Long Island, New York native Jacob Steinmetz is now the first orthodox Jewish player in Major League Baseball history.
The Arizona Diamondbacks picked the 17-year-old pitcher, the 77th overall selection, in the third round of the 2021 MLB Draft with a slot value of $805,000, according to the New York Post.
The draft started in Denver, Colorado, on Sunday and ends tomorrow.
The 6’-5” 220 lbs. right-hander was not well known outside of his Long Island community before this spring, but made his mark throwing for ELEV8 Baseball Academy in Delray Beach, Florida, during a two-month stint, starting in March, according to MLB.com.
His big pitches are a fastball, which he clocks in the 90-94 m.p.h. range, and his high-spin curveball, as well as his “overhand breaking ball” that leaves hitters mystified.
As an orthodox Jew, Steinmetz keeps kosher and observes the Sabbath, sundown Friday to sunset Saturday, which does not allow him to ride in a car, bus, plane, or train.
According to the Post story, he is allowed to walk and play baseball during that time.
To maintain his religious observations on the Sabbath and other Jewish holidays, Steinmetz travels ahead of time, arriving before the Sabbath or holiday, and then walking to the ballpark to pitch.
While attending baseball tournaments when he was in school, he walked as far as five miles to be able to play.