Jacob Steinmetz is just another kid from Long Island who is graduating from high school. Nothing much special about him, except for the fact that some people are touting Jacob as possibly Major League Baseball’s next great pitching phenom. Not only that, Jacob Steinmetz could be the first Shabbat observing orthodox Jew to actually play in the big leagues.
The MLB draft is currently underway and will continue through the week. The first round was held on Sunday and rounds 2 – 10 will be held today, Monday. Some expect Jacob Steinmetz to be picked by the seventh round. There are 20 rounds held in total. Unlike with the NFL and the NBA, drafted players must first play for some time in the minor leagues and do not go straight to play for the team that picks them. That is why some of the best players only get picked low down.
But Steinmetz may choose to college first as he has been awarded a scholarship to Fordham University. This is also a reason for his getting picked late in the draft. If Steinmetz does choose college then by the time that he graduates he will no longer be “owned” by the team that picked him and will need to go through the draft again.
American Jews love their baseball, and their Jewish baseball players. In 1965, Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Sandy Koufax refused to pitch a World Series game which fell on Yon Kipur. This happened at the height of the Civil Rights Movement in America and at a time when American Jews still suffered from widespread discrimination. Koufax’s action inspired generations of American Jews.
Whenever a new Jewish player comes up and seems like someone who might become a certified star Jews everywhere talk about him. In recent years Jews have gone nuts over Jewish MLB stars like Shawn Green, who played for the Toronto Blue Jays and the New York Mets. Shawn Green. Ken Youkilis played for ten seasons, mostly with the Red Sox, but he ended his career with the New York Yankees. Brad Ausmus also had a recent successful career playing for 18 seasons for teams like the Dodgers, the Astros and the Padres.
Unfortunately, there has yet to be another great Jewish ball player of the likes of Sandy Koufax or Hank Greenberg, both hall of famers. This, in part, is why Jacob Steinmetz is getting so much attention.
So what is it that makes Jacob Steinmetz so special? Well the seventeen year old Steinmetz stands at 6 feet six inches (almost 2 meters) and weighs about 224 pounds (100 kilos). He can throw a fastball at up to 97 miles per hour.
Even Major League Baseball said about Steinmetz, “Jacob Steinmetz shows raw potential as a starter, and could be the first Orthodox Jew to make it to the Major Leagues.”
“There’s a difference between being committed, doing all this hard work and having this extra layer,” Jacob Steinmetz’s summer coach, Daniel Corona, told the NY Post. “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.”
MLB Network’s Jim Callis said that MLB teams are high on Steinmetz commenting, “He’s already got good stuff and you feel he can get better. He’s not done maturing physically.”
As for the difficulties of observing Shabbat while playing on Saturdays when he cannot ride in a car, Jacob Steinmetz commented, “It’s never been frustrating to me. It’s just something I’ve always done. It makes me who I am. It’s definitely made [my life] different, but in a good way.”