Dean Kremer, a former standout at Stockton’s Lincoln High School and the first Israeli citizen to be drafted into the MLB, sparkled in his debut big-league pitching performance on Sunday, striking out seven New York Yankees en route to a 5-1 win for the Baltimore Orioles.
In 2015 Kremer became the first Israeli citizen to be selected in the MLB draft when the San Diego Padres chose him in the 38th round (he elected to play for the University of Nevada, Las Vegas that year instead). Kremer’s parents are both Israeli-born and the family speaks Hebrew at home, Kremer told the Jewish Baseball News. His father Adi Kremer played tennis at D-I University of the Pacific in Stockton, where he later coached.
Kremer, who was born and raised in Stockton, travels to Israel “basically every summer,” he told the JBN, and celebrated his bar mitzvah there.
Now 24, Kremer is one of the top prospects in the Baltimore Orioles organization, with a fastball that tops out at 95 mph.
According to the Baltimore Sun, Kremer received a phone call Saturday night calling him up from the team’s minor league affiliate, and was told he would be starting for the Orioles the next day.
“I like the way he threw in spring training. I like his stuff,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde told the Sun . “I’m excited to hand the ball to him to make his debut. It’s a day he’ll never forget, and a special day for him. I want him to have fun and enjoy it.”
Kremer didn’t waste the opportunity, using an arsenal of fastballs, curveballs and sliders to stymie the powerful Yankees offense over six innings, holding them to just one hit. He called his debut “a dream come true” and credited his success with “making sure that I stay[ed] aggressive, and not try to tinker around the zone, but just attack hitters,” according to the Sun.
Since 2014 Kremer has made a number of appearances for the Israel national baseball team, including at the 2017 World Baseball Classic.
The Orioles acquired Kremer in 2018 from the Los Angeles Dodgers in a trade that sent All-Star third baseman Manny Machado to L.A