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Six Jewish Players taken in MLB Draft

Jake Gelof

Jake Gelof (MLB video snapshot)

Six Jewish players were selected last week in the annual Major League Baseball (MLB) draft. This was out of 614 players selected in total, so about 1% were Jews.

Interestingly, 614 is one more than 613, a very important number in Judaism ads it is the total number of commandments listed in the Tora. Maybe the one extra is for the one God.

Here, in order, are the six selected players:
(All player information comes from their schools’ websites.)

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Jake Gelof: 60th Overall Pick, Los Angeles Dodgers

Jake Gleof played for the University of Virginia. The infielder became UVA’s all-time home run leader on April 11 with his 38th career home run, a solo shot in the fifth inning against Richmond. He broke UVA’s single season RBI record with 81 in 2022 and again in 2023 with 90. He is the only player with 70 or 80 RBI in two different seasons in program history.

Also, he recorded a school record, five multi-homer games in 2022 – 2/25 vs. Cornell, 3/6 vs. Penn State, 3/11 at Duke, 3/19 vs. Boston College and 6/5 vs. Coastal Carolina. He’s the first UVA player to collect four-multi homer games in a season since Jon Benick in 2001. Jake broke UVA’s 29-year-old single-season home run record with 23 in 2023. With his 21 long balls in 2022, he is the first player in school history with two 20-homer seasons.

As a sophomore in 2022, he slugged .764, the third highest in school history and accumulated 162 total bases, the fourth most in a single season by a UVA hitter. Gelof also tied UVA NCAA Tournament single-game records with two home runs, five RBI and eight total bases against Coastal Carolina on June 5.

Has six career NCAA Tournament home runs, the most in program history.

Zach Levenson: 158th Overall Pick, St. Louis Cardinals

An outfielder from the University of Miami, he hit .300 with seven home runs and 28 RBI…Posted .420 on-base percentage and .531 slugging-percentage…Tied for team-lead with 10 HBP…Totaled seven multi-RBI performances and eight multi-hit games…Batted .310 (22-for-71) with three home runs and 15 RBI in ACC play… Recorded first collegiate hit, pinch-hit two-run homer, in eighth inning against Towson (Feb. 19)…Became first player to hit home run in first at-bat at Miami since Gus Menendez vs. FIU on Jan. 28, 2006…Came off bench to register first career ACC knock with pinch-hit RBI double in eighth against Boston College (Mar. 13)…Blasted game-tying solo shot at UCF (Mar. 16)…Started season-long 10-game on-base streak with single at Clemson (Mar. 20)…Tallied first career multi-hit effort vs. FGCU (Apr. 5)…Notched first three-hit performance, highlighted by solo homer, in 5-4 victory vs. No. 3 Virginia (Apr. 9)…Reached base four times, including trio of knocks, against Pitt (Apr. 23)…Launched grand slam and drove in season-best five runs vs. UCF (May 11)…Mounted third three-hit game, reaching safely four times, with home run in regular season finale against 14th-ranked Notre Dame (May 21).

Lucas Braun: 189th Overall Draft Pick, Atlanta Braves 

A Right Handed Pitcher, Braun collected his second consecutive All-Big West honor with another Second Team selection … Served as the team’s Friday starter … Ranked third in The Big West in strikeouts (100) and tied for third in innings pitched (91.1) while he was tied for seventh place in wins (6) … Became the first Matador since 2016 to reach 100 strikeouts in a season … Posted a 6-5 record with a 4.83 ERA in 15 total starts … Collected five wins in Big West play … Tallied eight quality starts with seven in Big West action … Reached double digits in strikeouts in three games … Fanned 10 batters in eight innings at UC Davis (3/17/23) … Struck out 10 more over six innings vs. UC Riverside (3/31/23).

RJ Schreck: 277th Overall Pick, Seattle Mariners 

At Duke University Schreck hit .288/.395/.506 in his career with 21 doubles, two triples, 26 home runs and 94 RBIs. He had 66 walks and 21 hit-by-pitches. His .506 slugging percentage ranked 16th all-time in Duke program history while his 26 long balls was tied for 11th. He Ranked tied for 23rd in program history with 21 hit-by-pitches. Schreck led the team with 18 home runs, the fourth-most in Duke history, and a .635 slugging percentage.

Ben Simon: 396th Overall Pick, New York Mets

Right-Handed Pitcher, Elton University, 2022: Went 3-1 with a 3.48 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and two saves in 31 innings over 23 relief appearances…Led Elon with 17 games finished…Averaged 10.5 strikeouts per nine innings…Held opponents to a .232 batting average…Struck out six in 3 2/3 innings over his first three appearances…Struck out two in one perfect inning of relief at UNCG on March 13

Will King: 609th Overall Pick, Atlanta Braves

Catcher at Eastern Kentucky University as a junior 2023, Midwest All-Region Second Team … Second Team All-ASUN Conference catcher … Buster Posey National Collegiate Catcher of the Year Award Watch List … Bobby Bragan Collegiate Slugger Award Watch List … played in and started 45 games … made 24 starts at catcher and 21 at designated hitter … led the team with a .346 batting average … also had 13 doubles, 12 home runs, 47 RBIs and 47 runs scored … had a .626 slugging percentage and a .427 on-base percentage … hit .389 in conference games … eighth in the ASUN in batting average, 13th in slugging … tied for first among all ASUN catchers (minimum 15 stolen bases attempted against), throwing out 41.2 percent of the runners who attempted to steal … went 2-for-4 with a home run, two runs and four RBIs against North Florida (March 31).



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