Watch the all-time Jewish baseball Fantasy Draft
You are a major-league general manager putting together a team from scratch.
You have the first pick in a draft in which every Jewish ballplayer in history is a free agent.
Do you build your franchise around the most dominant pitcher available (Sandy Koufax)? Do you go with the most powerful hitter (Hank Greenberg)? Or do you make a surprise pick to quickly secure the most dominant second baseman or shortstop — positions at which Jewish participation is thin?
We’re about to find out when several baseball experts participate in the first all-time Jewish baseball fantasy draft.
The event, hosted by Rabbi Jeremy Fine (“The Great Rabbino”), will be held at 2 p.m. (Eastern) on Sunday, June 21. It will be live streamed at www/facebook.com/rabbijeremyfine.
The unique program will help raise funds for Team Israel’s quest for a medal in the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo.
“We’ll celebrate Israel baseball in a big room together with Jewish personalities,” Rabbi Fine said. “It’ll be a lot of fun. It’s exciting to bring together the past, present and future of Jewish baseball.”
Here’s how the draft will work:
Five two-person teams will select from the pool of all-time Jewish players listed on the jewishbaseballnews.com website. Each team will pick one player at catcher, first base, second base, shortstop, third base and designated hitter, along with three outfielders, two starting pitchers and two relievers.
The team that has the first pick in round 1 will pick last in round 2, then pick first again in round 3, etc.
Team members include the following:
Ian Kinsler — four-time All-Star second baseman who just retired with 1,999 career hits
Jon Moscot — former Reds pitcher and current Team Israel member
Danny Valencia — former infielder with seven different major-league teams over nine seasons
Ty Kelly — former Mets and Phillies outfielder
Ryan Lavarnway — Miami Marlins catcher
Justine Siegel — first woman to pitch major-league batting practice, current executive director of Baseball for All
Gabrielle Starr — “Girl at the Game” blogger and Red Sox fan
Cory Provus — radio voice of the Minnesota Twins
Jaxon Stone — pro wrestler and former player in the Atlanta Braves’ organization
The 10th spot for the privilege of being Kinsler’s draft partner has been sold, with proceeds going to Team Israel.
Between draft picks, Rabbi Fine will conduct live interviews with many past, present and future players.
Once full teams have been selected, a group of draft experts will evaluate the picks and name a winning team based on how it thinks the rosters would perform in a bracket tournament. Starting pitchers cannot be penciled into the lineup for two consecutive “games,” so the team that drafts Koufax or Ken Holtzman will need to start someone like Barry Latman or Ross Baumgarten in “Game 2.”
The judges’ panel is comprised of the following:
Jonathan Mayo — MLB.com draft and prospect expert
Alyson Footer — national correspondent for MLB.com, former Houston Astros beat writer
Sam Brief — voice of the Chicago Dogs of the independent American Association
Preceding the draft, a memorabilia auction will be held on eBay beginning June 14. Israeli World Baseball Classic jerseys and signed gloves are among the items to be sold for the benefit of Team Israel.