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Highs and lows for Jewish Major Leaguers in 2009
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Highs and lows for Jewish Major Leaguers in 2009

Ryan Braun
Ryan Braun

Ryan Braun (Milwaukee Brewers) led the National League with 203 hits and was among the top 10 NL batters in runs scored (113), doubles (39), RBI (114), batting average (.320), slugging percentage (.551), and OPS (On-base + slugging, .937).

Ian Kinsler (Texas Rangers) became the second JML to achieve membership in the rare 30 home run/30 stolen bases — Shawn Green was the other — with 31 of each. He finished in the top 10 AL batters in runs scored (101) and stolen bases.

• Despite missing 26 games with various injuries, Kevin Youkilis (Boston Red Sox) finished second among AL batters in on-base percentage (.413), OPS (.961), and was fifth in slugging (.548).

Scott Feldman (Texas) and Jason Marquis (Colorado Rockies) finished in their league’s top five for wins (17 and 15, respectively). They each had 115 strikeouts. Feldman finished with a 4.04 earned run average while Marquis was right behind at 4.08. If not for poor outings in their final starts, they both would have enjoyed ERAs under four, considered the watershed for good pitching.

• Relievers John Grabow (Pirates/Cubs) and Craig Breslow (Indians/As) each had an ERA of 3.36. Grabow finished in the NL top 10 for holds (23).

• The 2009 season marked the debuts for several JML. Ryan Sadowski (San Francisco Giants) started like a house afire, allowing just seven hits in 13 scoreless innings and picking up wins in his first two starts. Unfortunately, the next four were pretty much meltdowns, which may explain why the Giants designated him for assignment. Sam Fuld (Cubs) flashed some nice leather, used mostly as a defensive replacement. How nice that he got a home run — his first — on the last day of the season. Other rookies hoping to make an more of an impact in 2010: fireballer Aaron Poreda, traded from the White Sox to the Padres, and Josh Whitesell, a first basemen for the Arizona Diamondbacks, who had better find the long-ball power he exhibited in the minors if he wants another chance.

• Will 2009 be the last go-around for a couple of veterans? Brad Ausmus (Los Angeles Dodgers), now 40, is rumored to be under consideration for the managing job in Houston. And Gabe Kapler (Tampa Bay Rays) earned $1,000,018 as a capable bench player, but in this time of austerity, the ballclub might want to fill the spot with a less-expensive rookie.

• Finally, it’s difficult to say anything bad about Scott Schoeneweis (Arizona), who lost his wife in May. His statistics were dreadful, but at the end of the day, it’s just a game.

Ausmus and the Dodgers were moving on to the NL Championship series. Youkilis and the Red Sox were swept in three games by the Los Angeles Angels. Marquis and the Rockies were also eliminated, falling to the Philadelphia Phillies in four games.

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