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Browsing Posts tagged Tyler Kolodny

Rookies, returnees, retirees and renegades

By Scott Barancik, editor

Spring Training has only just begun, but there’s plenty going on in the baseball world.

  • Tyler Kolodny didn’t give up on sports when the Baltimore Orioles released him after six seasons in the minors. He just picked a new one. Although the 6-foot-5-inch, 245-pound Kolodny had never played football at any level, he arranged a tryout last year at Pierce College, earned a starting spot at tight end, and ended up being named all-conference after scoring 5 touchdowns on 392 yards receiving. Now the 26-year-old is joining the University of Memphis team as a sophomore. “Tyler is an athletic savant,” Pierce offensive coordinator Jason Sabolic told the Memphis Commercial-Appeal. “If he decides he’s gonna go be a downhill skier, he’ll be the best downhill skier and he’ll practice until he makes the Olympics.”
  • Former minor-league pitcher Jason Knapp is making a comeback. A one-time Top 100 prospect who’s been out of baseball since 2010 due to a pair of shoulder surgeries, the 23-year-old flame-thrower has signed a minor-league contract with the Texas Rangers. The 6-foot-5-inch Knapp struck out an average of 12 batters per 9 innings over his three minor-league seasons up through Single-A.
  • Ohio State recruit Brad Goldberg has only one minor-league season under his belt, but some people believe he could make the Majors as early as 2014. The 6-foot-4-inch Goldberg — who turned 24 on Friday — posted a 1.54 ERA last season, with 49 strikeouts over 35 innings of relief, and will begin this season as a minor-league starter. “Just a hard-nosed, mature kid, with a really good, aggressive approach to everything he did,” Chicago White Sox assistant scouting director Nick Hostetler recently told MLB.com. “I loved the power arm, the big strong body and the competitiveness.”
  • Ryan Lavarnway is learning how to play first base (see articles one, two). The 26-year-old has played nothing but catcher and DH since the Boston Red Sox drafted him in 2008, but according to MLB Trade rumors, “Boston is so deep at catcher at both the Triple-A and Major League levels, Lavarnway‘s only chance at continued playing time may be as a Triple-A first baseman.” The club reportedly hopes a change of pace will reignite his bat, which has suffered from a power outage.
  • Despite going 9-5 with the San Diego Padres last season, Jason Marquis remains a free agent. The key reason is uncertainty: Marquis underwent Tommy John surgery on his right elbow last July and will need much of the 2014 season to recover. At 35, whether he will be able to return to form is an open question.
  • Former Houston Astros and Colorado Rockies pitcher Jason Hirsh has opened the Jason Hirsh Pitching Academy in Denver, CO. In addition to coaching and training young hurlers, the 32-year-old still likes to play competitively. Hirsh started one game last year with the independent Amarillo Sox, and the independent Denver Browns claim to have signed the 6-foot-8-inch righthander for the 2014 season.
  • The Milwaukee Brewers are moving Ryan Braun from his traditional spot in left field to right field to make room for second-year player Khris Davis, who hit a remarkable 11 HRs and 10 doubles in just 137 at-bats last season. The 30-year-old Braun hasn’t played since his suspension, in July.

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Good news Monday (4/30/2012)

By Scott Barancik/Jewish Baseball News

My 8-year-old says Mondays are among her favorite days of the week because she has ‘running club’ after school. For the rest of humanity, Mondays can be hellish. May these tidbits make your day a little easier:

  1. Washington Nationals prospect Danny Rosenbaum recently was named the Eastern League’s player of the week, and it’s no surprise why. Although the 24-year-old Harrisburg Senators (AA) starter barely registers a blip on Baseball America’s list of top Nationals prospects, he’s 3-0 with a 0.94 ERA and two shutouts this season and has struck out 18 batters while walking just two. Rosenbaum is adept at getting players to ground out. When he blanked the Altoona Curve last week, a local newspaper said Curve batters spent more time in the sand than former Baywatch star David Hasselhoff. If he continues to excel — Jewish Baseball News named him its top minor-league starter last year — Rosenbaum could be called-up to the Majors this September. Said Washington Nationals director of player development Doug Harris to the Washington Post: “We think he’s a major-league pitcher, without a doubt.”
  2. In baseball, pitchers have a reputation for being introspective thinkers, engineers of their own mechanics. But Philadelphia Phillies reliever Michael Schwimer takes the cake. In an interview with FanGraphs — the chosen website for those who prefer here.
  3. Not every Jewish player is so left-brained. Baltimore Orioles prospect Tyler Kolodny is known more for turning a wet tarp into a slip-and-slide, doing full splits to snare balls tossed in the dirt, and cutting-up for his teammates. See the full story here.
  4. San Diego Padres prospect Nate Freiman is on another power-trip this season. After hitting 22 HRs and driving in 111 runs last year — good enough to earn him an honorable mention in Jewish Baseball News’ most valuable minor-league player award — the 6’7″ first baseman was moved up to AA ball, where he continues to batter the rawhide. Freiman leads the Texas League with 9 HRs and ranks 3rd in RBIs (18), eighth in batting average (.313), and 13th in slugging percentage (.699).
  5. Also excelling early in 2012 is Arizona Diamondbacks prospect Jack Marder. Now in his second season with the High Desert Mavericks (High-A), he ranks 4th among California League players in batting average (.360), doubles (7/tie), and runs (18/tie), and  is tied for 7th in RBIs (13).
  6. Research by Jewish Baseball News contributor Jack W. shows just how good today’s Jewish MLB stars are. Milwaukee Brewers RF Ryan Braun has the second-best career fielding percentage among left fielders since the statistic debuted in 1954. Among active players, the N.L.’s reigning Most Valuable Player ranks 1st in fielding percentage, 4th in slugging percentage, 9th in OPS (slugging percentage plus on-base percentage), and 10th in batting average. Texas Rangers 2B Ian Kinsler ranks 1st among active second basemen in range factor per game and ranks 6th in career stolen-base percentage of any player since 1951. Boston Red Sox 3B/1B Kevin Youkilis ranks 2nd among active first basemen in career fielding percentage and 13th among all active players in career on-base percentage.
  7. Youkilis is no slouch when it comes to recognizability, but he recently married into New England royalty when he wed the sister of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. Does that make him Julie Brady’s Giselle Bundchen? If you’ve ever seen Youk’s mug, you’d know he was no supermodel. But definitely a super guy. No word whether a Rabbi presided over the ceremony, though we kind of doubt it.
Have any good news about Jewish athletes and teams? E-mail them to sbarancik@jewishbaseballnews.com.

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