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By Scott Barancik, editor

Alex Bregman didn’t have to go to college.

By his senior year in high school, in 2012, he had led the USA Baseball 18-and-under National Team to a gold medal, just as he had done with the 16-and-under National Team before. He had set a New Mexico single-season record with 18 HRs. ESPN had named him the No. 3 prospect among high school catchers nationwide, and Baseball America rated him among the top 150 draft prospects overall.

But Alex Bregman didn’t want to go pro just yet, and so he signed on to play for Louisiana State University.

Lucky for LSU, which plays UCLA this evening in the 8-team College World Series (8pm EST on ESPN2). As a freshman in 2013, Bregman led the LSU Tigers during the regular season in batting average (.380), doubles (18), triples (7), runs (59), and stolen bases (16 out of 17 attempts), and his season included a 23-game hitting streak. He also has won a raft of awards, including:

  • Freshman Hitter of the Year (National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association)
  • National Freshman of the Year (Baseball America)
  • SEC Freshman of the Year
  • All-SEC Baseball First Team, Shortstop
  • Invited to play this summer for Team USA during its 33-game international tour

Bregman also is one of three finalists currently vying for the Brooks Wallace Award, which recognizes the best college shortstop in the country.

In its 2013 College World Series preview, Baseball America wrote that Bregman, a “converted catcher,” “plays shortstop like a pro, not like a freshman.” It went on to say that “Bregman has special leadership qualities; he is the kind of player that championship teams are often built around.”

Here’s a video interview in which Bregman reflects on his decision to attend LSU rather than go pro in 2012.

Bregman’s teammate (and fellow Jew) Mason Katz — who was selected by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 4th round of this month’s amateur draft — hit .366 during the regular season (second only to Bregman) and led the team with 15 HRs, 68 RBIs, 37 walks, a .454 on-base percentage, and a .630 slugging percentage.

In tonight’s College World Series game, Bregman and Katz will square off against UCLA, whose pitching staff includes Zach Weiss. Weiss is a recent 6th round draft pick of the Cincinnati Reds.

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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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