Anyone who follows me on Twitter (@Kool_A1D_Jammer) knows that I’m a proud Stanser, or Hanser Alberto stan. Trust me, he’s one of my favorite Orioles since the rebuild began, I hope he sticks around for a while, at least in the MLB if not on the O’s.
That being said, you might be surprised to know that my favorite player in the organization actually isn’t Alberto, and isn’t even on the big league squad. Instead, it’s a minor league arm that Dan Duquette acquired at last year’s deadline: Dean Kremer.
For me, other than DL Hall and Grayson Rodriguez, Kremer is the Orioles’ best bet for solid pitching currently in the system. While many pundits have him pegged as a back-end starter, I could see him being a #3 on a good team, which hopefully, Baltimore will be by the time numbers 1 and 2 are ready.
I’ve tried staying away from writing about Kremer too much because I worried about bias, but after a 10-strikeout performance in his last start, I simply can’t resist a Dean-themed Hot Take Tuesday.
This week, I’m finally going there: Dean Kremer will be the best player the Orioles acquired at the 2018 Trade Deadline.
This isn’t necessarily a shock, as Kremer is the 2nd-best prospect Duquette brought in to kickstart the rebuild, but I honestly feel that he will be the most influential player by a long shot.
Often in the takes I put out, I find that my argument is more supported by what the other player(s) isn’t able to do or bring to the table. This week, however, I find that my opinion is completely built upon what I feel Kremer can be for the O’s, not any other reason.
As I mentioned before, I feel that Kremer will be a #3 starter on a legitimate playoff team when he’s cemented in the MLB, while having the potential to be a top-end starter for .500 or worse teams.
At the same time, I do still believe that the other main prospect the O’s traded for, Yusniel Diaz, will be a regular contributor and a significant part of Baltimore’s future.
Unfortunately, though he is believed by many to be a future All Star, I haven’t seen enough from him to gather those sorts of expectations.
Diaz has hit for decent power this year, mashing 10 home runs at Bowie, but many of those came in a hot streak following a return from injury, and a great deal of the time he actually appears somewhat overwhelmed.
On top of that, the main concern I have about Diaz is his health. He’s had a tough time since arriving from the Dodgers’ system, and if things aren’t sorted out, the Orioles are at risk of having a bust on their hands.
Now, I’m not going to forecast an injury-riddled career –that’d just be stupid – so in no way is that really factoring into my belief here. Honestly, I just think it’s something to keep an eye on.
And, while I see Diaz as an unlikely All Star at this point, I think Kremer has a more likely potential to be one over the course of his career. Allow me to explain.
Even though Kremer was drafted at 20 years old out of junior college, his arsenal was nowhere near as polished as many others you’d see at the time, as he didn’t dedicate all of his focus to pitching until he graduated high school.
As a result, he was a 38th round pick of the Padres, a relatively uninspiring prospect. Despite this, he has fulfilled some of the potential he did have as an undeveloped arm, moving up the ranks throughout his minor league career before establishing himself as a real player to consider as an MLB arm.
Even at age 23, Kremer has room to continue growing, as his ability to throw strikes with his entire repertoire and mix a strong mid-90s fastball with a plus curveball has allowed him to become a menacing strikeout pitcher.
Considering the Elias/Mejdal focus on spin rate and strikeout ratios, Kremer is a perfect fit in this system. That alone should help him flourish, but his profile in MLB Pipeline suggests the potential doesn’t stop with those two pitches. Instead, writers believe Kremer could turn either his slider or changeup into a third effective pitch, if not both.
If – and hopefully when — that happens, look out. He’ll be a problem.