These 5 Jewish baseball players were just drafted into the MLB


(JTA) — Though there were no Jewish players at this week’s MLB All-Star Game, the future is bright.

The best bellwether of what’s to come is the MLB Draft, which included 20 rounds split between the past three nights. A total of 614 players were drafted this year, and according to Jewish Baseball News, five of them are Jewish.

Scott Barancik, the site’s editor, said five picks in 20 rounds is a fairly high number — especially considering the fact that the draft used to be twice the size.

Here’s the 2023 Jewish MLB draft class:

Jake Gelof, 60th overall

Taken in the second round by the Los Angeles Dodgers, Jake Gelof is a power-hitting third baseman who just concluded a record-setting career at the University of Virginia. The 21-year-old Delaware native holds the all-time home run record at his alma mater, where he slugged 48 home runs across three seasons. Gelof’s older brother Zack, also a UVA alum, was just called up to the big leagues by the Oakland Athletics, who drafted him 60th overall in 2021. Zack represented Team Israel in the 2023 World Baseball Classic, and the two brothers are likely to play for Israel in the 2026 WBC.

Zach Levenson, 158th overall

Outfielder Zach Levenson was taken in the fifth round out of the University of Miami, joining the St. Louis Cardinals organization. In 114 college games across two seasons with the Hurricanes, the Florida native hit .295 with 21 home runs and 73 runs batted in. Levenson was ranked 204th in MLB’s prospect rankings.

RJ Schreck, 277th overall

A Los Angeles native, RJ Schreck played for Vanderbilt University as a graduate student after four years at Duke University. The 23-year-old outfielder, who was drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the ninth round, slugged 40 home runs and 153 RBIs across his five-year collegiate career. Schreck graduated from the same LA high school as Jewish Braves ace Max Fried.

Ben Simon, 396th overall

The New Jersey native pitched at Elon University for three years, where he struck out 103 batters across 88.1 innings, mostly as a reliever. Simon, 21, was named to the 2022 All-CAA Second Team for the Colonial Athletic Association conference. He was selected in the 13th round by the New York Mets.

Will King, 609th overall

One of the final draft picks, New York City native Will King was selected in the final round by the Braves. A catcher, King played three seasons at Eastern Kentucky University, where he hit .306 with 25 home runs and 124 RBI in 145 games. King, 19, was named the First Team All-ASUN Conference catcher his sophomore year and the Second Team catcher his junior year.

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