Alex Katz (baseball)

Last updated

Alexander Katz
AlexKatz2015.jpg
Alex Katz pitching in July 2015.
Chicago Cubs
Pitcher
Born: (1994-10-12) October 12, 1994 (age 26)
Manhasset, New York, U.S.
Bats: LeftThrows: Left

Alexander Benjamin Katz (born October 12, 1994) is an American-Israeli professional baseball left-handed pitcher in the Chicago Cubs organization who also pitches for Team Israel. [1]

Contents

Katz pitched for the St. John's Red Storm, and was part of the team that won the 2015 Big East Conference Regular Season and Tournament. He was drafted by the Chicago White Sox in the 27th Round of the 2015 Major League Baseball draft.

In 2015 and 2016 combined, pitching in the Rookie Pioneer League and Arizona League, the Class A South Atlantic League, and the Class A+ Carolina League, he was 0-3 with a 2.87 ERA and 6 saves. In 87.2 innings, he struck out 97 batters. [2]

Katz pitched for Team Israel at the 2017 World Baseball Classic. He made four relief appearances and pitched a total of 3.1 scoreless innings. In May 2017, Katz was traded to the Baltimore Orioles for two international pool spots. In October 2018, he became a dual Israeli citizen. He is competing on the Israel national baseball team for qualification for the 2020 Olympics.

Early life

Katz was born in Manhasset, New York, to Gary and Adrienne Katz. [3] [4] He has two older sisters, Anna and Natalie. [3]

High school

Katz went to Herricks High School (Class of 2012) in New Hyde Park, New York, where he pitched and played first base and outfield. [3] [5] He threw a 84 mph fastball. [5] He was an All-League selection as a junior, and named All-County, Second Team All-Long Island, 2012 honorable mention Rawlings/Perfect Game Preseason All-America, Perfect Game first team All-Northeast Region, MVP of the Nassau County Exceptional Senior Game, and won the Best Pitcher Award for the RTC Grand Slam Challenge (Long Island All-Star Game). [3] [6]

College

Katz then pitched for the St. John's Red Storm, attending the school on a baseball and academic scholarship, while majoring in sports management and minoring in business. [3] As a freshman, Katz made 22 appearances, including two starts, and went 1-3 with one save and a 5.33 ERA. During the summer of 2013, Katz pitched in the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League for the Shelter Island Bucks and in the Cape Cod Baseball League (CCBL) for the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox. [7] [8] Baseball America named Katz the top pitching prospect in the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League for that season, and Perfect Game named him the Hamptons pitcher with the best breaking ball. [9] [10]

As a sophomore, Katz appeared in 16 games, including nine starts, and went 1-2 with a 3.86 ERA and 39 strikeouts in 42.0 innings of work. On April 2, 2014, Katz started and struck out five in 6.0 scoreless innings of no-hit ball to earn the win as part of a combined one-hit shutout at Wagner. [3] In the summer of 2014, Katz returned to the CCBL, playing for the Chatham Anglers. [11]

As a junior, Katz appeared in 19 games, including 6 starts, and went 3-1 with a 3.40 ERA and 52 strikeouts in 55.2 innings of work. [12] He threw mostly a fastball, a changeup, and a slider. [13] In March 2015, Katz was named the Big East Conference Pitcher of the Week after striking out 13 batters in 7.0 scoreless innings in a pair of appearances that helped St. John's post consecutive shutouts in a two-game week. Katz, who made one start and one relief appearance, had a career-high 13 strikeouts in 6.0 scoreless frames to earn the win in a start against Fairfield. Katz then added 1.0 shutout inning against Central Connecticut. The lefty surrendered just one hit in his two appearances to limit the opposition to a .048 batting average (1-for-21). [14] Katz was part of the St. John's Red Storm baseball team that won the 2015 Big East Conference Regular Season and Tournament. [15]

Minor leagues

Chicago White Sox

Katz was drafted by the Chicago White Sox in the 27th round of the 2015 Major League Baseball draft. [16]

In 2015, at the age of 20, he pitched for the Great Falls Voyagers of the Rookie Pioneer League, and for the Arizona League White Sox of the Rookie Arizona League. [16] He was a combined 0-2 with a 2.20 ERA and 4 saves, as in 32.2 innings he struck out 40 batters. [16]

In 2016, he pitched for the Kannapolis Intimidators of the Class A South Atlantic League, and the Winston-Salem Dash of the Class A+ Carolina League. [16] He was a combined 0-1 with a 3.27 ERA and 2 saves, and in 55 innings he struck out 57. [16]

Baltimore Orioles

On May 20, 2017, the White Sox traded Katz to the Baltimore Orioles for two international pool signing bonus spots valued at over $750,000. [17] [18] Orioles Executive Vice President Dan Duquette said of Katz:

"He has a good fastball and excellent strikeout record. A lot of guys like him and they project him to be a major league reliever. We’re going to send him to Frederick.... He showed a good fastball and a really good breaking ball in the [World Baseball Classic]. We got a couple good looks at him." [17] [19] [20]

At the time of the trade, Katz had struck out 10.1 batters per 9 innings in his 62-game, 102-inning minor league career. [17] [21] In 2017, pitching for the Kannapolis Intimidators before he was traded, he was 0-1 with a 4.40 ERA, and pitching for the Frederick Keys of the Class A+ Carolina League after the trade he was 3-2 with a 5.57 ERA. [16]

Katz pitched in the 2018 season for the Delmarva Shorebirds of the Class A South Atlantic League, for whom he was 3-2 with a 4.26 ERA in 25 games, and for Frederick for whom he was 0-0 with a 4.50 ERA in 5 games. [22]

Katz was released by the Orioles’ Single-A affiliate, the Frederick Keys, on October 18, 2018.

Chicago White Sox (second stint)

In late 2018, Katz signed a minor league deal to return to the Chicago White Sox organization, but was released during spring training in March 2019.

Long Island Ducks

On April 15, 2019, he was signed as a spring training invitee for the Long Island Ducks of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball. In 2019 he was 0-0 with a 4.70 ERA over 15.1 innings for the Ducks. [22] He became a free agent following the season.

Kansas City Royals

On February 12, 2020, Katz signed a minor league deal with the Kansas City Royals. Katz did not play in a game in 2020 due to the cancellation of the minor league season because of the COVID-19 pandemic. [23] Katz was released by the Royals organization on November 12, 2020.

Chicago Cubs

On May 4, 2021, Katz signed a minor league deal with the Chicago Cubs. [24] He was assigned to the Single-A Myrtle Beach Pelicans of the Low-A East, later receiving promotions to the Class A+ South Bend Cubs of the High-A Central and the Double-A Tennessee Smokies of the Double-A South. [22]

Team Israel

Katz was on the roster for Israel at the 2017 World Baseball Classic qualifier, [25] but did not make an appearance during the tournament. Team Israel beat Pakistan, Great Britain, and Brazil, all of which were better ranked. [26]

Katz pitched for Team Israel at the 2017 World Baseball Classic, in March 2017. [27] [28] He pitched in 4 games, pitching 3.1 scoreless innings. [29]

In October 2018 he became a dual Israeli citizen, partly to help Israel’s baseball team make the 2020 Olympics. [30] [31] Katz was included on the roster for Team Israel at the 2020 Olympics. [32]

Business venture

Katz, who describes himself as "a big sneakerhead," started a company named Stadium Custom Kicks, which customizes baseball cleats. [33] [34] Among the company's clients are Aaron Judge, Robinson Cano, José Altuve, and a few hundred major leaguers and minor leaguers; 350 of them in the major leagues. [33] [35] While two thirds of his custom projects are baseball cleats, football and golf are close behind. [35]

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References

  1. "Alex Katz Stats, Highlights, Bio," milb.com
  2. "Alex Katz Minor Leagues Statistics & History," Baseball-Reference.com.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Alex Katz Bio," RedStormSports.com.
  4. "Alex Katz," Jewish Baseball News.
  5. 1 2 "Class of 2012 Top Prospects" Archived 2012-06-17 at the Wayback Machine , bluechipprospects.com
  6. Jeff Noreman (June 14, 2012). "RTC All-Star Game Showcases Top Seniors," Baseball Player Magazine.
  7. "#12 Alexander Katz". pointstreak.com. Retrieved July 20, 2021.
  8. "Four Questions With Alex Katz," Summer Baseball Insider, December 6, 2013.
  9. Ian Frazer (September 4, 2013). "Hamptons Collegiate League Top 10 Prospects," Baseball America.
  10. Allan Simpson (September 16, 2013). "Hamptons Lg. prospect reports," Perfect Game USA.
  11. "Alex Katz". pointstreak.com. Retrieved July 20, 2021.
  12. "St. John's Season Statistics", redstormsports.com, June 2, 2015.
  13. "Red Storm Duo Heads to Green Bay," Northwoods League, March 17, 2015.
  14. "Katz Named Big East Pitcher Of The Week," RedStormSports.com, March 23, 2015.
  15. Laura Amato (October 3, 2016)."St. John’s hurler heading to World Baseball Classic," TimesLedger.
  16. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Alex Katz Register Statistics & History," Baseball-Reference.com.
  17. 1 2 3 "Orioles notes: Katz acquired for international signing slots," Baltimore Sun.
  18. Benjamin Hill (August 4, 2017). "On the Road: Keys' Katz talks Classic, cleats; After success with Team Israel, left-hander traded to O's for slots," MiLB.com.
  19. Brittany Ghiroli (May 20, 2017). "Orioles get pitcher Alex Katz from White Sox," mlb.com.
  20. "Interview with Baltimore Orioles Prospect LHP Alex Katz – New York Groove". Archived from the original on November 16, 2017. Retrieved November 16, 2017.
  21. Mark Polishuk (May 20, 2017). "Orioles Acquire Left-Hander Alex Katz From White Sox For Two International Pool Slots," MLB Trade Rumors.
  22. 1 2 3 "Alex Katz Amateur, College, Minor & Independent Leagues Statistics & History". Baseball-Reference.com.
  23. "2020 Minor League Season Canceled". MLB Trade Rumors.
  24. Katz, Alex [@kittyelgato12] (April 29, 2021). "The dream is alive and well. Thank you @Cubs for this amazing opportunity. Looking forward to the 2021 season! #GoCubsGo" (Tweet). Retrieved May 3, 2021 via Twitter.
  25. Vince Lara-Cinisomo (September 22, 2016). "Rosters for WBC Qualifier in Brooklyn," Baseball America.
  26. "HCBL Alums Named to World Baseball Classic Rosters," Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League, February 9, 2017.
  27. "Alex Katz on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved January 13, 2017.
  28. David Adler (February 8, 2017). "Israel brings MLB experience to 1st WBC main draw; Vets Davis, Feldman among team members with Major League credentials", mlb.com.
  29. "Stats | 2017 World Baseball Classic" Archived 2019-03-25 at the Wayback Machine , worldbaseballclassic.com.
  30. "10 U.S.-Jewish baseball players to get dual Israeli citizenship in bid to make 2020 Olympics," Haaretz, October 11, 2018.
  31. "US baseball players get Israeli citizenship in boost to Olympic team," The Times of Israel.
  32. "IAB - Israel Association of Baseball - Team Israel releases 24-man roster for Tokyo". www.baseball.org.il.
  33. 1 2 "Orioles minor leaguer Alex Katz supplies customized cleats for All-Star Futures Game," Baltimore Sun.
  34. "Stadium Custom Kicks (@stadiumcustomkicks)," Instagram.
  35. 1 2 Newcomb, Tim. "Minor League Pitcher Alex Katz's Artistic Footwear Customization Business Is Spreading Beyond Baseball". Forbes.