Israel’s first Major League Baseball player wins in debut

The right-hander struck out seven in his MLB debut.

By Joseph Wolkin, World Israel News

Dean Kremer, the first Israeli baseball player to be drafted into the Major League, won his first game, beating the New York Yankees on Sunday.

The right-handed Kremer was just called up for the Baltimore. MLB writer Joe Trezza says Baltimore “watched their No. 10 prospect enjoy as effective a Major League debut as any Baltimore starter in a half decade.”

“Striking out seven and retiring 12 consecutive batters at one point, Kremer fired six strong frames in the O’s 5-1 victory over the reeling Yankees at Oriole Park,” Trezza writes.

“I like the way he threw in spring training,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said prior to Sunday’s game.

“I like his stuff. I like the pitch mix that he has, he’s got a starter arsenal with four pitches. Knows how to pitch and strike people out, I like the off-speed stuff. 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.”

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Kremer was born in California, but he lives in Israel for two months each year, holding dual citizenship.

Five years ago, Kremer became the first Israeli to ever be selected in the MLB Draft, which was in 2015. But he went to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas prior to re-enlisting in the draft, being selected in the 14th round of the 2016 MLB Draft by the Los Angeles Dodgers.

After two years of service in the Dodgers’ minor league system, he was traded to the Orioles. In four years of minor league pitching, Kremer’s 3.61 ERA led him to a 22-16 record. He allowed 27 home runs in more than 356 innings pitched.

Kremer started his Orioles tenure in Double-A ball, which is two levels below the MLB. In 2019, he made a name for himself by making a combined 21 starts in Double-A and Triple-A. He had 9.7 strikeouts per nine innings, as well as a respectable 113.2 innings pitched.

Kremer has played for Team Israel in international competition in the past.

Kremer’s first day as a MLB player was also meaningful in that it came on the 48th anniversary of the Munich massacre in which Palestinian terrorists kidnapped and murdered 11 Israeli athletes on the Olympic stage. Forty-eight years later, Israel continues to utilize sports as a way to normalize relations with other nations.

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