DELRAY BEACH, Fla. — The first known practicing Orthodox Jewish player to be selected in the Major League Baseball draft may hail from New York, but scouts took notice of him at a South Florida baseball academy.
Jacob Steinmetz was a third-round draft pick -- 77th overall -- of the Arizona Diamondbacks on Monday.
The 6-foot-5, 220-pound New York native is a 17-year-old right-handed pitcher whose repertoire features a fastball that sits in the mid- to upper-90s and a knee-buckling curveball.
His draft stock rose considerably while playing for the Elev8 Baseball Academy in Delray Beach this year after previously competing for his high school team, the Hebrew Academy of the Five Towns and Rockaway.
Steinmetz recently told the New York Post he keeps the Sabbath and eats only Kosher food, but plays during the Sabbath and on Jewish holidays -- although he walks to games during the Sabbath rather than taking transportation.
"It's just something I've always done," Steinmetz told the paper. "It makes me who I am."
Steinmetz told the New York Post that he would go shopping for Kosher food once a week and pray daily while living alone in Florida.
Elev8 Baseball Academy is an elite baseball institute whose leadership team is comprised of former collegiate and major league players, including head coach Todd Moser (former Florida Atlantic pitcher) and assistant pitching coach Ramon Morel (former MLB pitcher).
No practicing Orthodox Jewish player has made it to the big leagues.