Just like another O’s minor league hurler, righty Ryan Long, right-hander Daniel Federman hoped he could make it onto a roster for the World Baseball Classic. And like Long, Federman had never even pitched as high as Double-A ball and not only did he make it, he has a 0.00 ERA to show for his one inning on the mound.
On March 13 in Miami, Federman pitched a scoreless and quick 1-2-3 bottom of the seventh inning on just nine pitches for Team Israel against Puerto Rico. He got three groundouts against Johneshwy Fargas, Nelson Velazquez and Vimael Machin.
It was over fast as he averaged, per Statcast, 92.8 mph on his fastball, which topped at 93.4. He threw four fastballs, three curves, one changeup and one cutter.
“You know, warming up in the bullpen, it definitely sped up a little bit,” Federman, 24, said over the phone this week from O's minor league camp. “You look around and see the most people you have ever pitched in front of. But I think it was good that we had some veteran guys that had played in pro ball 10 or 15 years and guys that had been in the World Series. A big emphasis to the younger guys was 'just breathe.' It’s the same game.
“So, in the ‘pen it sped up a bit, but after the first pitch it felt weirdly calm out there. I’m definitely a fiery person and definitely very energetic. But I didn’t feel sped up when out on the mound. Glad how it all worked out.”
Federman qualified for the roster as his grandparents on his father’s side are of Jewish heritage, and he said about half his heritage is of Jewish descent. Peter Kurz, the general manager of the team, informed him late last year that he made the roster cut to 50, and then early last month Federman found out he made the final cut to 30 and would soon be WBC-bound.
“I found out Feb. 7,” he said. “I didn’t realize it would actually happen for sure until then. I was in the middle of a workout and got a message from Peter that I made the 30-man. Then I thought, ‘I’m actually going to do this. This is crazy.’”
And he got in a game, and it happened so fast.
“It did. I remember coming in the dugout and Josh (Zeid), the pitching coach, said, ‘You’re done.’ I was like, ‘That’s it.’ Happy with my result, even though we had a perfect game thrown against us. But I got my feet wet and was able to do well.”
With Team Israel, Federman shared a clubhouse with O’s pitcher Dean Kremer, who threw four scoreless innings on March 12 in their WBC opener with Nicaragua. Israel went 1-3 in Pool D, which advanced Venezuela and Puerto Rico to the quarterfinals.
“I had never met him or crossed paths since I’ve been in the Orioles system," said Federman. "But everyone I know that knows him spoke very well of him. They said he’s a leader and a nice guy and will do anything for his teammates. Literally everyone said that. He just felt like one of the boys and went about his business, went out there and shoved, and he led by example. Just a great guy. He was just as excited as I was to be there.”
And Federman adds a wonderful baseball experience now to his pro resume. Not bad for a player that was signed by the Orioles after the 2021 draft after a career at the University of Miami. Last year on the Baltimore farm he went 0-9 with a 5.58 ERA over 71 innings between low Single-A Delmarva and High-A Aberdeen. He officially signed with the Orioles on July 14, 2021.
“I met 30 new guys, and there are 30 guys I would happily talk to on a daily basis. They put together a roster of really good people,” he said.
As an added bonus, Federman was playing and pitching in a stadium 10 minutes from his home and near where he played college ball at the University of Miami. He had, by his count, at least 18 people getting tickets through him each game.
“Just glad that my parents could come to every single game," Federman said. "My grandparents were at the games. So were my friends. If it had been somewhere else, even Arizona, it would have been really hard to get everyone out there. That made it a much more enjoyable experience.
“I think no matter what I do in my career - obviously, winning a World Series would probably top this, or maybe making my debut - but other than that, I don’t think there is anything I could say would be a better experience. I know plenty of people would trade shoes with me. I hadn’t realized how many people would be watching. So many fans came up to us at games and said, ‘Thanks for playing for the country. Thanks for doing this.’ It meant so much to them. That is what I took away from it. More than just a baseball game.”
Now the work begins to try and take his pitching to a higher level and improve on last season. He said the Orioles have been a great organization for him.
“I think it was an awesome experience for my career. To prove to myself that I belong here. Held my own and didn’t shy away from some of the best competition in the world. Obviously that is as good an environment you can play in, in this game. I still have a lot of developing to do and was excited to show the Orioles and whoever else was watching that I belonged there.
“I will be completely honest and I am not just saying this because they employ me and gave me a chance. The Orioles have done a lot for me and my career and I feel like I am on a good path because of them.
"Since I got here I feel like I have been treated like a first-rounder or a top prospect. You wouldn’t be able to tell if you didn’t have names on jerseys, which guy was drafted where. I have been given nothing but a fair opportunity and they are helping me to get better. This org is doing an unbelievable job of development of players.”
Click here for a highlight of Federman's WBC outing and here for a tweet noting when he made the final roster for the event.
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