Orioles pitching prospect Dean Kremer, a right-hander with the Double-A Bowie Baysox, has a background that is quite rare to find in a professional baseball player.
Kremer, who holds U.S.-Israeli dual citizenship, was the first Israeli to ever be selected in the MLB Draft when he was picked by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2016. Both of Kremer's parents are Israeli, though Kremer was born and raised in California. He pitched for Team Israel during the 2017 World Baseball Classic, and his goal is to put Israel on the map in the baseball world.
Since being traded to the Orioles last year, Kremer has been embraced by the Jewish community of Baltimore.
"It means the world. They have welcomed me with open arms," Kremer said on
Glenn Clark Radio
May 24. "I'll get texts, emails or messages on social media saying, 'Hey, we're having Shabbat dinner, would you like to come over,' and stuff like that. It's funny and I really appreciate the support."
He's yet to take up any of the Shabbat dinner offers because he has games pretty much every Friday night. Though he taught some of his teammates a few phrases in Hebrew, his teammates are often confused when they hear him speak Hebrew in the clubhouse.
"I speak Hebrew to my parents on the phone all the time and I always get funny looks [from teammates]," Kremer said. "Like, what are you saying?"
Right before the start of spring training this season, Kremer strained his oblique, forcing him to miss most of camp and six starts to open the season. After the injury, he was shut down from doing any sort of workouts for three to four weeks and then began rehab at the team's facility in Florida.
Kremer noted that injuring an oblique is a very serious injury due to the fact that the injury can reoccur if not properly taken care of from the start. Kremer was grateful for the care he received from the Orioles' training staff and hopes to never have to deal with this sort of injury again.
"Any time you get to miss part of the season you're pressing to get back and you're anxious," Kremer said. "As time went on, I realized it's a long season and we play 140 games. In all, I missed six starts, which is not that big of a deal. It is just something you have to be patient with."
Acquired in the Manny Machado trade last July, Kremer was rated the Orioles' ninth-best prospect in MLB Pipeline's preseason rankings from February. During the 2018 season, Kremer led the entire minor leagues in strikeouts with 178. Playing in High-A and Double-A, Kremer posted a 10-5 record with a 2.88 ERA.
Kremer made two rehab starts with High-A Frederick and is now back with Bowie. He has a 6.89 ERA in three starts for the Baysox as he works his way back into form.
"I'm happy to be back," Kremer said, "and it can only go up from here."
For more from Kremer, listen to the full interview here:
Photo Credit: William Vaughan/Bowie Baysox