This year's Top 10 Jewish stories to look for on the Diamond:
10) Re-emergence of Aaron Poreda
A few years ago we were talking about Poreda as next in line of solid Jewish MLBer starters. He emerged quickly with the White Sox and was a major piece of the Jake Peavy trade. Since then his stock has plummeted and he really has not see the majors or been a mainstay in any organization. This Spring he has reemerged with the Texas Rangers and we hope he can reclaim his spot in the majors.
9) Joc the Jock
Joc Pederson is probably the best Jewish minor leaguer on the cusp of the majors. He has high potential to be a star. Lets hope a call up takes place this year.
8) A Youkilis Return
Kevin Youkilis has packed his bag for Japan. But its fair to say all of us would like him back in the USA. Lets hope a team needs a 3B soon and Youkilis can continue being one of the greatest Jewish players of all time...on American soil.
Nate Freiman showed flashes of greatness last season but never became a full time starter. This year we hope the A's allow him to fly and strut his power hitting skills. Free Freiman.
6) Oldies But Goodies? Fuld, Marquis,Valencia
Both Fuld (A's) and Valencia (Royals) have caught on with teams and stand solid chances to make their respective ballclubs. Marquis, one of the greatest Jewish pitchers of all time, has yet to find a home. Lets hope all three find a way into the Majors this year.
5) Where Do We Begin: Zeid, Pillar, Lavarnway, Kalish
Josh Zeid, Kevin Pillar, Ryan Lavarnway, and Ryan Kalish all spent most of the season in the minors last year. Lavernway has yet to stick with the BoSox despite high potential. Kalish is getting over a season ending injury and is now with the Cubs, and Zeid and Pillar are hoping to start where they finished the season in the majors. Keep an eye on all four because they could all have breakout years.
4) Will They Mets Expectations: Satin and Davis
Both Josh Satin and Ike Davis have shown that they can play and start on a major league club. Both have also proven that they can go through major slumps. Both vying for a roster spot and two guys who wouldn't mind starting at 1B will see how much longer the Mets can deal with inconsistency. We are pulling for them both, hoping they can turn DPs together (Satin plays the whole INF).
3) New Unis: Kinsler and Feldman
Both Scott Feldman and Ian Kinsler have new uniforms. For both expectations are very high. Feldman finds himself atop the rebuilding Astros rotation and Kinsler replacing the bat of Prince Fielder. Great opportunity for both.
2) Breslow Back to Back
Its hard to make a name for yourself as a middle relief pitcher but Craig Breslow has. Now with a World Series ring, lets see if Breslow can continue being sharp on the field and make it back to back.
1) Braun's Back
Clearly the number one story is the return of Ryan Braun. Braun's steroid scandal rocked the baseball world as did his first at bat of Spring training (home run). Braun will have to battle the critics but he did his time and now its time for his bat to do the talking. Go gett'em Ryan!