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Israel’s WBC roster taking shape

By Scott Barancik, editor

The roster of players set to represent Israel in the World Baseball Classic in South Korea this March is taking shape.

Team Israel general manager Peter Kurz, whose squad of former Major League and current minor-league athletes guided Israel to a qualifying-round win in September, said Tuesday that 15 ballplayers had already committed to play in the main tournament in Seoul. The list includes:

  1. Ty Kelly, IF (New York Mets)
  2. Sam Fuld, OF (free agent)
  3. Jason Marquis, P (free agent)
  4. Ike Davis, 1B (free agent)
  5. Ryan Lavarnway, C (Oakland Athletics/minors)
  6. Cody Decker, IF (Milwaukee Brewers/minors)
  7. Josh Zeid, P (free agent)
  8. Nate Freiman, 1B (free agent)
  9. Tyler Krieger, IF (Cleveland Indians/minors)
  10. Nick Rickles, C (Washington Nationals/minors)
  11. Dean Kremer, P (Los Angeles Dodgers/minors)
  12. Corey Baker, P (St. Louis Cardinals/minors)
  13. Jeremy Bleich, P (free agent)
  14. Jake Kalish, P (Kansas City Royals/minors)
  15. Alex Katz, P (Chicago White Sox/minors)

Two key additions are Ty Kelly and Sam Fuld. During the qualifiers in September, Kelly was playing for the New York Mets, while Fuld, then with the Oakland Athletics, was on the disabled list. Also new are minor leaguers Tyler Krieger and Jake Kalish.

Roster spots have been offered to at least seven additional minor leaguers who played for Team Israel in September : Zach Borenstein (Arizona Diamondbacks), Brad Goldberg (Chicago White Sox), Blake Gailen (independent), Scotty Burcham (Colorado Rockies), Tyler Herron (New York Mets), R C Orlan (Washington Nationals), and Joey Wagman (Oakland Athletics). None has provided a final answer yet.

Kurz told Jewish Baseball News that Danny Valencia of the Seattle Mariners and Craig Breslow, who is seeking to return to the Major Leagues, are possible future additions to Israel’s roster. Team Israel also is pursuing Joc Pederson of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Jason Kipnis of the Cleveland Indians.

Several prominent pros politely declined Team Israel’s invitations due to injury, family commitments, Major League aspirations, or other concerns. They include Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers, Kevin Pillar and Scott Feldman of the Toronto Blue Jays, Richard Bleier of the New York Yankees, Jon Moscot of the Cincinnati Reds, and minor-league prospect and Ryan Sherriff of the St. Louis Cardinals. Sherriff played for Team Israel in the September qualifiers.

Alex Bregman of the Houston Astros and Ian Kinsler of the Detroit Tigers have committed to play for Team USA rather than Team Israel in the World Baseball Classic.

Under WBC rules, athletes can play on Team Israel as long as they are eligible for Israeli citizenship. That means having at least one Jewish grandparent or being married to someone Jewish. Nearly all the players on Israel’s roster personally identify as Jewish.

Earlier this month, eight players on the WBC roster visited Israel for a week to learn about the country, meet Israeli fans, and break ground on a new baseball stadium. MLB.com reporter Jonathan Mayo and Ironbound Films co-founder Jeremy Newberger plan to create a documentary about the trip, titled Heading Home.

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Israel's bench empties after Sunday's series-clinching win

By Scott Barancik, Editor

Israel’s first two wins in the World Baseball Classic qualifiers were fairly close affairs, but the team crushed Great Britain 9-1 in the finals Sunday night to sweep the tournament and earn its first-ever trip to the main WBC event, which will take place in March 2017.

Israel dominated equally from the mound and the plate. Starter Jason Marquis and reliever Josh Zeid maintained a perfect game until one out in the 7th inning, and a no-hitter until two outs in the 8th. Zeid, who notched the win, led all qualifier pitchers with 9 strikeouts in the series. Dean Kremer, a 20-year-old Los Angeles Dodgers prospect who this summer became the first Israeli to be drafted by a Major League team, held Great Britain scoreless in the 9th despite yielding 2 hits.

Israel’s bats thundered, beginning with two 2-run home runs in the 5th inning. Blake Gailen, a 5’9″ outfielder making his first appearance in the tournament and batting last in the order, crushed the first round-tripper. Next was C Ryan Lavarnway, who later in the game stroked an RBI single.

3B Cody Decker, the San Diego Padres’ all-time minor-league home run leader, added a solo shot in the 7th inning. RF Zach Borenstein — who made a diving catch in the 5th to preserve Israel’s perfect game — contributed an RBI triple, and DH Charlie Cutler delivered a 2-run double. SS Scotty Burcham led Israel with three hits.

“This is very emotional. Highly emotional,” Decker told MLB.com. “More emotional than I’m letting on.”

In 2012, Israel lost a heartbreaker to Spain in the 10th inning of the qualifying final. That team was managed by Brad Ausmus, who went on to become manager of the Detroit Tigers.

Israel’s win Sunday earned it the 16th and final berth in the 2017 WBC tournament, which will begin in Seoul, South Korea. The team likely will add a few current Major Leaguers and high-level prospects to its roster, given that MLB will still be in off-season mode then.

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OF <a href=

Zach Borenstein accepts congrats after his RBI single put Israel ahead 3-2 in the 7th (click to see game video)" width="500" height="321" srcset="http://www.jewishbaseballnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/borenstein-rbi-wbc-9-22-2016.jpg 541w, http://www.jewishbaseballnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/borenstein-rbi-wbc-9-22-2016-120x77.jpg 120w, http://www.jewishbaseballnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/borenstein-rbi-wbc-9-22-2016-300x192.jpg 300w" sizes="(max-width: 500px) 100vw, 500px" /> (click to see game recap)

By Scott Barancik, Editor

It took Israel’s bats a while to come alive Thursday at Brooklyn’s MCU Park, but a four-run rally in the 7th inning drove the team to a come-from-behind, 5-2 win over Great Britain.

C Ryan Lavarnway led the way with three hits and a walk, and five Team Israel players shared RBI duties, including RF Zach Borenstein, whose 7th-inning single gave Israel a 3-2 lead, and Ike Davis, whose bases-loaded, pinch-hit single brought the score to 4-2. Also plating runs were 3B Cody Decker, CF Mike Meyers, and LF Rhett Wiseman.

Starter Jason Marquis limited Great Britain to one run over three innings, and reliever Josh Zeid kept the game close with 3.2 strong innings, striking out 6 batters while yielding one run.

Israel’s batters ended up with as many hits as its pitchers had strikeouts (11), although the team left the bases loaded in two consecutive innings.

Craig Breslow earned the win despite a shaky inning of pitching, and Brad Goldberg earned the save.

Today at 12pm EST, Israel faces Brazil, which beat Pakistan 10-0 on Thursday. Check out the live stream.

For more details on yesterday’s game:

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By Scott Barancik, Editor

Here are your minor-league highlights from the week of August 29 – September 4, 2016.

New additions

Jewish Baseball News welcomes three more players to its list of professional ballplayers. All three will play for Team Israel later this month in the World Baseball Classic qualifiers in Brooklyn.

  • Tyler Herron (Mets/AAA) is a 30-year-old right-hander out of Florida. Herron was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals out of high school in the 1st round of the 2005 amateur draft. The Mets are his fourth MLB franchise.
  • CF Braden Bishop (Mariners/High-A) is a 23-year-old California native who attended the University of Washington. Seattle drafted him in the 3rd round in 2015.
  • Troy Neiman (Rockies/High-A) is a 25-year-old right-hander out of California. Colorado signed the Cal-State Chico alum as an undrafted free agent in 2013.

Another player on the roster for Team Israel, CF Ty Kelly, was called-up by the Mets on September 1 and therefore is unlikely to be available for the WBC qualifiers. Although his mother was raised Jewish, Kelly does not identify as Jewish, so Jewish Baseball News does not track his statistics.

Jewish Baseball News Hitter of the Week

RF Rhett Wiseman (Nationals/A) hit .346 with 3 HRs, a double, 7 RBIs, and 2 stolen bases. He’s hitting .249 with 13 HRs, 25 doubles, 5 triples, 73 RBIs, and 18 stolen bases.

Jewish Baseball News Pitcher of the Week

P Rob Kaminsky (Indians/AA) earned 2 wins last week, pitching 7.1 innings of one-run ball on August 29, and 7 innings of 3-run ball on September 3. A 1st-round pick of the Cardinals in the 2013 draft, Kaminsky is 11-7 this season with a 3.28 ERA. He went 5-0 in August with a 1.78 ERA.

Other highlights

3B Scotty Burcham (Rockies/A) had a strong week, hitting .545 with a double, triple, 3 RBIs, 2 walks, and 2 stolen bases. The 2015 draftee had three multi-hit games, including one with 4 hits and another with 3.

1B Nate Freiman (Red Sox/AA) hit .273 with a home run, double, 5 RBIs, and 3 walks.

LF Zach Borenstein (Diamondbacks/AAA) hit .294 with 2 home runs and a double.

C Michael Barash (Angels/A), a 2016 draftee, went 4-for-10 with a home run, a walk, and 3 RBIs.

3B Mitchell Kranson (Twins/rookie), a 2016 draftee, went 3-for-5 on September 4 with 2 singles, a double, and 4 RBIs.

LF Mike Meyers (Red Sox/High-A) hit .333 with 2 doubles, a walk, 3 RBIs, and a stolen base.

C Garrett Stubbs (Astros/AA) hit .385 with 2 doubles, a walk, on RBI, and a stolen base.

In the first Triple-A start of his 8-year minor-league career, P Tyler Herron (Mets/AAA) earned a win September 1, giving up 2 earned runs on 3 hits and 3 walks over 6.2 innings while striking out 7.

P Corey Baker (Cardinals/AA) bounced back from a tough outing on August 30 to earn a win on September 4, pitching 5 shutout innings on 3 hits and 3 walks while striking out 2. Baker also went 1-for-2 at the plate.

P Dean Kremer (Dodgers/A), a 2016 draftee, held opponents scoreless in two separate 3-inning relief appearances, yielding a total of 2 hits and no walks while striking out 9. Since being promoted to Single-A, Kremer is 2-0 with a 0.59 ERA, yielding just 4 hits over 15.1 innings while striking out 22.

P Joey Wagman (Athletics/High-A) was near perfect in two relief appearances, yielding no hits and one walk across a combined 5 innings while striking out 8.

P Gabe Cramer threw 3 shutout innings over two appearances, yielding one hit and no walks while striking out 2.

P Max Fried (Braves/A) didn’t get a decision on September 3, but he did strike out 10 batters over 4.2 innings. It was his second consecutive 10-strikeout game.

P Brad Goldberg (White Sox/AAA) shut out his opponents in two one-inning relief appearances and earned his 10th save of the season.

P Raul Jacobson (Mets/A-short-season) pitched 6 shutout innings to earn a win on September 3, yielding 4 hits and 2 walks while striking out 1.

Transactions

  • The Pirates promoted P Henry Hirsch to Double-A. It is his first time playing at that level.
  • The Mets promoted P Tyler Herron to Triple-A.
  • The Rays promoted P Kenny Rosenberg, a 2016 draftee, from the rookie Gulf Coast League to the rookie Appalachian League.
  • The Pirates released 23-year-old C Nate Irving, a 2014 draftee who hit .276 in 2015 but hasn’t played since then.
  • P Jake Drossner (Brewers/A) came off the disabled list.
  • LF Jake Thomas (Blue Jays/A) went on the disabled list.

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 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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Minor-League Monday (June 20-26)

Mason Katz homers twice

Mason Katz homers twice (click for video)

By Scott Barancik, Editor

Here are your minor-league updates from the week of June 20-26, 2016.

Jewish Baseball News Player of the Week

P Corey Baker (Cardinals/AAA) earned a shutout win in his first-ever Triple-A game, scattering four singles and a walk over 6.2 innings while striking out 6. Baker had two 1-2-3 innings and threw 62 of 95 pitches for strikes.

Debuts

At least six draftees or undrafted free agents made their pro debuts last week.

Angels draftee Michael Barash (C/rookie league) hit .333.

Twins draftee Mitchell Kranson (C/rookie league) hit .286 with two RBIs.

White Sox prospect Steve Pollakov (C/rookie league), an undrafted free agent, hit a pinch-hit single in his first pro at-bat and went 2-for-4 with a three-run home run in his first start.

Diamondbacks prospect Adam Walton (IF/rookie league), an undrafted free agent, walked and drove in a run.

Mets draftee Jeremy Wolf (OF/rookie league) doubled and drew four walks.

Blue Jays draftee Jake Fishman (P/rookie league) earned a hold in his first appearance despite yielding 4 earned runs over 2.1 innings.

Other highlights

SS Alex Bregman (Astros/AA) didn’t hit for average last week (.227), but four of his five hits went for extra bases and he walked eight times. The bigger news is that the second-year player is being promoted to Triple-A after participating in the Texas League’s All-Star game and home run derby on June 28.

Playing in his first three games of the season, second-year pro C Dalton Blumenfeld (Angels/rookie league) went 4-for-7 with 2 walks and 2 RBIs.

LF Zach Borenstein (Diamondbacks/AAA) hit .294 last week with a home run, double, 3 walks, and 6 RBIs. He’s tied for fourth place on the Reno Aces with 34 RBIs.

Former major-league 1B Nate Freiman (Red Sox/AA) had a big week, hitting .417 with a home run, double, 2 walks, and 8 RBIs.

Former major-league C Ryan Lavarnway (Red Sox/AA) hit a pair of HRs on June 20 and .429 for the week.

2B Mason Katz (Cardinals/AA) went 3-for-3 on two solo HRs, a single and a walk. After hitting just .053 in 19 at-bats for the franchise’s High-A team, Katz is hitting .361 in Double-A, with 3 HRs and 7 RBIs in 36 at-bats.

C Garrett Stubbs (Astros/High-A) hit .400 last week, raising his average to .316, fifth best in the California League. The league’s next highest-ranked catcher is hitting .278. Behind the plate, Stubbs has nixed 16 of 26 stolen-base attempts and discouraged many more baserunners from even trying.

P Max Fried (Braves/A) pitched six innings on June 23 to earn his fifth win against five losses, yielding one earned run on six hits while striking out six and walking none.

Second-year pro Raul Jacobson (Mets/short season) made his 2016 debut last week. In two relief outings, he pitched 7 scoreless innings, earned a save, and yield 5 hits and 1 walk while striking out 7.

P Jared Lakind (Pittsburgh/AA) saw his 17-game scoreless streak end June 23, but he began another streak June 26 with a perfect inning of relief.

Transactions

SS Alex Bregman (Astros), a 2015 draftee, is being promoted to Triple-A.

P Corey Baker (Cardinals) was promoted to Triple-A for the first time in his career.

Yankees 1B Ike Davis was designated for assignment. He says he will report to the team’s Triple-A club if he isn’t signed by another MLB team.

C Nick Rickles (Nationals) was assigned to the team’s Double-A club after spending nearly the entire season in extended spring training. He doubled and had a ground-out RBI in his June 26 debut.

OF Kyle Ruchim (White Sox), an undrafted free agent, was sent from Single-A to the club’s rookie-league team.

After pitching one perfect inning in Triple-A, P Jeremy Bleich (Phillies) returned to the franchise’s Double-A club.

Draftee Brandon Gold (P/short-season) signed with the Rockies.

Draftee Matthew Gorst (P/rookie) signed with the Red Sox.

Draftee Ryan Gold (C/rookie) signed with the Blue Jays.

Draftee Kenny Rosenberg (P/rookie) signed with the Rays.

Draftee Andy Yerzy (C/rookie) signed with the Diamondbacks.

Update

Eagled-eyed readers may have noticed that Cardinals prospect Matt Fiedler has disappeared from our list of 2016 draftees. Although the U. of Minnesota alum has a Jewish parent and agreed to be identified as Jewish less than two years ago, he now identifies as Christian. We wish Matt the best and a great future in baseball.

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Minor-League Monday (June 6-12, 2016)

By Scott Barancik, Editor

Here they are, your minor-league updates from the week of June 6-12, 2016.

Jewish Baseball News Player of the Week

SS Alex Bregman (Astros/AA) hit .400, drove in 7 runs, and hit a walk-off HR last week. The second-year prospect ranks among Texas League leaders with a .314 average (2nd), 13 HRs (2nd/tied), 42 RBIs (1st/tied), .411 on-base percentage (1st), .596 slugging percentage (.596), and a walk-to-strikeout ratio of 1.35 (1st).

Other highlights

P Jared Lakind (Pirates/AA) upped his streak of scoreless relief appearances to 14. The 2013 draftee hasn’t allowed an earned run since April, a period during he has reduced his ERA from 4.63 to 1.65.

P Max Fried (Braves/A) tossed his second straight scoreless start, giving up 4 hits and 2 walks over 6 innings while striking out 9.

In his first games this season, OF Jake Thomas (Blue Jays/A) hit .435 (10-for-23) last week with 3 extra-base hits and 4 RBIs.

C Ryan Lavarnway (Blue Jays/AA) hit .389 last week with a home run, 2 doubles, 4 RBIs, and 3 walks.

LF Zach Borenstein (Diamondbacks/AAA) went 2-for-3 with 3 RBIs and 3 stolen bases on June 7. For the month of June, he’s hitting .455.

It seemed a bit surprising last week when the Cardinals promoted 2B Mason Katz to Double-A after he had gone 0-for-11 in High-A, but the 25-year-old responded by going 4-for-10 with a HR, double and 2 walks.

OF Kyle Ruchim (White Sox/A) made his minor-league debut last week. His first hit, a triple, came in his second game, on June 10.

Transactions

After ending the week going 7-for-7 on June 10-11, red-hot 1B Ike Davis (Rangers/AAA) signed with the New York Yankees today and was placed on the franchise’s 25-man roster.

Former major-leaguer and Team Israel alum Josh Satin voluntarily retired, citing the effects of repeated head injuries.

The Mets signed former major-leaguer and Team Israel alum Josh Zeid to a minor-league contract. Zeid, who worked exclusively out of the bullpen in the majors, performed beautifully in a start June 11 with the Double-A Binghamton Mets, pitching 6.2 scoreless innings.

Jason Richman (Cardinals) was assigned to extended spring training.

Injury updates

Adam Sonabend (Giants/A) came off the disabled list for one game — he went 1-for-2 with a walk on June 7 — but returned to the list on June 11.

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By Scott Barancik, Editor

Here they are, your minor-league updates from the week of May 30-June 5, 2016.

Jewish Baseball News Player of the Week

C Garrett Stubbs (Astros/High-A) maintained his hot hand, hitting .400 last week (8-for-20) with a home run, 7 RBIs, 4 walks and a stolen base. He ranks second in the California League in on-base percentage (.414/tied) and OPS (.922), eighth in average (.310), eleventh in stolen bases (9/tied), and thirteenth in RBIs (30). The winner of the 2015 Johnny Bench Award, given to the nation’s top collegiate catcher, has thrown out 12 of 18 attempted base-stealers this season.

Other highlights

P Scott Effross (Cubs/A) extended his streak of scoreless outings to 10. During that period, he went 2-0 with one save, striking out 21 batters over 15.1 innings while walking only two.

P Brad Goldberg (White Sox/AAA) delivered three scoreless relief appearances, enough to shrink his ERA from 3.12 to 2.70. He gave up three hits and no walks over a combined two-and-two-thirds innings.

After struggling a bit in his first start off the disabled list (May 30), P Rob Kaminsky (Indians/AA) recovered with a beauty on June 4, delivering five near-perfect innings in a 2-1 win over the Bowie Baysox. Cleveland’s #10 prospect yielded one hit and no walks while striking out three.

LF Mike Meyers (Red Sox/High-A) made the most of his four hits last week, driving in six runs with a home run, two doubles, a sacrifice fly, and two RBIs. His 31 RBIs rank 11th in the Carolina League.

In his last 10 relief appearances, P Jeremy Bleich (Phillies/AA) is 1-0 with a 1.17 ERA over 15.1 innings, striking out 9 while walking just one batter.

P Max Fried (Braves/A) threw five scoreless innings on June 3, yielding 3 hits and 4 walks while striking out 8. He also picked a man off first base.

CF Rhett Wiseman (Nationals/A) hit .400 (8-for-20) with a home run, double, 3 walks, 4 RBIs, and 2 stolen bases in 3 tries. After hitting .173 in April, Wiseman hit .312 in May and is hitting .500 through the first four games of June.

LF Zach Borenstein (Diamondbacks/AAA) recorded two straight 4-for-5 games on June 2 and June 4, stringing together two doubles, a triple, five singles, and one RBI while stealing a base.

Transactions

2B Mason Katz (Cardinals/High-A) came off the disabled list for the first time this season. He went hitless in three games but drove in a run with a sacrifice fly.

After returning from the disabled list in late May, C Maxx Tissenbaum (Marlins/A) hit .316 (6-for-19) with a home run, 6 RBIs, 3 walks, and just one strikeout. But for reasons unknown, he was released last week. News reports indicate the Toronto native has since signed with the Quebec Capitales of the CanAm League.

C Tim Remes (Tigers/High-A) returned to the lineup June 4 after nearly two months.

Oakland released third-year pitching prospect Mike Fagan.

Injury updates

San Francisco Giants prospect Adam Sonabend (A) was placed on the 7-day disabled list.

Cincinnati Reds prospect Zack Weiss (AA) remains on the disabled list. He’s been out the whole season with a shoulder injury.

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By Scott Barancik, Editor

Here they are, your minor-league updates from the week of May 23-29, 2016.

Jewish Baseball News Player of the Week

Jared Lakind (Pirates/AA) had a busy week, delivering four scoreless relief appearances to stretch his streak to 10. The 24-year-old gave up one hit and three walks while striking out five over a combined six innings. Lakind’s season ERA has shrunk to a slim 2.00.

Other highlights

Richard Bleier (Yankees/AAA) was called-up to the Majors for the first time in his nine-year professional career. Through May 29, he had not yet made his on-field debut.

LF Mike Meyers (Red Sox/High-A) knocked in four runs to boost his season total to 27, tying him for 11th in the Carolina League. His four triples rank fifth.

SS Alex Bregman (Astros/AA) added two HRs, two doubles, three walks and six RBIs last week while striking out just once. The 22-year-old phenom’s slugging percentage (.652) and OPS (1.077) rank second among all minor-leaguers, and his walk-to-strikeout ratio (1.54) ranks fifth.

C Garrett Stubbs (Astros/High-A) continued tearing up the ball, hitting .400 with a home run, two doubles, three walks, and four RBIs. For the season, the 23-year-old USC alum is hitting .292 with 5 HRs, 23 RBIs, 8 stolen bases, and a .394 on-base percentage in just 106 at-bats.

In just his second game back after a month on the disabled list, C Maxx Tissenbaum (Marlins/A) went hit a grand-slam home run.

CF Rhett Wiseman (Nationals/A) hit .357 with a home run, two doubles, and three RBIs.

LF Zach Borenstein (Diamondbacks/AAA) hit .333 with a home run, triple, two doubles, and four RBIs. His walk/strikeout ratio was a little lopsided, with eight whiffs and zero bases on balls.

Cincinnati Reds starter Jon Moscot was dominant in his third rehab game, pitching six shutout innings and striking out four batters while yielding four hits and no walks. He is scheduled to start tomorrow’s Reds game against the Rockies (May 31).

Reliever R.C. Orlan (Nationals/High-A) was busy too, earning two saves in three appearances. His three scoreless outings extended his streak to eight in a row. For the year, Orlan is 1-0 with a 1.27 ERA, six saves in seven opportunities, and is holding opposing batters to a .113 average and just 0.89 walks/hits per inning.

Also nailing four scoreless appearances was P Jason Richman (Rangers/High-A), who yielded four hits and a walk over a total of five innings while striking out five.

P Scott Effross (Cubs/A) was perfect in each of two relief appearances, striking out three batters over as many innings. The 22-year-old hasn’t yielded an earned run in eight straight outings.

Transactions

Former major-leaguer Ryan Lavarnway signed a minor-league deal with the Blue Jays and logged three games with the franchise’s Double-A team.

Former Athletics prospect Jeff Urlaub has joined the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs of the independent Atlantic League.

The Padres assigned former major-leaguer Josh Satin (AAA) to extended spring training.

Injury updates

Cleveland Indians prospect Rob Kaminsky (AA) remains on the disabled list.

Cincinnati Reds prospect Zack Weiss (AA) remains on the disabled list.

Birthdays

Astros prospect Garrett Stubbs (High-A) turned 23 on May 26.

Red Sox prospect Zach Kapstein (A-short season) turned 24 on May 28.

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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 18-24, 2016)

By Scott Barancik, Editor

Here they are, your minor-league highlights from the week of April 18-24.

Borenstein’s streak

Diamondbacks Triple-A prospect Zach Borenstein is 5-for-9 in his last four games with a double, HR, walk, and 4 RBIs. His 12 RBIs (in 51 at-bats) rank 14th in the Pacific Coast League.

Goldberg’s promotion

Brad Goldberg, a 6-foot-4 reliever drafted by the White Sox in 2013, pitched a scoreless inning in his Triple-A debut on 4/23/2016. The proud Ohio State alum spent all of 2015 with Chicago’s High-A team, where he went 11-for-12 in save opportunities.

Bleier’s 2016 debut

Fresh off the disabled list, Yankees Triple-A prospect Richard Bleier made his season debut on April 2014, a 4-inning relief stint in which he yielded 6 hits and one earned run but walked nobody and struck out two.

Baker’s gem

Corey Baker, a starter with the Cardinals’ Double-A club, tossed an impressive shutout on April 23, yielding no walks and four hits over 6-and-a-third innings while striking out six. It was his second straight scoreless start and lowered his season ERA to 1.76.

Short hits

  • The Rockies acquired prospect Cody Decker from the Royals. In Albuquerque Isotopes (AAA) debut on April , he singled and doubled.
  • Washington released former Major Leaguer (and Team Israel star) Nate Freiman.
  • Ike Davis made his 2016 debut with the Rock Express (AAA) on 4/22/2016. In four plate appearances, he walked and hit a sacrifice fly.
  • Max Fried‘s promising return from Tommy John surgery was chronicled by MiLB.com. He is Atlanta’s No. 10 prospect.
  • Jeremy Bleich (Phillies/AA) and R.C. Orlan (Nationals/High-A) each record their first save of the season.

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By Scott Barancik, editor

Nu, so what’s going on in the Minors?

Cody Decker — the San Diego Padres’ all-time minor-league HR leader and a participant in this month’s Triple-A Home Run Derby — has hit three HRs since the All-Star break, including Thursday’s solo shot (7/23/2015). The El Paso Chihuahuhas star has 18 HRs, and he’s hitting them at a league-leading pace of one in every 14 at-bats.

Jeff Urlaub is back from Tommy John surgery, albeit in a rehab assignment with the rookie-league AZL Athletics. In his first game in more than 14 months, the 28-year-old reliever pitched a scoreless inning of relief Thursday, striking out two batters and walking one. Mazel tov, Jeff!

At age 28 and in his first season with the Washington Nationals franchise, 2012 Team Israel member Richard Bleier is enjoying his best season yet. Check out this write-up in the Nats’ hometown paper, a modest rag called the Washington Post. And if you wish, check out JBN’s recent article on the lanky southpaw, too.

Diamondbacks prospect Zach Borenstein continues to tear-up Double-A pitching. Yesterday, he smashed his 10th HR in 220 at-bats, a 2-run shot that ran his RBI total to 50. The 25-year-old left fielder is hitting .318 with a .408 OBP and .958 OPS.

Charlie Cutler, who was batting .380 for the Salt Lake Bees (AAA) when the Angels released him earlier this month, remains unsigned. Why? Insiders agree the 28-year-old can hit. Owner of a .306 career average and .393 on-base percentage, the 2008 draftee is tough to strike out and walks as often as he whiffs, a rarity these days. But Cutler’s catching skills are uneven (he nixed only 2 of 23 stolen-base attempts in Triple-A this year), and with no more than 5 home runs per season, he lacks the power expected of a first baseman or designated hitter. Rough game, baseball is.

Dave Rosenfield, who served as general manager of the Norfolks Tides (AAA) from 1963 to 2011, hasn’t retired just yet. Among other duties, the 86-year-old vice president still creates the International League’s (AAA) entire season schedule by hand. You can learn about Dave’s storied baseball career in his 2013 book, Baseball: One Helluva Life.

SUNY-Purchase alum Mike Skoller has signed to play in the independent Ozarks Pro Baseball League, a newly-formed league that has a unique plan for moving players onto MLB-affiliated teams.

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By Scott Barancik, editor

If catchers issued ‘Wanted’ posters featuring the base thieves they fear most, 2013 California League MVP Zach Borenstein would not be included. While the 23-year-old Angels prospect tore up opponents with his bat and legged-out seven triples last year, his five stolen bases in 10 attempts left noone quaking.

Yesterday was a different story. In just his fourth game since reaching Double-A, the Arkansas Travelers left fielder swiped four bases, including stealing home on a daring double-theft called by his manager in the fifth inning. Borenstein also contributed three singles, 2 RBIs, and 3 runs in an 8-1 win over the Frisco RoughRiders.

Until Monday, the 2011 draftee had never stolen more than two bases in a Minor League game.

“I’m good now, 100 percent,” Borenstein told MiLB.com, referring to the torn hip flexor that cost him a month last season. “I’m not a burner, but I have decent speed. I won’t get 70 bags, but I don’t like to forget that I can run.” He called his team’s”aggressive mindset” about baserunning “pretty contagious.”

Now ranked the Angels’ No. 11 prospect by MiLB.com, Borenstein came close to winning a Triple Crown in 2013. He hit .337 with 28 HRs, 95 RBIs, and a .403 on-base percentage.

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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

Jews make up an estimated 1.7 percent of all Americans and an even smaller percentage of professional baseball players. But ESPN Insider’s 2014 ranking of the Top 100 Minor Leaguers features three Jews, a 3 percent rate. And Baseball America’s 2014 list of the Top 10 prospects per franchise  includes four Jews.

Joc Pederson appears 41st on ESPN’s list and #1 on Baseball America’s list of the top Los Angeles Dodgers prospects. A 21-year-old center fielder, Pederson earned L.A.’s Minor League Player of the Year award in 2012 and afterward played for Team Israel in the World Baseball Classic qualifier. In 2013 he hit .278 with 22 HRs, 58 RBIs, 31 stolen bases and a .381 OBP for the Dodgers’ Double-A affiliate. Baseball America predicts he’ll reach the Majors sometime in 2014, possibly by Opening Day.

Max Fried ranks 48th on ESPN’s list and #3 on Baseball America’s list of the top San Diego Padres prospects. A 6-foot-4-inch lefty who studied video of Sandy Koufax as an adolescent and was drafted straight out of high school, the 20-year-old Fried earned a $3-million signing bonus from the Padres in 2012. In 2013 he went 6-7 with a 3.49 ERA for the team’s Single-A club. Baseball America says he’ll “zoom through the minors if he throws more strikes.”

Rob Kaminsky caps off ESPN’s list at the 100th spot, and he ranks 9th on Baseball America’s list of the top St. Louis Cardinals prospects. Drafted out of high school last year by the St. Louis Cardinals, the 19-year-old pitcher went 0-3 in rookie ball but finished with a respectable 3.68 ERA while striking out an average of 11.5 batters per nine innings. Baseball America says Kaminsky has the best curveball in the Cards’ system, and he’s expected to open 2014 in Single-A.

Zach Borenstein didn’t make ESPN’s cut, but he ranks 9th on Baseball America’s list of the top Los Angeles Angels prospects. A 23-year-old outfielder, Borenstein hit .337 in 2013 with 28 HRs, 95 RBIs, and a 1.034 OPS for the franchise’s A-Advanced team, and he came close to winning the league’s Triple Crown. That he made the list at all is somewhat miraculous, given that he was left off the Angels’ Top 20 list at the end of the 2013 season, but a change in authors led to a different outlook. Baseball America says Borenstein could spend a good part of 2014 at Triple-A.

Thanks to Kaplan’s Korner for the tip on ESPN Insider’s new rankings.

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By Scott Barancik, editor

With one game left in the regular season, Zach Borenstein‘s numbers are stellar.

His .335 batting average is tops in the California League (Class A-advanced). He has 27 home runs, tying him for 1st place.  He leads the league in slugging percentage (.625) and OPS (1.026), and he ranks 3rd in on-base percentage (.401/tie).

Borenstein won’t win the triple crown this year. With 94 RBIs, the Los Angeles Angels prospect trails league leader Andrew Aplin by 10. If he hadn’t spent nearly a month on the disabled list with a strained hip flexor, the crown likely would have been his. Through Saturday’s games, Aplin had 589 plate appearances to Borenstein’s 456.

Nothing can take away from the 23-year-old left fielder’s remarkable year, however. A 23rd-round pick in the 2011 amateur draft, Borenstein hit a combined .268 with 13 HRs and 71 RBIs in 406 at-bats during his first two years as a pro. Decent, certainly, but no comparison to his breakout performance in 2013.

Prospect-rating services have struggled to catch up. At the beginning of the season, Borenstein wasn’t listed among MLB.com’s Top 20 Angels prospects nor Baseball America’s Top 30. By mid-season, MLB.com had pushed the Buffalo Grove, Ill., native up to the No. 15 slot.

“Borenstein has never been considered much of a prospect,” said MLB.com’s mid-season report. “But he has hit everywhere he’s gone, from college to the Minor Leagues, and his breakout season at Class A Advanced Inland Empire has been too much to ignore.”

At seven games under .500, the Inland Empire 66ers are not playoff bound. Borenstein won’t be idle this Fall, though; he’s one of two Jewish prospects selected to play in the prestigious Arizona Fall League, which commences Oct. 8. He and Oakland A’s prospect Jeff Urlaub, a relief pitcher, will play for the Mesa Solar Sox.

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By Scott Barancik, editor

We try to give you the news in bite-sized pieces via Facebook, Twitter, and our new ‘Bunts’ column, shown on the top-left corner of the Jewish Baseball News home page. But sometimes there’s more than a mouthful of news to deliver. Today is one of those days.

So what’s new?

Kinsler's crazy slide (buzzfeed.com)

Kinsler’s crazy slide (buzzfeed.com)

  • Ian Kinsler is back. Out since May 16 due to a rib-cage injury, the three-time All-star went 0-for-4 with a walk Saturday (6/15/2013) as the Texas Rangers lost to the Toronto Blue Jays 6-1. Kinsler initially was hurt when a ball struck his chest while he was sliding into a base, and the pain intensified when he was hit with a pitch. Or at least that’s the official story. Here is a Buzzfeed.com video of Kinsler in what it describes as “the worst baseball slide of the season, by a mile” — followed by possibly the best smile by a player in an embarrassing situation.
  • Even as Kinsler was returning from the disabled list, Ryan Braun and Kevin Youkilis were going on it. Milwaukee’s Braun is out with an inflamed nerve in his right hand, while the Yankees’ Youkilis was hobbled with a lumbar strain. Get well soon, boys.
  • Scott Feldman was dominant Saturday in the Chicago Cubs’ 5-2 win over the New York Mets (see video). In a 7-inning performance, Feldman gave up just one run on two hits and a walk while striking out six. He also helped himself with this two-run single. Feldman is 6-5 this season with one complete game and a 3.05 ERA; he’s struck out 60 batters and walked only 21 over 79.2 innings.
  • Feldman’s hit was no fluke. As you can see in this table, the 6-foot-7-inch righty leads all MLB pitchers this season with 8 RBIs, thanks in part to a HR and two doubles.
  • Also triumphant Saturday (6/15/2013) was San Diego’s Jason Marquis, who raised his season record to 9-2 with a 6-4 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks (see video). Marquis‘ nine wins are tied for second most in the National League.
  • Congratulations to St. Louis Cardinals prospect Corey Baker, who was promoted to Double-A on Friday (6/15/2013). Baker — who was selected in the 49th round of the 2011 amateur draft — started the 2013 season at Single-A, moved up to A-Advanced, and spent only four games there before being picked up by the Springfield Cardinals (AA). Even after being roughed-up in his first start with Springfield, Baker’s overall ERA this season is 2.66 with a 1-2 record, 2 saves, 37 strikeouts, and only seven walks across 44 innings.
  • Los Angeles Angels prospect Zach Borenstein continues to pummel International League (A-advanced) pitchers. In a breakout third pro season, the left-handed hitter ranks first in total bases (146), second in HRs (16/tie) and slugging percentage (.613), third in RBIs (50/tie), and fourth in batting average (.315) and on-base plus slugging (.970). And Borenstein shows no signs of slowing down: in the past 10 games, he’s hit .400 with 2 HRs, 2 doubles, 2 triples, 2 walks, and 9 RBIs.

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