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Browsing Posts tagged Zach Kapstein

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.


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

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.


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

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

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

Disabled list

P Max Fried (Braves/A).

P Alec Grosser (Dodgers/High-A).

LF Ryan Kalish (Cubs/AAA). Appendicitis.

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

P Jon Moscot (Reds/AAA). Elbow.

C Adam Sonabend (Giants/A).

P Zack Weiss (Reds/AA). Shoulder.

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By Scott Barancik, Editor

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

Jewish Baseball News Player of the Week

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


Two recent draft picks made their debut last week.

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

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

Other highlights

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

The Miami Marlins released former MLB P Craig Breslow.

The Philadelphia Phillies released P Jeremy Bleich (AA).

Disabled list

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

By Scott Barancik, Editor

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

Jewish Baseball News Player of the Week

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


Two 2016 draftees made their pro debuts last week.

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

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

Other highlights

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Disabled list

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By Scott Barancik, Editor

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

Jewish Baseball News Player of the Week

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


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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By Scott Barancik, Editor

Here they are, your minor-league updates from the week of June 13-19, 2016.

Jewish Baseball News Player of the Week

LF Mike Meyers (Red Sox/High-A) hit .381 last week with a double, his fifth triple of the season, 2 RBIs, and 2 stolen bases. The highlight: a 4-for-5 showing on June 14.

Other highlights

In his first week as a Red Sox farmhand, Cody Decker (AA) had at least one base hit in all five games, hitting .316 with 2 HRs, 2 doubles, and 5 RBIs. He also moved around the field, serving twice in LF, twice as DH, and one at 1B.

Through his first two weeks of play this season, OF Jake Thomas (Blue Jays/A) is hitting .361 with 3 doubles, a triple, and 9 RBIs.

Jared Lakind (Pirates/AA) added three scoreless appearances last week to up his streak to 17 and cut his ERA to 1.49. The 24-year-old Texas native is holding opposing batters to a .180 average and hasn’t allowed an earned run since April 27.

P Jon Moscot (Reds/AAA) yielded 6 hits, 2 earned runs, and no walks over 6 innings in a 4-2 win on June 15. He also stuck out two batters.

P Brad Goldberg (White Sox/AAA) made two scoreless appearances, giving up a hit and a walk over a combined two innings while striking out two.

P Rob Kaminsky (Indians/AA) had another up-and-down week. The 21-year-old southpaw yielded 4 earned runs in as many innings on June 14 but pitched six innings of one-run ball on June 19.


P Jeremy Bleich (Phillies) was promoted to the Reading Fightin Phils (AAA) and pitched a perfect inning for them in his first appearance.

C Zach Kapstein (Orioles/High-A) made his 2016 debut last week, going 2-for-6 over two games.

Jason Richman (Cardinals) was assigned to the Frisco RoughRiders (AA) from extended spring training.


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.


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.


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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Zach Kapstein (

By Zev Ben Avigdor/Jewish Baseball News

In 2010, Zach Kapstein was drafted out of Tiverton (Rhode Island) High School by the team he grew up rooting for, the Boston Red Sox. The young catcher had put together a senior year the Sox simply could not ignore: a .603 batting average with five home runs, 22 RBI, and a perfect 24-for-24 in stolen bases. But it was what he quietly did off the field that makes him a hero in our hearts.

In an interview with Jewish Baseball News, Kapstein, now 20, talked about his own heroes, including his “hard-nosed, no-B.S.” family, U.S. soldiers, the Maccabees, and the mentally and physically challenged kids he helps play baseball.


What’s your favorite Jewish holiday?

Chanukah. I just like the story behind it, the history behind it. With the Maccabees and the freedom fighters. It has the eight nights. It’s not just a single day, it’s an entire week—plus one. And the eternal light lasting longer than it should have, with the oil running out. I’ve always found that pretty interesting. And how tough the story is behind the holiday. It kind of sums up my personality, my family’s personality, the way I was raised. My grandfather, my dad, and my uncle were just really hard-nosed, no-B.S., straight-to-the-truth, bottom-line type of people, which I think is great. So if I had to pick, it would definitely be Chanukah.

You mentioned that you like that it’s eight days and not just one.

You have a longer amount of time to focus on the holiday. I mean, you can think about a holiday as long as you want. It doesn’t have to be just on the exact date of the holiday. But Christmas you have the one day and then it’s over. Chanukah you have the eight nights you light the candles, eight nights in a row you’re with your family. For me, being a baseball player, it’s when you’re home for the off-season with your family. And it’s pretty good food, which is a bonus.

Family and your family’s history are very important to you.

My great-great-grandfather, Abraham, came from Western Russia, escaped the pogroms, and walked across Europe, by himself. He was lucky enough to escape the pogroms. He survived all by himself. And somehow he managed to get on a boat and cross the ocean to the United States. He landed and started brand new, like a lot of people did in the early 1900s. I’ve always been very proud of that story, that it’s part of my background.

What’s you favorite not-Jewish holiday?

July Fourth and Memorial Day. Memorial Day—my birthday is May 28th, so every couple of years Memorial Day falls on my birthday, and that’s kind of neat. But really it’s because of how we honor the veterans, the servicemen and -women, on that day. I certainly don’t honor them for just that one day. I do it every single day, every year. And then July Fourth, because it is a holiday in America we all celebrate together—it’s Independence Day for the United States.

You’re wearing a Marines t-shirt. Is that a personal connection?

Personally I’ve never had anyone in my family in the Marine Corps. I’ve had a lot of close friends [in the Corps]. My uncle was in the service for four years. My grandfather was in the Army before World War II. And then he enlisted right after Pearl Harbor in the Navy. He was in the Navy from ‘41 until the summer of ’45. I think he saw his wife—my grandmother—maybe three times at the most. He was actually in both theaters of war. He was on a troop transport ship. He went to Europe first. Then he came through the Panama Canal, stopped in San Francisco, and then went out to the Pacific. He was going to be on the invasion force, if we had to invade Japan. I know most of my grandfather’s brothers were in the army—I know my Uncle Eddie, my grandfather’s brother, served in World War I and World War II. So I’ve been lucky enough to have a rich military background.

So you have all these fighting Jews in your family. No wonder you like Chanukah. It’s like your family’s personal story.

Yes. Pretty much.

I can see that family and history are important to you. What is another way that family has been important to you?

Starting in ’08, my brother Jacob, and my dad, Dan, and I—we got involved in the Portsmouth Little League Challenger Division team, which I think they started in ’06 or ’07. It was started by Bob Dyl—he has a son named Caleb, who is a a little challenged and a very good player in the league—and Chris Patsos, who helps run the Portsmouth Challenger Division with Bob Dyl and also helps run the Newport Gulls, which is a team in the New England Collegiate Baseball League.

We got involved in ’08—my father, my brother, and myself. And it was every Sunday, I’d say from the end of March until the end of June. Every Sunday from about 1:00 till about 3:30, 4:00. I think in ’08 we started off with one group and about 15 kids. My dad would pitch. My brother or I would catch for him. We’d help out with the kids’ swings, run the bases with them, that type of thing, every year—I was there for ’08, ’09, ’10. Every year, it has increased an average of, I would say, five or six kids, so every year it’s grown and grown and grown. And then in 2010 they made two groups, and I’d say, total, the ages range from about 6 to maybe 17 or 18 years old. I had to leave after 2010, when I got drafted. I missed 2011 and 2012, because I was in Florida, playing baseball, but I was lucky enough to fly home for their big Challenger Jamboree in Portsmouth. I was lucky enough that the schedule worked out that way.

You took the only free time you had between extended and short-season, the only free time you had for the entire summer, and you spent it with these kids.

I loved it. It was the least I could do. Absolutely the least I could do. I love the kids. The coaches are great, a great group of guys. They’re actually going down to Williamsport this summer. My Dad is going to bus down with them. They’re playing in the Challenger Little League World Series. I’m not too sure about the details, but I know they’re going down in August.

If readers want to help out, is there some way that they can contribute?

They might be looking for donations for their trip to Williamsport in August. I’m 100% sure there’s a place [to donate]; I know you can find it online. [Author’s note: I did. Click here for details.]

I’d like to be able to share that, if I can.

That would be great. Personally. Thank you. That would definitely be a huge help. Thank you.

What about Israel? What would it be like to play for Israel in the World Baseball Classic?

That’d be awesome. That’d be quite an experience. It’s definitely something I’m looking into, talking to a few people about it right now. But, yeah, very exciting. I’d be very proud to represent the country, my heritage, my culture, my background, my family. And to play baseball while doing it would be quite a thrill. It would be the perfect combination of both [Jewish heritage and baseball].

What is it about the combination of Jewish heritage and baseball?

I love the background and the history of the Jewish people—my family—and I’m playing baseball right now, my favorite sport. I love football; I played football in high school. I played hockey from the time I was seven. I started skating from the time I was five or six, played hockey from the time I was seven up until my freshman year. My high school never had a hockey team, but I always played around New England—Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, all over New England.

Hockey up there is like football is down in Florida and Texas: huge up there. I stopped playing my freshman year, because my freshman year was the very first time my high school started a hockey team. They joined with another local hockey team, but the practices were always at 10:00, 11:00 at night, and the closest rink was 40 minutes away. I was focused on getting ready for baseball. Those are a few reasons I didn’t play in high school. My brother played three years in high school, and he loved it. He was on a very good team and had a pretty good career.

Your brother Jacob was just drafted by the Tigers.

Yeah, they took him in the 35th round. He’s bigger than I am. He’s about 6’2”, 214, switch hits. He can run, too, which is a bonus. [Author’s note: Here is a link to a local news video about Jacob and the Little League Challenger Division.]

Is there anything else you’d like the readers of Jewish Baseball News to know about you that they don’t know?

I wear the number 18. I wear it on the Spinners right now. I wore it all growing up. I wore it in high school, because of what it means in Jewish [numerology]. My dad wore it growing up, too. It is kind of like the family number, if you will. [Author’s note: Jacob Kapstein wore number 18 in high school and wears 18 now with the GCL Tigers.] But if I couldn’t wear 18, I’d wear 40, for Pat Tillman. My biggest role model, the person I look up to the most is Pat Tillman. I know 40 is also significant in history and the Jewish religion—Noah’s ark, 40 days and nights; wandering in the desert, 40 years. You can go on and on with the number 40. So those two numbers really stand out to me.

Well, hopefully now we’ll get some JBN readers in Western Massachusetts to come and cheer for you. What’s it like when a Jewish fan comes up to you?

It’s nice. I’ve had a few who’ve come down to Florida for spring training and asked me to sign something. You get a little sense of a connection with them. It’s something that both of you can relate to. So it’s nice to hear that or to see someone that’s asking you for a ball to sign who says something like “Welcome to the Tribe,” or some little remark like that. It puts a little smile on your face and reminds you that people are paying attention and following you, and that there are people out there who are also Jewish and who really love baseball, the same as I do.

(Editor’s note: “Zev Ben Avigdor” is the pen name of a university scholar who writes for Jewish Baseball News. Click here to see more of his interviews.)

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Tally of Jews in MLB draft reaches 11

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

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

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

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


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