Zach Penprase

From BR Bullpen

Zachary William Penprase

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 6' 2", Weight 200 lb.

Biographical Information[edit]

Zach Penprase has stolen over 300 bases in his pro career and played for the Israeli national team. He led his leagues in steals four times and runs twice.

Amateur Career[edit]

Penprase hit .327/.417/.481 as a college freshman. [1] As a sophomore, he posted a .367/.446/.467 batting line and stole 37 bases in 40 tries over 41 games. He did not lead the Southwestern Athletic Conference in swipes, though, as Carl Lipsey had 55 and Corey Wimberly 42. He made All-SWAC. [2] Oddly, on pg. 378 of the 2006 Baseball Almanac, he listed with 44 SB (rather than the 37 on pg. 399), putting him 4th in NCAA Division I, between Shane Robinson and Wimberley. [3]

In 2006, the junior's slash line read .354/.430/.444 and he stole 56 bases in 63 tries to lead the SWAC; he was All-Conference. [4] He tied Calvin Lester for the most steals in NCAA Division I. [5] The Philadelphia Phillies took him in the 13th round of the 2006 amateur draft, one round before Ben Jukich.

Pro Career[edit]

He began his pro career that summer with the Batavia Muckdogs; the middle infielder hit .211/.282/.247 and stole 19 bases in 25 attempts. He tied Quintin Berry for 6th in the New York-Penn League in steals. He split 2007 between the Lakewood BlueClaws (.250/.442/.281 in 19 G) and Williamsport Crosscutters (.121/.194/.121 in 16 G).

He was signed by the independent Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks for 2008 and hit .326/.398/.434 with 23 steals in 32 tries over 65 games. He was 6th in the Northern League in steals and would have been in the top 10 in average had he qualified. The Boston Red Sox picked him up in July, though, and he hit .235/.306/.296 with only two steals in 26 games for the Greenville Drive.

Back with Fargo-MoorHead in 2009, he produced at a .300/.397/.434 clip and swiped 45 bases in 53 tries, scoring 100 runs in 93 games. He easily led the Northern League in runs (19 more than Damian Rolls) and steals (13 ahead of Adam Klein). He tied for 4th with 24 doubles, tied Eric McNamee for 3rd with 56 walks and was 5th in OBP (between Vince Harrison and Greg Jacobs). He was named to the league's All-Star team as the best shortstop. [6]

In 2010, he slumped to .236/.313/.325 for Fargo-Moorhead but was nearly unstoppable on the bases (41 SB, 2 CS). He won the steal title again, ten ahead of Keanon Simon. The next year, he batted .291/.308/.409 for the RedHawks, scoring 77 runs in 99 games; he had 51 walks and 33 steals in 44 attempts. Fargo-Moorhead was now in the American Association; he tied Trent Lockwood for 10th in runs and tied Reggie Abercrombie for 2nd in steals (4 behind Kody Kaiser).

Penprase hit .311/.424/.416 for the 2012 RedHawks, going 47-for-52 in steals, scoring 95 runs in 97 games and coaxing 73 walks. He led the AA in runs (8 ahead of Adam Buschini), led in steals (7 more than Maikol Gonzalez), was 3rd in walks (behind Klein and Brian Myrow) and was 6th in OBP. He was named the All-Star shortstop. [7] He spent the winter with the Sydney Blue Sox of the Australian Baseball League, batting .282/.365/.387 with 16 steals in 20 tries and 30 runs in 45 games. He tied Carlo Testa and Mike Ohlman for 4th in the 2012-2013 ABL in runs scored and had six more steals than anyone else.

In 2013, he hit .257/.330/.314 for Fargo-Moorhead but still scored 81 runs in 97 games, thanks to 40 steals while only being caught twice. He tied C.J. Ziegler for 4th in the AA in runs and was 2nd in swipes (7 behind Gonzalez). He batted .276/.352/.387 in 2014 and was 19-for-24 in steals. In 2015, he hit .303/.365/.427 with 28 doubles, 72 runs and 30 steals in 34 tries. He tied for 4th in runs, was 3rd in doubles (behind Chad Mozingo and Noah Perio) and tied Matt Forgatch for 7th in stolen bases.

Israeli national team[edit]

Penprase did not play professionally from 2016-2019 then got to play for Israel in their bid for 2020 Olympics. His mother was Jewish and the team was recruiting American Jewish players. [8] He was not the only player on the team who was not currently active; Simon Rosenbaum was working in the Tampa Bay Rays player development system, for instance. He started at short and hit in the heart of the order in the 2019 B-Level European Championship; he batted .381/.481/.810 with 12 RBI in 6 games, fielding .964 and stealing two bases while also going deep twice. He was 8th in the event in average, 5th in slugging, 2nd in RBI (5 behind David Castillo), 3rd with 3 doubles, tied for 2nd in homers, 4th in total bases (17) and tied for 4th in steals as Israel won to advance to the 2019 European Championship Playoff. [9]

He was 2 for 6 with 4 walks, a double and 3 runs as Israel swept Lithuania in the European Championship Playoff to move on to the 2019 European Championship. [10] He struggled in the 2019 Euros at .148/.258/.148 while fielding .906. He had two runs and no RBI in seven games and was Israel's lightest-hitting regular. In the Bronze Medal Game loss to Spain, he was 0 for 5. [11]

Israel did well enough, though, to get a spot in the 2019 Europe/Africa Olympic Qualifier. Moving to third base by now with former major leaguer Ty Kelly having joined the team at short, he fielded only .833 with 3 errors in 5 games but scored 6 runs and hit .313/.400/.313. He was second in the event in runs behind former big leaguer Danny Valencia and Israel punched its ticket to the 2020 Olympics, only the 4th Israeli team in any sport to make an Olympics and the first in 48 years. [12]

Sources[edit]

  1. The Baseball Cube
  2. 2006 Baseball Almanac, pg. 399
  3. ibid., pg. 378
  4. 2007 Baseball Almanac, pg. 397; more discrepancies on steal counts here too as The Baseball Cube lists 40 SB
  5. ibid., pg. 377
  6. 2010 Baseball Almanac, pg. 414
  7. 2013 Baseball Almanac, pg. 401
  8. Jewish Baseball News
  9. 2019 B-Level European Championship
  10. 2019 European Championship Playoff
  11. 2019 European Championship
  12. 2019 Europe/Africa Olympic Qualifier