Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Ron Kittle!!!

Want to be like White Sox great Ron Kittle?

Then follow TGR on Twitter.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Interview with Vermont's Josh Elbaum

Yes last week was College BBall week. But we got one more interview for you. We met up with Vermont's freshman Josh Elbaum. Vermont has already beaten Sienna and played UConn tough. Meet the newest Freshman with Jewish roots. Also, big ups to his Dad who is apparently a TGR fan (and for taking him to shul).

1) Tell TGR a little bit about yourself?
My name is Joshua Elbaum, I was raised in Melville, New York on Long Island. I grew up playing many sports but always loved basketball. I attended two Maccabi Games, and won a gold and silver medal at Stamford, Connecticut and Orange County, California. I am currently a freshman at the University of Vermont.

2) When did you know playing college ball was a reality?
I always figured I would play college basketball somewhere, but until I got into my later high school years I had no idea what level it would be at.

3) As a freshman, what do you see you role on this team?
As a point guard, my role has always been to be a defensive stopper and to get the ball to my teammates in the best possible spots for them to make plays.
4) How do you like your chances in the America East League this year?
Many people are counting us out because we lost a few starters but I think we have as good of a shot as anyone. We are young but we have some great upperclassmen to lead us. Our main goal before any other is to win the conference tournament.

5) Vermont faces a tough opening week with Siena and UConn. What did the opening win over Siena mean? What could a win over UConn mean for the team?
The win over Siena was huge, because like us they have made tournament appearances and are considered a very good mid major team. We are really looking forward towards facing UConn. They have tremendous basketball history and are very talented but they have a lot of new guys in the rotation as do we, so it should be a great game.

6) January 20th and 31st Vermont plays in conference rival New Hampshire which has fellow Jewish ball player Dane Diliegro. Do you know any other Jewish ball players?
I was made aware of Dane Diliegro and I share a common faith but I have not seen him play or met him yet but heard he is a good player. It is always nice to know there are more Jewish basketball players out there. I did grow up playing with Brian Katz, who happens to be a good friend of mine who plays at the University of Yale. I also know quite a few Jewish Division III players from Long Island.

7) How is the best player you have played against?
Recently, I would have to say Kemba Waker at UConn. Growing up would have to be Lance Stephenson and Rod Odom.

8) What was your Jewish life growing up?
I attended temple with my father as child growing up. I saw it meant a lot to him, especially since he played professionally in Israel. It also didn’t hurt that most of my friends growing up were Jewish as well. I did not realize until I left Long Island, how few Jews there are, I was spoiled growing up in New York.

9) It seems like you attended 3 different high schools. Why the switch?
I originally attended public school under the Half Hollow Hills District until the 8th grade, where I played for the freshman team, but I decided to make the switch to St. Johns for a better basketball experience. After winning our league championship and league MVP, I attended Northfield Mount Hermon School for a post graduate year and we made it to the National Championship game. Playing at prep school really helped the transition to college basketball.

10) What are your future plans? Would you consider playing ball in Israel after college?
I would love to play in Israel after college. My father still talks about how great an experience it was and how much fun he had. He still has friends over there that he keeps in touch with. To keep playing the game I love in the Holy Land would be more than ideal. It doesn’t hurt that the weather is nice either.

And Let Us Say...Amen.
-Jeremy Fine
Photo by: Shane Bufano

Friday, November 26, 2010

Birthday Special: Interview with Former MLBer Norm Miller

Recently, TGR caught up with former Jewish MLBer Norm Miller. Miller played mainly for the Astros  and finished his career in 1974 with the Atlanta Braves. He played with Hank Aaron and was there when he hit the home run to break Babe Ruth's record (you might recognize Ruth from our homepage...the guy with the Tallis). Miller was nice enough to grant us an interview. It is below:
1) You had a 12 year career. What were some of the biggest highlights?
Biggest highlight no doubt was 1st time up in big leagues, hometown against the Dodgers and got a base hit. Every day living the dream was a highlight.  Playing with Hank Aaron was special.  Being a ballplayer was the best.

2) Who was the greatest pitcher you ever faced and what was it like?
Bob Gibson was the best pitcher I faced by far.  Koufax was the best around but I never went up there against him. Facing Gibson simply stated was over powering.  Painless and quick.
3) Do you think the records of Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, and Alex Rodriguez should treated differently? How should we view the steroid era?
Steroid era is a shame.  I blame both the players and management.  Bonds, McGwire I have no respect for as people.  Rodriquez doesn't bother me.  Records should not be acknowledged. 

4) What have you been up to since your career ended?
Since retiring in 74 I enjoyed a wonderful business career in marketing and advertising.  I also did Radio and TV work and just enjoyed being.  I've been married now for 42 years and have two daughters and two grand daughters.  I'm retired and writing.  Just finished a Television pilot idea and a screenplay, my 2nd.  

5) Tell us a little bit about the book?
My book is about my career.  What it took, what I did and how much I loved it.  Lot's of stories all real.  Well received.

6) Do you have any advice for young athletes trying who want to play in the Bigs?
Young athletes need to get real.  Most are told they're great and really not.  The percentage that make it is so small.  But you don't see the effort you should.  I've coached kids for years and the decline in the passion and commitment is noticeable.

7) Who would you rather start your team with Sandy Koufax or Hank Greenberg?
Only know Greenberg from stats and reputation.  Give me Koufax...unhittable.  

You can learn more about Norm Miller by visiting his website www.normwho.com. Also, check out his book
And let us say...Amen.
-Jeremy Fine

Monday, November 22, 2010

Bring It In - Israel Winter Fellows and Barak Netanya Team Up For Basketball Education Day Nov 18th

On Thursday November 18th, Bring It In - Israel Winter Fellows joined forces with players from Israeli men's professional team Barak Netanya to run a basketball education day for children from after school programs (moadoniote) in Netanya. The program focused on teaching the children basketball fundamentals, English sports vocabulary, and life skills such as listening, communication, and teamwork. The day served as a Mifgash (cultural exchange) between Bring It In - Israel Fellows and the Israeli children and players. Bring It In - Israel Winter Fellows Adina Weinberg, Jacob Walker, and Judah Batist from Aardvark Israel, teamed up with Barak Netanya players Eliran Gueta (Power Forward) and David Asnte (Guard).

Bring It In - Israel Fellows utilized the in field training day to hone their Hebrew sports vocabulary, and to learn how to work together with Israelis. Bring It In - Israel looks forward to run more sports days with Barak Netanya over Hannukah. Click on the album below to see more pictures from the day. 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Two New Jews

We have added Ryan Kalish of the Boston Red Sox, who has a Jewish father, to our MLB page.

Also, the Islander recalled Dylan Reese. He has been added to the NHL page.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

2010/2011 NCAA Basketball Preseason All TGR Team

With superstars Jon Scheyer and Slyven Landesberg on to bigger and better things, this year we look to some unknowns. Last year's senior class was impressive. So who is going to step up and be our next hope at a Jewish NBA star. Well, this years All TGR Team does not have a pro prospect for next year. But it has plenty of talent and is lead by a budding star.

Meet the Team

Dane Diliegro - The big man was on this team last year. Why? Because he produces. He isn't to flashy and might not be an NBA prospect but the 6'9 center can use his body. He pulled down 8 boards a game while scoring almost 9. Solid numbers for a solid player.

Zach Rosen - One could easily make the claim that Rosen should be the preseason player of the year. The Penn guard does a little bit of everything. He dished out 4.4 assists and grabbed 3.3 boards last season. But what he does best is score. He dropped 17.7 points a game last year. Also, a second year on this list. Rosen could be the IVY League MVP.

Jared Mintz - Mintz surprised a lot of people last season. He finished with 5.7 boards and 14.1 points a game last year. He is not a big time program, but his numbers are solid. His numbers should only improve.

Bryan Cohen - Cohen plays at Bucknell which hasn't made any noise since 2005. His 8 ppg is nothing too amazing, but he is only going to be a junior and is returning as the Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year. Defense wins championships....or so they say.

Michael Atwater - While he hasn't played a game in college basketball yet, this power forward for ASU has a big upside. He was ranked in the top 300 of college bball recruits. He is entering a major program. Below is a Youtube video of him. He moves well and can board.


Preseason Player of the Year

Jake Cohen - Yes, Rosen scored more points a game. But Cohen's 13.3 ppg and 5.11 rpg were solid. And he had an awesome offseason. He got rave reviews overseas. He played for the Israel under 20 team and dominated Europe. I think the style of player overseas will help this skilled big man. He is young, raw, and only getting better. He is our best shot at another NBA player for a little while.

Good luck to all the players this year. For a more complete list check out our NCAA page.
And Let Us Say..Amen.
-Jeremy Fine

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Interview with Bucknell's Bryan Cohen

Many of us haven't heard too much from Bucknell since their upset of Kansas in 2005. But for TGR readers there is another reason to follow Bison and his name is Bryan Cohen. Cohen had a solid 8ppg last season and this year looks to improve. We caught up with Cohen who graciously gave us some of his time. Below is the interview:
1) Tell TGR a little bit about yourself?
My name is Bryan Cohen and I am a junior at Bucknell University. I play small forward on the basketball team here at Bucknell. I have been playing in the Maccabi Games ever since I have been a teenager and got to travel all around the country as well as Israel. From what I remember I played in the Maccabi Games in Philadelphia (My home town), Boston, Memphis, and Israel.

2) What got you into basketball? Was it always your best sport?
I have been playing basketball all of my life. I was fortunate enough to have an older brother that loved the game of basketball as well and he was able to teach me the skills of the game. Growing up he used to beat up on me on and off the court, which I hated when I was younger but made me the player I am today. Yes basketball has always been my best sport. My dad had me play almost every sport when I was younger, to have me experience them all and choose which I liked best. Once I started playing basketball I immediately fell in love with the game.

3) When did you realize you had the talent to play at the college level? Why did you pick Bucknell?

To tell you the truth I didn’t realize that playing division one basketball was a reachable goal until my older brother signed to play at University of Pennsylvania. Growing up I was always as step ahead when my brother was at the same age, so I knew that all the hard work that I was putting in the gym was going to pay off and I would have a good chance to play division one basketball. The reason I chose Bucknell was because it is a great academic school, great basketball program, and has a rich basketball tradition. I remember after my visit I knew that this was the school for me and signed the next day when I got home. 

4) Do you remember when Bucknell upset Kansas in the tournament? Do people in school still talk about that game?
Yes I do remember when Bucknell upset Kansas. That was actually the first time I heard of Bucknell and have been following them ever since. Yes some of the students on campus those either don’t go to the games or don’t know basketball ask me how it was to beat Kansas, but they don’t realize that it happened almost 5 years ago.

5) How is the team shaping up? How do you like your chances to get to the tournament?

I feel very confident this year about our chances. We have 4 out of 5 starters returning from last year and a lot of our guys have tons of game experience. Last year we had a lot of talent but our guys were young and inexperienced. This year we have everyone returning expect one with everyone experienced and focused on bringing home a Patriot League Championship.

6) Last year you were the Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year. What did that mean to you? Is defensive something that you pride yourself on?
It was a great honor to receive the DPOY award. Defense is something I pride my game on and allows me to stay on the court. Every game my coach assigns me to the best opposing offensive player and my job is to limit his touches and I enjoy doing what is needed for our team to win. So winning the DPOY is a great recognition for me personally, but my goal is to receive the Patriot League championship trophy while I am at Bucknell for the next two years. 

7) Who is the best player you have ever had to guard?
That’s a good question. Let’s see in high school it would have to be either Tyreke Evans or Wayne Ellington and in college it would have to be Jeff Teague from Wake Forest who is plays for the Atlanta Hawks.

8) What was your Maccabiah experience like? Would you ever consider going overseas to Israel to ball pro ball?
Playing in the Maccabi Games was an amazing experience. Everything from the opening ceremonies, competitive games, and nightly activities was something I will never forget. The best part of the Maccabi Games was not the basketball but the friendships. I have developed friends with teammates and other Jewish kids that I met that I will always be in touch with. Yes playing overseas in Israel is a goal of mine in the future when I am done playing college basketball. After playing in the Maccabi Games two summers ago I was able to talk to some of my teammates who play professional basketball in Israel and see how they liked it. They all said it is something you should experience if you are able to and that is something I hope I can do in the future.

9) Who is the best Jewish basketball player you have ever played against?
The best Jewish player that I ever played against would have to be Dan Grunfeild. I never technically played against him because he was on the same team with me that won the Gold in the Maccabi Games two summers ago. However, I was able to play against him every day in training camp before we left for the games.

10) What your plans after graduation?

I am not really sure for my plans after graduation. I plan to graduate with a degree in economics and I plan to pursue a career to play professional basketball in Israel after I graduate from Bucknell.

Thanks again to Bryan Cohen. Good luck this season.
And Let Us Say...Amen.
-Jeremy Fine

Monday, November 15, 2010

Break from the NCAA

We wanted to report that although they didn't win both Ike Davis and Danny Valencia received Rookie of the Year votes. Davis finished 7th with 2 third place votes (2 points total).  Valencia finished 3rd in the AL voting with 1 second place and 9 third place votes (12 points total).

Congrats to both on a great season. Thus far only Ryan Braun has received a post season award by winning the Silver Slugger award for a NL Outfielder.

Where are the now (NCAA 2009/2010 Edition)?

Last year was truly an amazing year for Jewish college basketball. So many good stories, that it has left us expecting great things. This year does not look as promising, although there are a few bright spots. So we decided to look back at the players who have left the college ranks and find out what those players are up to now.
Nimrod Tishman - We were hoping Tishman would be the next big thing. The young Israeli sensation was a late signee at Florida. A top program and on the heels of Omri Casspi's big splash in the NBA. Unfortunately, Tishman's game did not translate too well in the NCAA. He left the Gators and is now playing  for Hapoel Yokneam/Megido in Israel. It is the DII division. He is currently scoring 12 ppg.

Jon Jaques - Jaques is best known for helping Cornell with their impressive run in the tournament. Jaques (who we recently interviewed) has also taken his game to Israel. He signed a one-year contract with Ironi Ashkelon. He also writes for Slam Magazine. He seems to be happy and has made Aliyah for the time being.

Derek Glasser - Glasser has also moved on to Israel. He is playing for Maccabi Haifa, which is an up and coming program. Glasser is very excited about his opportunity in Israel.

Brett Harvey - We last saw Harvey leading Loyola University Maryland. After his stellar career he went to the Maccabi Haifa tryouts. He landed on a DII team called Hapoel Marnin Tivon. Harvey should be able to work his way up.

Slyven Landesberg - Landesberg had a tryout with the Sacramento Kings. After that he too signed with Maccabi Haifa. Landesberg should prove to be a solid player in the Israeli League. The toughness and flow of the Israel game could eventually do for Landesberg what it did for Anthony Parker. Don't be surprised to see Landesberg get another shot.

Jon Scheyer - Scheyer was first signed by the Miami Heat (clearly not their biggest signing). After a tough, freak injury, he caught on with the Clippers. He got cut towards the end of the preseason. Rumors are currently circulating. He may go on to play for the Clippers D-League team but he has also been approached by Maccabi Tel-Aviv, Israel's top team.

We wish all of these guys the best of luck. For those in Israel, enjoy it. It is amazing that you can make aliyah and play there. Eat a lot. Hone your skills. Enjoy every day there.

And Let Us Say...Amen.
-Jeremy Fine

Sunday, November 14, 2010

College Basketball Week Begins!!!

Today tips of our college basketball week. We begin with the biggest Jewish story entering college basketball. We have all heard about Bruce Pearl. Here is an article from the Washington Post by Beth Rucker. We should have stuff for you all week to enhance your college bball experience. Later this week we have our preseason all TGR team. Enjoy!

Pearl wants Vols focused on game, not NCAA fallout

Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl has excelled at leading the Volunteers to success in the face of adversity. The 2010-11 season may be his biggest challenge yet.

Instead of motivating a team low on talent or hobbled by suspensions, Pearl has to overcome the fallout from an ongoing NCAA investigation into his recruiting practices - and he must do it without his leaders from last season's NCAA regional finals team.

Pearl is already trying to keep their minds off of it.

Players "shouldn't worry about it. They're not part of it," Pearl said. "They certainly are human, and they hear some of the things that are being said, but you try not to pay attention to any of that stuff. That's not our focus. That stuff's going to run its course. All we can focus on is getting degrees, doing our jobs in the community and becoming a good basketball team."

The 23rd-ranked Vols certainly have the makings of a good basketball team in Pearl's sixth season.
They've lost forward Wayne Chism and guards J.P. Prince and Bobby Maze but have added a strong incoming class. Pearl signed top power forward recruit Tobias Harris, wing Jordan McRae and combo guard Trae Golden and brought in senior forward John Fields from UNC-Wilmington and sophomore forward Jeronne Maymon from Marquette.

Even the newcomers already expect to be able to handle the roadblocks that come their way.

"Tennessee basketball is a family," McRae said. "When we face adversity, we thrive. Look at our past."
Last season, Pearl was forced to suspend three of his players and dismiss star forward Tyler Smith after the four were arrested. Without them, the Vols were able to upset No. 1 Kansas and survive the start to an always brutal Southeastern Conference schedule.

They went on to also upset No. 1 Kentucky and finished 28-9, narrowly missing their first Final Four trip when they lost 70-69 to Michigan State in their first regional final appearance.

Senior point guard Melvin Goins returns from that team, far more prepared to lead the team this season than a year ago when he was a fresh junior college transfer and dealing with a knee injury. Junior guard Scotty Hopson, a preseason all-SEC pick, also returns after spending the summer working at the LeBron James Skills Academy and training with USA Basketball's Men's Select Team.

"I think now my mental focus has really changed. I just feel right now as a leader on this team I have to do more and step up," Hopson said.

The Vols will still be fast, but they won't necessarily dictate tempo or be the full-court pressure kind of team that was the hallmark of Pearl's first few seasons at Tennessee.

Instead they can dominate the paint with Harris and sophomore forward Kenny Hall - both 6-foot-8 - and 6-foot-10 center Brian Williams, who's in the best shape of his career after spending several weeks this summer in an intensive conditioning program. Williams, now a senior, is down 100 pounds from his freshman season weight of 385.

"We've got good traditional size. The closer we get to the basket, the better we will look," Pearl said. "How much full-court pressure we're going to use? we may still turn people over. I think we'll be a better shot blocking team, I think we'll be a better rebounding team."Tennessee will find out early how good it can be when it hosts first- and second-round games in the NIT Season Tip-Off that could lead to a trip to New York. The Vols also travel to No. 5 Pittsburgh and host Southern California and No. 19 Memphis before facing an SEC schedule that will include multiple games against No. 9 Florida and No. 11 Kentucky.

The results of the NCAA's investigation into recruiting practices by Pearl and his assistants could come as early as December. Tennessee officials expect Pearl to be charged with unethical conduct.Pearl acknowledged in September that he mislead investigators about photos taken of him and recruit Aaron Craft, when Pearl improperly hosted the prospect at his home in 2008. Tennessee also revealed he and his staff made excessive calls to recruits.

If the NCAA charges do interrupt the season, the Vols don't plan on letting it bother them.
"Whatever's happening off the court isn't going to affect us on the court," sophomore guard Skylar McBee said. "We have goals that we want to obtain, and to do that we have to come and work hard and stay focused, and that's what we're going to do."

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Pearl and Vols Not Right

It seems like Bruce Pearl and his Vols are not right yet. The 23rd ranked Tennessee Vols lost an exhibition game to DII Indianapolis Greyhounds 79-64. We will have more on Pearl and the upcoming college basketball season next week.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Minor League Report

Normally, I write my own articles but Josh Bornstein had this amazing post on his blog. Check out jewsinbaseball.blogspot.com. Note two future White Sox, inlcuding Danny Axelrod in AA.

Minor League Standouts In 2010


Sam Fuld (OF, 28, Cubs): Fuld put up a line of .272/.383/.394 for an OPS of .777 in 440 PAs. He hit 4 HRs, 15 doubles, 9 triples, swiped 21 bags, drove in 27 runs, and scored 69 runs. He posted the best BB/K ratio of his career at 66/37. That's nearly twice as many walks as strikeouts. Pretty impressive. With the loss of Derrek Lee, the Cubs are seriously contemplating moving Tyler Colvin to first base. Should that come to pass, Fuld could see more playing time.

Ben Guez (OF, 23, Tigers): Guez split time at 3 levels this year. He played 28 games in Class A-Advanced, 9 games in Double-A, and 68 games in Triple-A. In Triple-A, he put up a line of .251/.339/.439 for an OPS of .778 in 259 PAs. His overall line for the season was .249/.341/.411 for an OPS of .752 in 393 PAs. He hit 10 HRs, 19 doubles, 3 triples, swiped 14 bags, drove in 43 runs, and scored 43 runs. Considering Guez was playing in Single-A last year, he's moved up fairly quickly through the Tigers' farm system.

Jason Hirsh (RH SP, 28, Yankees): Hirsh was 9-7 in 122 1/3 innings (19 starts) with a 3.90 ERA, 1.153 WHIP, 95 Ks, 7.5 H/9, 1.3 HR/9, 2.9 BB/9, 7.0 K/9, and 2.44 K/BB. Hirsh pitched well after he joined the Yankees' organization towards the end of 2009, but this was really his 1st good season since 2006. He will most certainly get another Spring Training invite.

Ryan Kalish (OF, 22, Red Sox): Kalish played 41 games in Double-A and 37 games in Triple-A. Overall, he put up a line of .294/.382/.502 for an OPS of .884 in 343 PAs. He hit 13 HRs, 18 doubles, 2 triples, drove in 47 runs, scored 57 runs, and stole 25 bases (only caught 3 times). His BB/K ratio was 42/53. Kalish could very well be a 5-tool player. He figures to get more playing time next year with the Sox. He may even get a shot to start at some point.

Aaron Poreda (LH RP, 24, Padres): Poreda pitched 25 innings in Double-A and 29 innings in Triple-A. Throwing strikes started to become a problem for Poreda last season, and this season was no different. Poreda's BB/9 in Double-A was 9.4 and 11.8 in Triple-A. That's obviously abysmal. However, his other peripherals were actually quite good. Only gave up 1 HR all year. And he didn't give up many hits, either. His H/9 was 5.2 (6.5 in Double-A, 4.0 in Triple-A). His K/9 was also respectable at 7.8 (9.0 in Double-A, 6.8 in Triple-A). Control issues aside, still a lot of upside here.

James Rapoport (CF, 25, Cardinals): Rapoport played 25 games in Double-A and 112 games in Triple-A. His overall line was .276/.350/.354 for an OPS of .703 in 560 PAs. He hit 4 HRs, 18 doubles, 4 triples, swiped 8 bags, drove in 46 runs, and scored 74 runs. This Stanford product's BB/K ratio was 54/69.

Michael Schwimer (RH RP, 24, Phillies): Schwimer pitched 40 innings in Double-A and 20 innings in Triple-A. In Triple-A, he was 2-2 with a 1.35 ERA, 1.150 WHIP, 7.2 H/9, 0.4 HR/9, 3.2 BB/9, 8.1 K/9, and 2.57 K/BB. In Double-A, he was 5-3 with 11 saves, a 3.60 ERA, 1.200 WHIP, 7.6 H/9, 1.1 HR/9, 3.2 BB/9, 13.0 K/9, and 4.14 K/BB. Overall, he was 7-5 with 11 saves, a 2.85 ERA, 1.183 WHIP, 7.5 H/9, 0.9 HR/9, 3.2 BB/9, 11.4 K/9, and 3.62 K/BB. I think we'll see his MLB debut some time in 2011.

Adam Stern (OF, 30, Brewers): Stern put up a line of .325/.399/.462 for an OPS of .860 in 322 PAs. He hit 5 HRs, 18 doubles, 3 triples, drove in 29 runs, and scored 48 runs. His BB/K ratio was 35/47. This was his best season since 2004.

Josh Whitesell (1B, 28, Nationals): Before signing with the Tokyo Yakult Swallows, Whitesell played 54 games for the Nationals' Triple-A affiliate, putting up a line of .304/.406/.446 for an OPS of .852 in 219 PAs. If you're the curious sort, you might be interested to learn that with the Swallows, Whitesell put up a line of .309/.399/.591 for an OPS of .990 in 230 ABs. Combined, he hit 19 HRs, 28 doubles, 3 triples, and drove in 87 runs in 414 ABs.

Double-A/Class A-Advanced

Dylan Axelrod (RHP, 25, White Sox): Axelrod pitched 99 1/3 innings (13 starts) in Class A-Advanced and 10 innings (2 starts) in Double-A. Overall, he was 8-4 with a 2.06 ERA, 1.079 WHIP, 8.5 H/9, 0.2 HR/9, 1.2 BB/9, 7.6 K/9, and 6.13 K/BB. That K/BB ratio is filthy.

Richard Bleier (LH SP, 23, Rangers): Bleier was 7-11 with a 5.04 ERA, 1.333 WHIP, 10.5 H/9, 0.7 HR/9, 1.5 BB/9, 4.5 K/9, and 2.93 K/BB in 164 1/3 innings (28 starts in Double-A). Like Axelrod, you've got to like the command. Just needs to miss more bats.

Charles Cutler (C, 23, Cardinals): Cutler played 38 games in Double-A and 41 games in Class A-Advanced. His overall line was .260/.350/.341 for an OPS of .691 in 314 PAs. He did very well in Class A-Advanced but struggled in Double-A. His BB/K ratio was 32/33. He threw out 25% of the baserunners who attempted to steal against him. I could see him being another Ryan Hanigan or Francisco Cervelli.

Jonathon Fixler (C, 24, Astros): Fixler played 20 games in Single-A and 33 games in Double-A. In Double-A, he put up a line of .265/.363/.500 for an OPS of .863 in 115 PAs. His overall line was .242/.344/.427 for an OPS of .771 in 185 PAs. Not bad for a catcher.

Jason Kipnis (2B, 23, Indians): Kipnis played 54 games in Class A-Advanced and 79 games in Double-A. In Double-A, he put up a line of .311/.385/.502 for an OPS of .887 in 355 PAs. His overall line was .307/.386/.492 for an OPS of .878 in 592 PAs. He hit 16 HRs, 32 doubles, 8 triples, swiped 9 bags, drove in 74 runs, and scored 96 runs. Kipnis was named the Indians' Minor League Player of the Year. May not be long before he joins his old teammate from Arizona State, Ike Davis, in The Bigs. Has September call-up written all over him for 2011.

David Kopp (RH SP, 24, Cardinals): Kopp pitched 121 innings (21 starts) in Double-A and 24 innings (5 starts) in Triple-A. In Double-A, he was 12-4 with a 3.05 ERA, 1.364 WHIP, 9.4 H/9, 0.7 HR/9, 2.9 BB/9, 5.8 K/9, and 2.00 K/BB. Overall, he was 12-9 with a 3.97 ERA, 1.476 WHIP, 10.2 H/9, 0.8 HR/9, 3.1 BB/9, 5.6 K/9, and 1.80 K/BB. He struggled mightily during his 5 starts in Triple-A, just like he struggled mightily in his 5 starts in Double-A in 2009. If the pattern keeps up, he'll pitch well in Triple-A next season and struggle mightily in The Show.

Ryan Lavarnway (C/DH, 23, Red Sox): Lavarnway played 82 games in Class A-Advanced and 44 games in Double-A. In Double-A, he put up a line of .285/.395/.494 for an OPS of .888 in 190 PAs. His overall line was .288/.393/.489 for an OPS of .882 in 550 PAs. He hit 22 HRs, 27 doubles, drove in 102 runs, and scored 91 runs. His BB/K ratio was 70/104. He also threw out 33% of the baserunners who attempted to steal against him. For the 2nd consecutive season, Lavarnway was named the Offensive Player of the Year in the Red Sox's farm system. If he remains a catcher, he should have a ton of value moving forward. Catchers who can swing the lumber like he can don't grow on trees. Could be a September call-up next year.

Josh Satin (2B/INF, 25, Mets): Satin played 58 games in Class A-Advanced and 79 games in Double-A. In Double-A, he put up a line of .308/.395/.472 for an OPS of .867 in 332 PAs. His overall line was .311/.399/.467 for an OPS of .866 in 577 PAs. He hit 12 HRs, 39 doubles, 1 triple, drove in 74 runs, and scored 76 runs. As a second baseman, he gets overshadowed by Kipnis, but he's another potential September call-up next year.

Scott Schneider (RHP, 22, Cardinals): Schneider pitched 74 innings (13 starts) in Class A-Advanced and 63 2/3 innings (8 starts) in Single-A. Overall, Schneider was 8-9 with 2 saves in 137 2/3 innings, a 3.46 ERA, 1.140 WHIP, 7.6 H/9, 0.5 HR/9, 2.6 BB/9, 7.5 K/9, and 2.88 K/BB.


Nathan Freiman (1B, 23, Padres): Freiman put up a line of .294/.369/.457 for an OPS of .826 in 594 PAs. He hit 14 HRs, 43 doubles, drove in 84 runs, and scored 83 runs. At 6' 7", he certainly looks the part of a first baseman. According to his numbers, he also plays the part pretty well.

Casey Haerther (1B, 22, Angels): Haerther put up a line of .307/.352/.432 for an OPS of .784 in 471 PAs. He hit 8 HRs, 26 doubles, 2 triples, swiped 10 bags, drove in 74 runs, and scored 54 runs. Very nice all-around 1st full season season for the former UCLA Bruin.

Jason Knapp (RHP, 20, Indians): Knapp missed most of the season because he was rehabbing from shoulder surgery in the offseason, but his numbers were impressive when he finally did pitch. He pitched 12 1/3 innings (5 starts) in Rookie League and 16 innings (4 starts) in Single-A. Overall, he was 1-2 with a 2.86 ERA, 1.024 WHIP, 47 Ks in 28 1/3 innings, 5.4 H/9, 0.0 HR/9, 3.8 BB/9, 14.9 K/9, and 3.92 K/BB. Coming into the season, Baseball America had him ranked as the 64th best prospect in the Minors, just behind Ike Davis at 62. It's still unclear whether Knapp will remain a starter or be converted into a reliever, but one thing is certain: he's a power pitcher who can rack up the Ks.

Tyler Kolodny (3B/1B, 22, Orioles): Kolodny played 10 games in Short-Season A and 41 games in Single-A. His overall line was .251/.365/.525 for an OPS of .890 in 220 PAs. He hit 11 HRs, 11 doubles, 3 triples, swiped 9 bags, drove in 33 runs, and scored 37 runs. From what I've read, the Orioles plan to move him to the outfield.

Brett Lorin (RH SP, 23, Pirates): Lorin missed most of the season because of a hip injury. He pitched 7 innings (3 starts) in Rookie League and 41 2/3 innings (9 starts) in Single-A. Overall, he was 2-3 in 48 2/3 innings with a 4.62 ERA, 1.295 WHIP, 9.4 H/9, 1.1 HR/9, 2.2 BB/9, 7.8 K/9, and 3.50 K/BB. It'll be interesting to see what he can do in a full season.

Jason Markovitz (LHP, 22, Mariners): Markovitz pitched 19 2/3 innings in Short-Season A and 20 innings (2 starts) in Single-A. Overall, he was 2-2 with 4 saves in 39 2/3 innings, 40 Ks, a 3.86 ERA, 1.160 WHIP, 8.4 H/9, 0.5 HR/9, 2.0 BB/9, 9.1 K/9, and 4.44 K/BB. With those peripherals, he probably deserved a better ERA. Didn't log too many innings at Long Beach University where he was teammates with Lorin for a year, but his numbers there were solid.

Daniel Rosenbaum (LH SP, 23, Nationals): Rosenbaum pitched 101 innings (18 starts) in Single-A and 43 innings (7 starts) in Class A-Advanced. Overall, he was 5-7 in 144 innings with a 2.25 ERA, 1.188 WHIP, 8.1 H/9, 0.4 HR/9, 2.6 BB/9, 7.2 K/9, and 2.80 K/BB. The 5-7 record doesn't do him justice. Rosenbaum and Hirsh were the best starters in the minors this year, IMO.

David Rubinstein (OF, 23, Pirates): Rubinstein put up a line of .289/.347/.409 for an OPS of .755 in 480 PAs. He hit 3 HRs, 37 doubles, 3 triples, swiped 23 bags, drove in 50 runs, and scored 54 runs. Doesn't possess a lot of power, but 37 doubles is nothing to sneeze at.

Josh Zeid (RHP, 23, Phillies): Zeid was 8-4 with 8 saves in 107 1/3 innings (12 starts), a 2.93 ERA, 1.137 WHIP, 111 Ks, 8.0 H/9, 0.6 HR/9, 2.3 BB/9, 9.3 K/9, and 4.11 K/BB. Outstanding numbers across the board. Zeid was voted as the Best Reliever at the Single-A level. With Schwimer, B.J. Rosenberg (injured for most of the season), and Zeid the Phillies have a solid core of relievers in their farm system.

Short-Season A/Rookie League

Jeremy Gould (LH RP, 22, Mets): In Rookie League, Gould was 1-2 with 1 save in 17 1/3 innings, a 3.12 ERA, 1.212 WHIP, 7.3 H/9, 0.5 HR/9, 3.6 BB/9, 5.7 K/9, and 1.57 K/BB. Didn't pitch much at Duke; he was a solid every day player there.

Alex Kaminsky (RH SP, 22, Indians): Kaminsky pitched 69 innings (14 starts) in Short-Season A and 3 innings in Double-A. Overall, he was 7-5 with a 2.38 ERA, 1.069 WHIP, 7.1 H/9, 0.5 HR/9, 2.5 BB/9, 7.5 K/9, and 3.00 K/BB. Not bad for a guy who inexplicably went undrafted. Had a pretty good career at Wright State University.

Jake Lemmerman (SS, 21, Dodgers): In Rookie League, Lemmerman put up a line of .363/.434/.610 for an OPS of 1.044 in 303 PAs. He hit 12 HRs, 24 doubles, 2 triples, drove in 47 runs, and scored 69 runs. This former Blue Devil was teammates with Freiman and Gould at Duke. Middle infielders with this kind of pop are few and far between. If he sticks at shortstop, he could go real far.

Ben Orloff (INF, 23, Astros): In Short-Season A, Orloff put up a line of .307/.405/.324 for an OPS of .729 in 285 PAs. He hit 4 doubles, swiped 23 bags (only caught 5 times), drove in 16 runs, and scored 52 runs. Also had a nifty BB/K ratio of 34/19. Was teammates with Axelrod for 2 years at the University of California-Irvine.

Andrew Pevsner (LHP, 22, Dodgers): In Rookie League, Pevsner was 3-0 in 28 1/3 innings (18 appearances) with a 1.91 ERA, 1.376 WHIP, 30 Ks, 7.9 H/9, 1.0 HR/9, 4.4 BB/9, 9.5 K/9, and 2.14 K/BB.

Justin Schumer (RHP, 22, Giants): Schumer pitched 5 2/3 innings (1 start) in Rookie League and 21 1/3 innings (4 starts) in Short-Season A. Overall, he was 2-0 with a 1.00 ERA, 1.185 WHIP, 6.3 H/9, 0.0 HR/9, 4.3 BB/9, 6.0 K/9, and 1.38 K/BB. Schumer went undrafted. He obviously took umbrage at that.

Michael Schwartz (1B/DH, 23, White Sox): In Rookie League, Schwartz put up a line of .241/.414/.339 for an OPS of .753 in 146 PAs. His BB/K ratio was 26/33.

Mauricio Tabachnik (RHP, 20, Padres): In Short-Season A, Tabachnik was 3-4 in 62 innings (6 starts) with a 3.48 ERA, 1.306 WHIP, 10.0 H/9, 0.9 HR/9, 1.7 BB/9, 6.1 K/9, and 3.50 K/BB. Great name to go along with a great BB/9.

Jeff Urlaub (LHP, 23, A's): In Rookie League, Urlaub was 1-0 with 2 saves in 26 1/3 innings, a 2.39 ERA, 0.987 WHIP, 26 Ks, 7.9 H/9, 0.0 HR/9, 1.0 BB/9, 8.9 K/9, and 8.67 K/BB. That's about as dominant as it gets. Was teammates with Ike Davis for 1 year at Arizona State.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Yardbarker and Fox Sports

TGR has officially joined the Yardbarker Network in association with Fox Sports Net!

Illini Calvin Brock

Former Illini Calvin Brock is NOT Jewish (to my knowledge) but he is following The Great Rabbino on Twitter. Check us out! https://twitter.com/#!/TheGreatRabbino

Top 10 Jewish Wrestlers of All-Time

I haven't written a wrestling piece in a while. So today we will look at the greatest Jewish professional wrestlers of all time. I will admit that I am not positive how many of these wrestlers are 100% Jewish. I got the list from this website www.onlineworldofwrestling.com. They also list Diamond Dallas Paige as Jewish and I know from speaking to him that he is not even 1/2 Jewish. I have placed a * next the wrestlers that I am almost 100% positive are at least 1/2 Jewish. Enjoy the list and feel free to comment.
10) Dean Malenko & A-Train/Albert/Giant Bernard - These two are tied. While Malenko was more accomplished during his ECW, WCW, and WWE days, A-Train has gone on to be a big success in Japan. Both have held titles in the WWE.

9) Brian Pillman - Pillman could have moved way up this list but his career was cut short by injuries and his eventual death. He was a unique talent and had some great success with Steve Austin and the Hart Family.

8) Michael Hayes - Hayes was part of the Fabulous Freebirds and now works for the WWE. A great tag team competitor.

7) Raven* - Former ECW and TNA Heavyweight Champion. While he never held the WCW or WWE Heavyweight title, he did manage to be the WCW United States Champ, WCW Tag Team Champ, and WWE Hardcore Champ (26 times).

6) Paul Heyman* - Heyman rarely wrestled. But he did get in the ring on occasion. But his biggest contribution to wrestling was running ECW. He also served as the Smackdown general manager and manager Brock Lesner.

5) Kane* - Kane first came to the WWE as Dr Isaac Yankem. After that short run, he returned as Undertaker's brother Kane. Since then he has held many titles including WWF Championship, ECW Championship, WWF/E Intercontinental Championship, World Tag Team Championship, WCW Tag Team Championship, and WWE Hardcore Championship. He currently holds the World Heavyweight title.

4) Kevin Nash/Diesel - Nash came to the WWE as Brett Hart's enforcer. He had a solid run in the WWE and even became champion. He later went on to create what he is best known for, the NWO while in the WCW. The held the WCW title 5 times and ended Goldberg's unbeaten streak. Since then he had a brief stint in the WWE and recently left TNA where he held the Legend's championship and Tag Team titles.
3) Macho Man Randy Savage* - One of my favorite wrestlers of all time. Unfortunately, Macho Man has not been around wrestling for a while. In his prime he held the WWE title twice and the WCW title four times.

2) Goldberg* - People probably assumed Goldberg would be number one. But the fact is, that Goldberg's run was pretty short. Goldberg held the WCW title once and the World Heavyweight title once. The most impressive thing about him was his streak (a great storyline by Eric Bischoff).

1) Kurt Angle* - In my humble opinion, Angle is the clear cut #1.  Forget about his Olmypic gold medals, Angle has dominated professional wrestling over the last 10 years and might be the world's best in ring performer. In the WWE he held the IC title, European title, Hardcore title, Tag titles, and the US title. He also won the King of the Ring. But his time was spent mostly winning major championships including WCW Championship, World Heavyweight Championship, and the WWF/E Championship (4 times). Since joining TNA in 2008 he has won the King of the Mountain Tournament, the NWA World Heavyweight Championship, and the TNA World Heavyweight Championship (4 times).

And Let Us Say...Amen.
-Jeremy Fine