Kremer's goal entering '24: join 200-inning club

February 28th, 2024

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Only five pitchers in baseball reached the 200-inning mark in 2023. is hoping to add his name to that list in 2024.

The right-hander ranked second on the Orioles with 172.2 innings pitched last season, a figure he knows could have been higher if not for his April performance, which saw him average fewer than five innings per start while posting a 6.67 ERA in six outings.

“The first month for me last year was kind of rough,” Kremer said. “After that, I kind of dropped it, flushed it and continued on.”

Kremer averaged nearly six innings per start over his next 21 outings between May 5 and August 29, pitching to a 3.59 ERA during that stretch. The Orioles won 17 of those 21 games.

“I'm trying to eat as many innings as I can,” Kremer said. “The goal is 200; that's the kind of the benchmark for starters who are healthy the whole year. That's the goal, to try to do that repeatedly year after year.”

Growing up in Northern California, Kremer watched Madison Bumgarner rip off six consecutive 200-inning campaigns from 2011-16, a run that stuck with him as he began his own journey to the Majors.

“He was the workhorse,” Kremer said. “He did not like giving up the ball.”

Kremer can relate, recalling a number of outings -- the majority of them, actually -- when he felt he had something left in the tank when he was lifted.

“Very, very, very, very, very rarely are you out there and you're like, ‘OK, I think I'm done,’” he said. “For the most part, we all think, ‘Give me one more batter.’”

How rare has a 200-inning season become? Kremer started rattling off the names of the pitchers who have accomplished the feat in recent years, and he was able to get most of them without much effort.

“It's not as common with where the game is going just because of the analytics and guys as a whole having a velocity increase, which is harder to sustain that for longer,” Kremer said. “There's only a few guys that do that year in and year out, but every starter will tell you, ‘I want 200 innings.’ I want to know what that's, like getting to 200, because it's not common anymore.”

Kremer admitted that he has probably “said a handful of things” over the years to Brandon Hyde, trying to talk his manager into leaving him in a game.

“He definitely wants to stay in the game as long as possible,” a smiling Hyde said.

Hyde might not be convinced on every occasion, but the manager views Kremer as a pitcher capable of delivering a big workload for his team.

“He's still young, but I think he's definitely that guy in his future,” Hyde said. “Hopefully it's this year. That's a guy that's going to give you a lot of innings on the mound, keeps himself in great shape and wants to be out there. I think he's going to be a workhorse down the road.”

Kremer made his first start of the spring Wednesday, allowing one run on two hits and a walk in his two innings of work in a 12-3 win over the Twins. All of the damage came in the first inning after Minnesota loaded the bases to open the game, but Kremer limited the damage to just a Christian Vázquez sacrifice fly, then sat the Twins down in order in the second to close his outing.

“It was a quick start there; two pitches and then a walk,” Kremer said. “It happened pretty quickly; I didn't get my feet under me yet. It is what it is; they're feeling it out, I'm feeling it out, it was the first time against real competition, juices are flowing a little bit more than normal.”

With Kyle Bradish working his way back from an elbow injury and John Means lagging behind the rest of the staff as he continues to work his elbow into shape, it will be crucial for Corbin Burnes, Kremer and Grayson Rodriguez to help stabilize the rotation in the early weeks of the season.

“We need all those guys to get off to good starts, because we're missing Kyle and Means for a little while,” Hyde said. “Hopefully the other guys can pick up the pieces."

Although Kremer has set a season-long goal of 200 innings, his spring approach is far simpler.

“Getting outs and feeling good,” Kremer said. “That's basically what I'm shooting for.”