First Orthodox baseball player drafted to MLB

Arizona Diamondbacks take right-handed pitcher Jacob Steinmetz in third round, making him the first Orthodox Jewish player to get drafted.

Elad Benari ,

Chase Field, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks
Chase Field, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks
iStock

Right-handed pitcher Jacob Steinmetz on Monday made history when he became the first known Orthodox Jewish baseball player to get drafted.

Steinmetz, 17, a native of Woodmere, L.I., was selected in the third round (77th overall) by the Arizona Diamondbacks. The pick has a slot value of $805,600.

He now has to decide if he will go to college or begin his professional career, reported The New York Post.

Steinmetz keeps kosher and observes Shabbat. For baseball tournaments, he traveled ahead of time and arranged hotels within walking distance of the fields. He also brings his own kosher food while traveling to play.

He does play during Shabbat and on Jewish holidays, and explained to teams during the draft process how he could continue to juggle both his faith and baseball career, according to The New York Post.

Steinmetz is 6-foot-6 and weighs 224 pounds. He has a 97-MPH fastball and is considered a top pitching prospect.

He began considering a career in baseball as a serious prospect during the coronavirus pandemic, when during the lockdowns he began to work out extensively, putting on 25 pounds of muscle and developing his fastball into the dangerous pitch it is today.

Steinmetz is not the only teenager who hopes to become the first Orthodox Jewish MLB player as a pitcher. Elie Kligman, a high school senior from Las Vegas, is considered one of the best players in the state of Nevada. He was one of 175 high-schoolers who took part in the Area Code Baseball Games, which is viewed by MLB scouts.



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