earned run on 3 hits and 2 walks over 3 innings.

Following are player stats through games played March 10:

Batter Team Pos AB H HR RBI BB SO AVG OBP SLG
1 Ike Davis NYM 1B 10 4 0 0 2 3 .400 .500 .500
2 Danny Valencia MIN 3B 14 5 1 4 0 2 .357 .357 .714
3 Josh Satin NYM 2B 12 3 0 1 1 5 .250 .308 .250
4 Kevin Youkilis BOS 3B 9 2 0 1 2 2 .222 .364 .333
5 Ian Kinsler TEX 2B 14 3 0 0 0 2 .214 .214 .214
6 Ryan Lavarnway BOS C 5 1 0 2 1 2 .200 .286 .200
7 Ryan Braun MIL LF 8 1 1 2 1 4 .125 .222 .500
8 Sam Fuld TB OF 3 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
9 Ryan Kalish BOS OF
TOTALS 75 19 2 10 7 20 .253


Player Team W L ERA IP H R ER BB SO
1 Scott Feldman TEX 0 0 0.00 5 2 0 0 1 3
2 Craig Breslow ARI 0 0 0.00 2.1 1 0 0 0 2
3 Brett Lorin ARI 0 0 0.00 2 0 0 0 0 1
4 Michael Schwimer PHI 1 0 0.00 2 2 0 0 0 3
5 Jason Marquis MIN 0 1 9.64 4.2 6 5 5 5 2
6 John Grabow LAD 0 0 0.00 1 0 0 0 0 1
TOTALS 1 1 16.3 11 5 5 6 12


To track the performance of Jewish players during Spring Training, check the Jewish Box Score on our home page every day.

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JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — Sam Fuld, the Tampa Bay Rays outfielder who was diagnosed with Type-1 diabetes at age 10, is the lead attraction at a two-day diabetes sports camp to be held in Tampa, Fla., in February 2012.

Kids ages 8 to 18 can choose to play up to three sports at the camp, where they will be coached by professional or amateur athletes who, like them, had to learn to manage Type-1 diabetes. All activities will occur on the campus of the University of South Florida.

The cost is $70 per camper. For more information, click here.

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Playoffs recap: How they did

JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS –Now that the 2011 season is officially over, let’s review how Jewish players did during the playoffs:

  • Ian Kinsler (2B), Texas Rangers. Playing in the postseason for the 2nd time in his 6-year career, Kinsler performed his leadoff-man magic, finishing 1st among A.L. players in walks (14), 3rd in hits (20/tie), and 6th in on-base percentage (.438). He was even hotter during the World Series, leading all hitters in average (.360) as well as on-base percentage (.500). But the power (32 HRs) and speed (30 stolen bases) Kinsler displayed in 2011 escaped him during the playoffs. Though he did finish with 11 RBIs, Kinsler hit just 1 HR during the postseason and was caught stealing in 4 of 7 attempts — as many times as he was caught the entire regular season.
  • Ryan Braun (LF), Milwaukee Brewers. A candidate for the N.L. MVP award this year, Braun was nearly as impressive during the playoffs. Despite getting only 42 at-bats — the Brewers lost in the N.L. Championship Series — he ranked 3rd among N.L. players in doubles (7), 5th in RBIs (10), and 4th in both average (.405) and on-base percentage (.468). Less impressive were his stolen bases (1) and strikeouts (9).
  • Scott Feldman (P), Texas Rangers. The 6-foot-6 pitcher, converted to a relief role after spending the first half of 2011 on the disabled list, was like two different men during the playoffs. Through Game 1 of the World Series he was almost untouchable, giving up no runs, no walks, and just 4 hits over 10-and-a-third innings while striking out 10.
    But Feldman was abysmal in the rest of the World Series. Over 4 games and 3-and-a-third innings he had a 13.50 ERA, giving up 4 hits, 6 walks, hitting a batter, and striking out just one.
  • Sam Fuld (LF), Tampa Bay Rays. In his first-ever postseason, the second-string outfielder went 0-for-3 as a pinch-hitter.

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JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — Some pro ballplayers shine during the regular season but wilt under the pressure of playoff games.

So far, Milwaukee Brewers RF Ryan Braun isn’t one of them. Two games into the 2011 playoffs, the MVP candidate is 6-for-8 with two doubles, a HR (see it here), and 3 RBIs. His .750 batting average is the MLB’s highest.

Braun’s only other playoff stint came in 2008, when the Brewers battled the Philadelphia Phillies for a division championship. He hit .313 that series, 28 points higher than his .285 season average.

Texas Rangers P Scott Feldman showed similar grit in Friday night’s pitched 9-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays. Coming in for starter C.J. Wilson, who surrendered 6 earned runs on 8 hits (including 3 HRs) over 5 innings, Feldman shut down the Rays, giving up just 2 hits over 3 stellar innings while striking out 4.

Also participating in the 2011 playoffs is Rangers 2B Ian Kinsler, who is hitting a more modest .250 with 1 double, 1 walk, and two RBIs. Rays OF Sam Fuld flied out in his sole playoff at-bat to date, a pinch-hit opportunity.

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Sam Fuld" src="http://www.jewishbaseballnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Sam-Fuld-Icon-photo-4-16-2011-e1303217829492-118x150.jpg" alt="" width="118" height="150" />JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — Sam Fuld hasn’t had many chances to be a hero since rookie phenom Desmond Jennings assumed left-field duties for the Tampa Bay Rays.

But the diminutive 29-year-old made the most of a rare start Wednesday (8/10/2011), reaching base all 5 times he came to the plate and delivering a two-out, game-winning triple in the 9th inning (see video) to give the Rays an 8-7 victory over the Kansas City Royals.

Things looked bleak for the Rays when they opened the bottom frame of the 9th inning down 7-3, but five hits sealed the win. Fuld droving in the tying run with his triple, and when Royals 2B Johnny Giavotella’s throw to third base went wide, Fuld completed the circuit home. His teammates responded by leaping on top of him in what the disheveled Stanford alum later called a “dogpile.”

“It was the craziest 360 feet I’ve ever run,” Fuld told MLB.com.”The most exciting two minutes of my life.”

Despite going 2-for-2 with three walks, Fuld almost ended up one of the game’s goats. With the Rays down 4-2 in the 8th inning, Fuld singled, and then, in an aggressive bit of baserunning, safely reached third base on Desmond Jennings’ single. Moments later, with Rays SS Sean Rodriguez at the plate, Royals catcher Salvador Perez picked off Fuld with a quick toss to 3B Mike Moustakas.

So far this season, Fuld is hitting .244 with 16 doubles, 5 triples, and 3 HRs in 279 at-bats, along with 20 stolen bases.

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Sam Fuld" src="http://www.jewishbaseballnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/Sam-Fuld-Icon-photo-4-16-2011-106x150.jpg" alt="" width="106" height="150" srcset="http://www.jewishbaseballnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/Sam-Fuld-Icon-photo-4-16-2011-106x150.jpg 106w, http://www.jewishbaseballnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/Sam-Fuld-Icon-photo-4-16-2011-212x300.jpg 212w, http://www.jewishbaseballnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/Sam-Fuld-Icon-photo-4-16-2011.jpg 424w" sizes="(max-width: 106px) 100vw, 106px" />

Sam Fuld

JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — No Jews will be competing in tonight’s Home Run Derby in Phoenix (7/11/2011), but there will be a Jewish player in the broadcast booth: Tampa Bay Rays LF Sam Fuld.

“It’s kind of funny they chose me to do it for the derby,” Fuld told TBO.com. “I don’t know anything about hitting home runs.”

Indeed, Fuld has hit just 3 HRs so far in 2011. In six minor-league seasons, he hit 24 HRs over 2,651 at-bats, or fewer than one in every 100.

But the 29-year-old Stanford alum does have a special status on ESPN’s Web Gems site, where his highlight-reel catches have been among fan favorites.

And Fuld does know a thing or two about round-trippers — if only from watching them fly overhead as a left fielder. “Yeah, I can say, ‘That one looked familiar,’ or ‘I saw that one before.'”

Tonight’s Home Run Derby will be broadcast at 8:00pm EST on ESPN.

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Jew vs. Jew: Ian Kinsler and Sam Fuld

Sam Fuld" src="http://www.jewishbaseballnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/Sam-Fuld-Icon-photo-4-16-2011-212x300.jpg" alt="" width="129" height="178" />

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JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — It was Jew vs. Jew on Wednesday (6/1/2011) as the Tampa Bay Rays and LF Sam Fuld took on the Texas Rangers and 2B Ian Kinsler in St. Petersburg.

Here’s how it went.

Direct interactions

  • Batting in the 3rd inning, Kinsler flied out to Fuld.
  • After drawing a walk in the 5th inning, Fuld attempted to steal second base but was tagged out by Kinsler.

Game stats

  • Fuld went 1-for-2 with a single and a walk. He got caught stealing in the 5th inning but notched his 13th stolen base of the season in the 8th inning.
  • Kinsler went 0-for-3 but drew a walk and stole his 11th base of the season in the 8th inning.

Final analysis

  • Fuld had a slightly better game offensively than Kinsler, but he nullified it by getting caught stealing in the first of two attempts. Each player recorded one out on the other.
  • Bragging rights belong to Kinsler, whose team won by a score of 3-0.

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