For the first time, an Orthodox Jewish baseball player is expected to be drafted by a Major League Baseball team.
Jacob Steinmetz has received a sports scholarship to Fordham University and is expected to be drafted in rounds 3-7 of the MLB draft this year, the New York Post reported.
Steinmetz is Shabbat observant and does not rise or drive to any baseball tournaments on Friday night and Saturday. He also brings his own kosher food while traveling to play.
“It’s never been frustrating to me,” Steinmetz said. “It’s just something I’ve always done. It makes me who I am."
Steinmetz, who is just 17-years-old, is 6-foot-6 and weighs 224 pounds. He has a 97-MPH fastball and is considered a top pitching prospect.
Steinmetz 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.
Stenmetz's summer coach, Daniel Corona, said of his star prospect: “He’s already got good stuff and you feel he can get better. He’s not done maturing physically.”
“I don’t know if there’s ever going to be another Jacob, as far as this whole process goes. He set an example that anything is possible as far as being committed to multiple things at once and still believing in yourself, your dreams, to make them happen,” Corona added.
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.