Dean Kremer (With a Side Dish of Ryan Lavarnway!)

Jim Palmer, Dave McNally, Mike Cuellar, Pat Dobson and Dean Kremer?!

The first four are the Baltimore Orioles pitchers from my childhood who accomplished the unimaginable—these four were 20-game winners in a single season—1971.  Dean Kremer?  Well..there is no way he can win 20 games in a season, given the 2020 season only has 60 games!  We are proud of Dean, nonetheless.

I have been following Dean Kremer, the Israel Baseball player for many years. Now, he is Oriole, bringing pride to Baltimore baseball fans, Jewish and non-Jewish alike.  WJZ-TV in Baltimore captured the excitement with its headline before his first MLB start against the New York Yankees: 

Mazel Tov! Orioles’ Dean Kremer Becomes 1st Israeli to Reach Majors, Debuts Sunday Against Yankees”

Kremer came to the Orioles as part of the Manny Machado trade in 2017. He almost reached the big leagues last season with his 3.72 ERA and 122 strikeouts over 113 2/3 innings across three levels of minor league baseball.  He went 9-4 in 15 starts with Double-A Bowie, and went as far as AAA.

According to WJZ, he assumes the roster position of pitcher David Hess, who was optioned Saturday night, and took the rotation spot of Asher Wojciechowski.  Kremer debuted on Sept. 6 against the New York Yankees.  He allowed only one run and one hit, struck out seven batters in 6 innings and was credited with the win as the O’s beat the Yanks 5-1.

Kremer pitched 5 more innings vs. the Yanks on September 12 with 7 more strikeouts.  His third start was against the Devil Rays on September 17, where he pitched 5 innings and had 6 more strike outs. Kremer didn't factor into the decision in the first game of Thursday's doubleheader against the Rays, giving up one run on three hits and three walks. Kremer reported, “I didn’t have my best stuff today, but I really needed to compete,” Kremer said. “They put eight lefties in the lineup so it took me a while to get my breaking ball going. It’s a good thing I had my cutter to get me through, but it was definitely a day where I had to grind through each at-bat.”

 His ERA is currently an impressively low 1.69. 

The Orioles are officially out of the pennant race.  Kremer faces the Boston Red Sox’s Nathan Eovaldi (3-2) in Boston tonight, his final start of the season.

Kremer was born in Stockton, California to Israeli parents and is the first Israeli to sign with an MLB team.   He was drafted by the San Diego Padres in the 38th round of the 2015 Major League Baseball Draft.  He chose not to sign. He was drafted again–by the Los Angeles Dodgers–in the 14th round of the 2016 Major League Baseball draft.

Kremer previously pitched for the Team USA baseball team in the 2013 Maccabiah Games in Israel, where the team won the gold medal.  In 2014 and 2015, Kremer pitched for Israel in the qualifying for the European Baseball Championship, where he received the Most Valuable Pitcher award. He also pitched in September 2016 in the qualifier for Israel at the 2017 World Baseball Classic.

We are excited to watch Dean Kremer continue to accomplish great things—both in the MLB and for Israel.  Fellow Californian and Team Israel teammate, Ryan Lavarnway, proudly wears double chai (#36) for the Florida Marlins, where the 33-year-old has served as backup catcher and had 4 hits in 11 at bats.  Lavarnway was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in 2008, and has played for several major league teams, with a career .215 average in 419 at bats. (see my 2019  Jerusalem Post article about Ryan!

Go Dean and Ryan!

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