Israel’s Kremer dominates Yankees in debut as pitcher for Orioles

Orioles pitcher, 24, becomes first blue-and-white draftee to reach baseball’s highest level.

DEAN KREMER (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Dean Kremer, the first Israeli to be drafted by a Major League Baseball team, made his debut on Sunday when the Baltimore Orioles called up the 24-year-old pitcher from the minors to start against the New York Yankees in a game that ended after press time.
The right-handed prospect made 15 starts last season with the Orioles’ Double-A affiliate, the Bowie Baysox, compiling a 2.98 ERA with 87 strikeouts in 84.2 innings before starring in the Arizona Fall League.
On Sunday, when Kremer took the mound in Baltimore, the Yankees’ TV broadcaster welcomed him with a hearty “Mazel Tov.” In the first inning, Kremer recorded two strikeouts and a pop fly for a perfect 1-2-3 opening frame against the vaunted Bronx Bombers. He maintained his composure and allowed only one run over six innings, with seven strike-outs and three walks, leading the team to a 5-1 win. He also achieved a coveted one-hitter game.
Born in California to Israeli parents Adi and Sigal, Kremer was drafted by the San Diego Padres in the 38th round of the 2015 MLB draft. He was the first Israeli to be selected in the draft, but he decided not to sign.
He was drafted again the following year by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 14th round and this time, did sign a contract.
Although Kremer is the first Israeli to be drafted and sign with a team, he is the second Israeli citizen – and first pitcher – to reach the majors. Ryan Lavarnway has played for the Miami Marlins this year as an Israeli. He was one of a group to obtain Israeli citizenship last winter to be eligible to suit up for Israel in Olympic qualification games.
In international competition, Kremer pitched for Team USA in the 2013 Maccabiah Games, winning a gold medal. He has pitched for Israel national teams five times since 2013, starting with the under-18 tournament in Cyprus and then in the 2014 and 2015 European Baseball Championship qualification campaign. He won the Most Valuable Pitcher award in both tournaments.
In September 2016, Kremer recorded the last out against Great Britain at the New York Mets’ Coney Island Stadium to advance the Israeli team to the next stages of the World Baseball Classic in Korea and Japan in 2017, where it finished sixth.
Kremer pitched for San Joaquin Delta College in his freshman year in 2014 and was named a Third Team All-American. He throws a fastball in the 92-95 mph range and has reached 97 mph (156 kph), as well as a slider, a curve ball, and a splitter.
He was traded from the Dodgers to the Orioles at the 2018 trade deadline in the Manny Machado deal and led all minor league pitchers in strikeouts that season with 178.
He speaks fluent Hebrew and had his bar mitzvah in Israel, while spending time every year in the Holy Land. On Sunday, Team Israel general manager Peter Kurz sent Kremer congratulations on his achievement and hopes to see him pitch for the blue-and-white at next year’s Olympics in Japan.