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Team Israel lost to the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic on Tuesday, but the night belonged to starting pitcher Jacob Steinmetz. The 19-year-old starting pitcher, who is Major League Baseball’s only active practicing Orthodox Jewish player, struck out three in his debut.
Steinmetz, an Arizona Diamondbacks prospect, was selected in the third round of the 2021 MLB Draft. That made him the first known practicing Orthodox Jewish player to be drafted in league history. He chose to turn pro instead of playing college baseball at Fordham.
Jacob Steinmetz’s WBC debut was outstanding.
On Tuesday, Steinmetz toed the rubber for Israel against a dominant D.R. lineup. He couldn’t have asked for a better outing.
As the fourth-youngest player to start a WBC game, with only 25 innings pitched on the complex league level, Steinmetz gave up only two hits and one run in an inning and two-thirds. He also added three strikeouts.
The strikeouts came against six-time All-Star Manny Machado, two-time All-Star Gary Sanchez, and Jeremy Peña, who was the 2022 World Series MVP. What a night for Steinmetz!
Steinmetz said that he felt nerves when he first took the field for warmups. By the time the first batter stepped into the box, it was “just a regular baseball game.” He has ice in his veins.
It was awesome. Coming out here in front of a sold-out stadium, with all the Dominican fans and the Israel fans, was something that I’ll never forget.— Jacob Steinmetz after his WBC debut
Not only is the Steinmetz the only Orthodox player in the MLB, he is the only practicing Orthodox player on Team Israel. His fantastic outing on Tuesday set Twitter on fire.
Due to his religious practice, Steinmetz has a unique agreement with Team Israel and the Diamondbacks. He made provisions in his professional contracts so that he can observe Shabbat on Saturdays, a day of rest in the Jewish faith. It traditionally includes refraining from driving.
Steinmetz’s outing on Tuesday is what the World Baseball Classic is all about. Such a cool moment!