There are many stories going into this year’s MLB season. The top of the list include the Red Sox big off-season, the Giant and Rangers expectations, and of course the annoying Yankees creep into everyone’s subconscious. My mind is fully on the 50+ home runs I am hoping out of Big Adam Dunn. But at The Great Rabbino we focus on the Jewish stories that may or may not bring us naches. So here they are the top 10 Jewish stories to watch out for during the 2011 MLB season.
10) New Faces in New Places: Some of our beloved Jewish ball players have switched teams. Gabe Kapler has signed with the Dodgers, will that lead to more playing time? And will Sam Fuld’s move to Tampa mean a permanent roster spot?
9) Rothschild in Pinstripes: The Yankees rotation is one of the biggest stories of the off-season. C.C. and the boys need to improve. The Yankees brought in former Cubs’ pitching coach Larry Rothschild to fix everyone (besides C.C.). Whether or not he is the answer is a major question.
8) Pitching Needs to Improve: It is clear we have no Sandy Koufaxes in the bunch. Outside of Craig Breslow last year was a major disappointment. Can Jason Marquis, Scott Feldman, and John Grabow bounce back?
7) Get Braun Some Help: Much of Ryan Braun’s numbers come from the great protection he gets from Prince Fielder. With Fielder on the move, possibly mid-season, will Braun continue to be a star?
6) Somebody Call a Doctor: Last year the DL saw better Jewish players than the field. 2010 contained serious and long injury stints for Kevin Youkilis, Brad Ausmus, Ian Kinsler, Marquis and Grabow. Can the Jewish ball players stay healthy?
5) The Youk’s Team: With Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez on board, will Youkilis still remain the man in Boston. He has great potential in this lineup but his move back to third could be a distraction. We expect big numbers from the Youk.
4) Kinsler Kontinued: Kinsler was awesome in the playoffs. We saw glimpses of his 2010 form. Is he done with his injury plagued season and can he be the 30-30 guy we know he can be?
3) 2nd Year Slide: Last year Ike Davis showed his power. Danny Valencia came out of nowhere to be a star. The league knows who they are now. They have won the respect of many fans. But will these two be able to step it up, continue their strong play and help lead their teams? Also, will Ryan Kalish get a real chance?
2) Next: We finally saw the arrival of two new stars, so who is next? Will Jason Kipnis get a chance with the Indians? Can Danny Axelrod join the White Sox in middle relief? Can Ben Guez continue to rise fast for the Tigers? And will Aaron Poreda crack the Padres rotation? Who is the next Jewish breakout star.
1) Minor League Record: Our top story is kind of cheating but it is totally worth the #1 spot. It comes from college. Florida International’s Garrett Wittels has a 56 game hitting streak, which is 2 shy of Robin Ventura’s Division I record. We will be eagerly awaiting for the beginning of the college season. This kid has a bright future. If he ends up as good as Ventura that would be one great career.
Get ready to play ball. Go White Sox.
And Let Us Say…Amen.
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