Dean Kremer showed up in spring training with a strained oblique and never made it on a mound while down in Florida for six weeks. Therefore, the Orioles had to wait a while before they were truly able to begin evaluation Kremer and envisioning how soon he could become a consideration for their rotation.
Kremer, 23, has since put his health issues behind him and the future once again seems bright for a pitcher who last summer led the minors in strikeouts.
Absent for the first month of the season, Kremer needed only two starts with high Class A Frederick before deemed ready to return to Double-A Bowie. He made two starts for the Keys, tossed 9.2 scoreless innings and left the Carolina League. Presumably for good.
Now just one of the components of a dominant Bowie rotation, Kremer has gone 6-4, 3.34 with a 1.23 WHIP in 11 starts. He’s walked 17 and struck out 60 batters in 62 innings, including a dominant July 18 start against Altoona, when he tossed seven scoreless innings registering one walk and eight strikeouts.
“He’s just now rounding into form,” Bowie pitching coach Kennie Steenstra said. “Curveball has really come along, and I think that was the pitch that was eluding him early on to get the feel for that. He’s been really good here lately, and we’re working to get him back to where he was last year. He’s still a little shy, location-wise.”
The Orioles are hoping for a big return on their Manny Machado trade with the Dodgers last July, and Kremer is just one aspect of that return package. Outfielder Yusniel Diaz currently ranks as the Orioles’ No. 4 prospect, and reliever Zach Pop allowed just one run and struck out 11 batters in 10.2 innings with Bowie before undergoing Tommy John surgery in May.
Kremer is trying to beat both of them to the majors, but it’s a task prolonged by the Orioles choosing development in the minors over perhaps rushing a prospect and tossing him into the deep end of the pool. Plus, Kremer’s aforementioned oblique strain also provided a good reason to move him along slowly, and he’s still working to get a feel for all of his pitches on a consistent basis.
“He got off to a slow start with the injury,” said Bowie manager Buck Britton, older brother of Yankees reliever Zack Britton. “He’s got a swing-and-miss breaking ball. Because he was slow to start, right now it’s a little inconsistent. But you can see at times a swing-and-miss breaking ball. He knows how to pitch with that breaking ball.”
— Double-A Bowie righthander Michael Baumann threw a no-hitter on July 16 against Harrisburg, walking just two batters and striking out 10. The 2017 third-round pick needed only 95 pitches to produce the third nine-inning no-hitter in Baysox history, and the first since Radhames Liz on June 1, 2007.
— The Orioles promoted 2013 first-round pick Hunter Harvey from Bowie to Triple-A Norfolk for his first stint in the International League on June 29. Harvey, whose career has be slowed by numerous injuries and a Tommy John surgery, transitioned to the bullpen at Bowie, where he tossed nine scoreless innings, and he continues to work in a relief role with the Tides.