Jewish University of Virginia Star Jake Gelof Selected in Second Round of MLB Draft

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Jake Gelof playing for the University of Virginia on April 10, 2022. (Samuel Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images via JTA.org)

Jacob Gurvis

The Los Angeles Dodgers selected power-hitting Jewish infielder Jake Gelof with the 60th pick in the 2023 MLB Draft on Sunday night.

The 21-year-old Delaware native holds the all-time home run record at the University of Virginia, where he slugged 48 home runs across three seasons. His 23 home runs in 2023 are also a single-season program record, and he is the first player in the team’s history with two 20-home run seasons.


Gelof’s older brother Zack, who is also a UVA alum who was drafted 60th overall in 2021, is currently the third-ranked prospect in the Oakland Athletics organization, where he is playing at the Triple-A minor league level. Zack represented Team Israel in the 2023 World Baseball Classic, and the two brothers are likely to play for Israel in the 2026 WBC.

 

J. the Jewish News of Northern California reported earlier this year that Zack Gelof did not have a bar mitzvah but grew up attending Hebrew school in their Seaside Jewish Community in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware; no news yet on Jake’s background.

Gelof joins a talented group of Jewish prospects who have been drafted in recent years. Louisiana State University hard-throwing pitcher Eric Reyzelman, the son of two Jewish immigrants from the former Soviet Union, was drafted by the New York Yankees in the fifth round last year. In 2021, Jacob Steinmetz and Elie Kligman became the first two Orthodox players drafted into MLB. Steinmetz, who pitched for Team Israel in the WBC, was recently promoted to Single-A in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization, while Kligman returned to college after the draft.

Gelof had been viewed as a possible late first-round pick, with MLB.com listing him as high as 35th among its draft prospect rankings. Seventy players were selected by MLB’s 30 teams in the draft’s opening two rounds on Sunday, and rounds 3-10 will continue on Monday and rounds 11-20 follow on Tuesday.

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