With the 2020 season more than half way over and another Top-5 pick very likely, the Baltimore Orioles have begun to bring up some of their more intriguing/top prospects in order to start seeing what they have in them and this time it was in the form of RHP Dean Kremer, who is ranked as the O’s #9 Prospect per Prospect Worldwide Rankings of the system.
Kremer was drafted by the Dodgers in 2016 out of UNLV in the 14th round and began his career as a reliever. As 2017 rolled on and beginning in 2018, the Dodgers began developing Kremer as a starter before ultimately trading him to Baltimore along with Yusniel Diaz, Zach Pop, Rylan Bannon and Breyvic Valera in exchange for Manny Machado. Kremer continued his breakout 2018 with the O’s and ultimately carried it over into 2019 where he then shined in the Arizona Fall League.
I’ve been quite the fan of Kremer for the last three years and I’ve thought he can be a very good #3 starter or even a #2 starter at the Major League level, higher than most project him to be over the course of his career which is a #4 starter, maybe a #3 starter. A lot of people have slept on him and yesterday, Kremer flashed that upside yesterday in his overall dominating of the Yankees which might have woken them up. Despite a few issues, Kremer introduced himself to the world not just as the first Israeli to make a Major League start and win but as a guy who has quite some good upside and deserves to be recognized.
The Line: 6.0, 1 ER, 1 R, 1 H, 7 K, 3 BB and an overall 28% CSW%
The Pitch Breakdown: 88 Total Pitches (47 for Strikes, 53%)
|Pitch:||Number/%||CSW%||Avg Velo||Max Velo||Spin Rate|
|4 Seam Fastball||35 (40%)||34%||94.1 mph||96.1 mph||2,356 RPM|
|Curveball||31 (35%)||16%||76.0 mph||79 mph||2,362 RPM|
|Cutter/Slider||12 (14%)||42%||87.3 mph||88.7 mph||2,422 RPM|
|Sinker||10 (11%)||30%||92.6 mph||93.7 mph||2,225 RPM|
Kremer is a five pitch pitcher consisting of a Fastball, Curveball, Cutter/Slider, a Sinker and a Changeup (he didn’t throw the Changeup at all in the outing yesterday). Yesterday his fastball sat around 94.1 mph with a spin rate of 2,356 RPM resulting in a 34% CSW% and for the most part looked very good all over the zone. The pitch has some really good movement to it as seen below in the four strikeouts Kremer got with it and along with the velocity, the movement helps play it up to be more than what it is as it had 13″ of Vertical Movement per Savant and 8.7″ of horizontal movement yesterday which lives up to it’s reputation as a potential plus pitch.
Kremer’s control/command of it, at times, was absolutely brilliant freezing hitters left and right in the zone as he painted fastballs all over the corners of the zone and when it didn’t freeze hitters, it would rise like it did to Luke Voit in the third as he swung through it barely tipping it into the catcher’s mit.
His fastball command did disappear some in the 2nd inning and later on in the outing (more on that later) which did result in two hard hit balls but neither were of any damage as one was a lineout and the other a ground ball. However when he was able to get it back, it allowed him to use his secondary pitches effectively and it showed when hitters would then freeze up on Kremer’s fastball clearly expecting something else.
Kremer’s best pitch is a plus Curveball that was yesterday sitting around 76 mph with a spin rate of 2,362 RPM that resulted in a 16% CSW%. While that CSW% might be much lower than what you would expect from a pitch that is being called his best pitch, it did look every bit the part in the 31 times he did throw it. He got Luke Voit early on back to back swing and miss Curveballs for the strikeout and seemed to have really good feel for it.
Then the 2nd inning came around and he lost his command/control of everything which resulted in him throwing a lot of Curveballs low and in the dirt out of the zone which I think allowed hitters to start sitting off it more and making him throw it in the zone so they can sit on it.
He rebounded in the 3rd and threw better Curveballs as the outing went on. It is really encouraging that despite all the missed Curveballs, there was only one hard hit ball off of it which was a 97.9 mph exit velocity groundball in the 4th inning. It’s also worth noting that the release point of his curveball was a few feet higher than his other three pitches so potentially hitters picked up on it and were able to lay off more easily as the game went onward hence the low CSW% for the game. Despite that, the outing still showed Kremer’s Curveball as his best secondary and provides a great 1-2 punch with the fastball.
Kremer’s next pitch is a Cutter/Slider variety pitch that sat around 87.3 mph with a spin rate of 2,422 RPM which resulted in a 42% CSW%. The reason I call it a Cutter/Slider is because there is some discrepancy in what it is. Savant called the pitch a true Cutter and the Broadcast/Kremer’s past pitch history has had it as a Slider. Regardless of what it is, Kremer used it very effectively of the 12 times he threw it.
Hitters had a hard time picking up the pitch as 4 of the 12 (33%) were called strikes in the zone with one (Frazier below) being swung on and missed for a strikeout. Only one was hit in play and it was not a hard hit ball which is a nice note of its effectiveness. Kremer’s Cutter/Slider had 4.7″ inches of Horizontal Movement which is also shown in the gif below and further allowed the pitch to play up. When Kremer’s control/command was on, he was painting it all over the strike zone just like his fastball and hitters seemingly could not tell the difference.
Moving forward as it improves, that could very well be a third plus pitch or an above average one which would allow hitters to continue to not sit on just the Fastball/Curveball duo. Ideally I’d like to see him mix it in a little more but it was very well used yesterday and kept Yankee hitters definitely at bay all game.
Kremer’s Sinker is a pitch he only threw 10 times in which it sat around 92.6 mph with a spin rate of 2,225 RPM resulting in a 30% CSW%. It was the only pitch of Kremer’s not to be put into play and was swung on and missed twice with another (the strikeout below to end the 2nd) was a called strike three.
Kremer threw it sparingly but when he did it was still effective as it sits just a tick below the fastball in velocity and seemed like it could be an average fourth pitch to keep hitters at bay and again off the main Fastball/Curveball combo.
Kremer’s control/command was a roller coaster of sorts throughout this game as he finished with 88 total pitches and only 47 for strikes which is 53% of his pitches. He showed great control/command of all his pitches in the first inning with pin point placements and getting two strikeouts.
Then the second inning rolled around and to say he struggled was an understatement as he threw a whopping 30 pitches in the inning in which only 12 were strikes. Not good at all to say the least but Kremer battled through it, walking two and allowing a hit which scored a run, and limited the damage to just that ending it with a huge called third strike on a great sinker. After that, he immediately bounced back to the guy he was in the first inning showing great command/control and painting pitches all over the strike zone throughout most of the rest of the game.
However in the 6th, he started losing his control/command again with a third walk of the day but battling back and getting Frazier to swing at a cutter/slider to end the outing on a great note.
I would like to see Kremer in the future not have those “2nd inning” types because eventually teams will take more advantage of that than the Yankees did yesterday but overall it was really encouraging to see the feel Kremer had for his pitches and locations most of the entire game.
Overall Dean Kremer became the first O’s pitcher since Chris Waters in 2008 to throw at least 6 innings of one hit baseball in his debut and was the second of 2020 to do it (Ian Anderson also did it vs the Yankees a few weeks ago). Kremer’s seven strikeouts are the most in an O’s debut since John Parrish struck out nine in 2000. Needless to say, the performance was overall really good. Like I mentioned above there are a few noteworthy things to look for moving forward but overall Kremer displayed upside higher than what most people give him credit for and I think it’s about time they give him that respect. I walked into this outing thinking #2 starter peak and #3 starter floor and I still very much believe that way moving forward with this outing the first step towards reaching that ceiling.