THE 29TH MAN

14 Sep

opening night wednesday the 19th against south africa

I almost cannot believe what I am about to to tell you…I made the team… sort of.  I am the 3rd string catcher, the bullpen catcher.  There are 28 roster spots.  But according to WBC rules, each team can carry a 3rd catcher that can be activated if one of the first two catchers gets hurt, a 29th spot, an extra man if you will, an exception. And I am that exception.

What could be more fitting? – I ask you. – A unique position, a roster spot that is not a roster spot for a man that is not a man, but the King of All Jewish Baseball.

4 players from the initial camp have been brought onto Team Israel for the WBCQ.  Shlomo Lipetz, Dan Rothem, and ALon Leichman – the three Israelis to ever play college baseball in the US, and me, again, sort of.  The rest of the guys on the team are American Jews currently playing pro baseball.  Here is the full roster.  You will not see my name.  But you will see Shlo and Dan and Alon listed on there right next to Green and Kapler and all the other guys…

our roster

Here is what Baseball America just a couple hours ago wrote about the team…

…Israel’s roster includes two ex-big leaguers in Shawn Green and Gabe Kapler; three players from Israel, all pitchers; and a team of minor leaguers that includes Josh Satin, who got 28 at-bats over the last two seasons with the Mets; top Dodgers prospect Joc Pederson; 2011 Rule 5 draft pick Brett Lorin; and 14 players overall who were in Double-A or Triple-A in 2012.

Israel’s offense should have some thump if Green and Kapler can flash a bit of their big league form; Green hasn’t played in the majors since 2007, Kapler since 2010. Pederson brings pop (18 homers this season) and athleticism after batting .313/.396/.516 as a 20-year-old at high Class A Rancho Cucamonga this season. He’s the team’s top prospect and arguably the best on any of the eight teams playing next week.

Minor league first basemen Cody Decker and Nate Freiman, teammates with the Padres’ Double-A San Antonio club this season, combined for 49 homers—Freiman 24 while hitting .298/.370/.502, Decker 25 while batting .263/.367/.540. Decker could play some outfield as well.

The rest of the infield includes Satin, listed as a second baseman, who is a career .303 hitter in 580 minor league games; middle infielders Jake Lemmerman (Dodgers), who was Freiman’s teammate at Duke, and former UC Irvine stalwart Ben Orloff (Astros), a .281/.361/.328 hitter as a pro; and former UCLA star Casey Haerther (Angels), listed as a third baseman. Haerther played first base while batting .271/.288/.380 at Double-A Arkansas this season.

Ben Guez (Tigers) and Robbie Widlansky (Orioles) join Pederson in the outfield, though Widlansky also could play some third base for manager Brad Ausmus (Padres). Ausmus’ catchers include Charlie Cutler (Pirates), Jack Marder (Mariners) and Nick Rickles (Athletics). Marder, also an infielder, had a big year at high Class A High Desert, hitting .360/.425/.583, and the Oregon alum will be an intriguing prospect if he can be a full-time catcher and hit for any power away from the Cal League.

Israel’s pitching staff is frankly less impressive. Its most experienced starting pitchers are Lorin, who went 3-10, 6.40 at Double-A Mobile this season; and lefty Eric Berger (Indians), 2-9, 5.27 between Double-A and Triple-A. The other starters are lefty Max Perlman (Athletics), who made 10 starts at two A-ball levels, and righthander Justin Schumer (Giants), who was 7-4, 4.87 at high Class A San Jose.

Israel has some intriguing relief options, such as righthander Josh Zeid (Astros), who had 66 strikeouts in 56 innings this year at Double-A but also had a 5.59 ERA;  lefty Jeff Urlaub (A’s), who had 58 strikeouts and just nine walks in 65 innings between two A-ball stops this year; and righty David Colvin (Mariners), who was 5-3, 3.15 with four saves in low Class A Clinton this season.

Here is a link to the full article which includes write-ups about the other teams in the tournament…

http://www.baseballamerica.com/blog/prospects/2012/09/israel-spain-among-final-wbc-rosters-released/

And now we set off on the real mission – to win the World Baseball Classic Qualifier, and get Israel into the 2013 WBC, and complete blog world domination, of course.  Keep following KOJB, bullpen catcher for Team Israel, as we navigate our way through the jungle that is the WBCQ…

4 Responses to “THE 29TH MAN”

  1. DJ September 14, 2012 at 9:55 pm #

    Congratulations, King. We were pulling for you.

  2. Dr. PainTrain September 15, 2012 at 12:52 am #

    Pescado, when is the first game of the qualifier?

    Sincerely,
    the king of all pain and athletic training

  3. Rick Yaverbaum September 16, 2012 at 3:46 pm #

    All hail the King!!! Way to go!!!!

  4. Daniel September 22, 2012 at 2:08 am #

    Awesome news! Congrats. Cash and I are psyched for you. All of the Yorkville little leaguers are pulling for you!

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