Long Island native Jacob Steinmetz made history Monday by becoming the first Orthodox Jewish player drafted to MLB. The Diamondbacks plucked the 6’6” right-hander with the sixth pick of the third round (77th overall), which comes with an assigned slot value of $805,600. Steinmetz raised his stock with an electric senior season at Elev8 Baseball Academy in Delray Beach, Florida, impressing scouts with his velocity (his two-seamer sits between 95-97 mph) and elite breaking ball. Now the 17-year-old from Woodmere must decide whether to honor his commitment to Fordham or begin his pro career in Arizona’s minor-league system.
According to Zach Braziller of the New York Post, Steinmetz adheres to a kosher diet and also observes the Sabbath, which means he can’t travel by car, bus, train or plane between sundown Friday and sunset Saturday night. When competing in weekend tournaments, Steinmetz usually arranges to travel ahead of time, booking hotels within walking distance of whatever field or venue he’s playing at. Leading up to the draft, Steinmetz had expressed to teams that he is willing to pitch on Jewish holidays as well as the Sabbath.
The MLB Draft, which began Sunday night, will wrap up Tuesday with Rounds 11-20 to be staged at Bellco Theatre, about two miles south of Coors Field (site of this year’s All-Star Game) in downtown Denver.