In recent weeks, more than two years into their complete organizational rebuild, the first true wave of Orioles prospects began arriving in Baltimore. Ryan Mountcastle came up Aug. 21, and he hasn't stopped hitting since his arrival. Keegan Akin has joined the rotation, and in his second career start Saturday,
In recent weeks, more than two years into their complete organizational rebuild, the first true wave of Orioles prospects began arriving in Baltimore. Ryan Mountcastle came up Aug. 21, and he hasn't stopped hitting since his arrival. Keegan Akin has joined the rotation, and in his second career start Saturday, he outpitched Gerrit Cole. These are snippets, sure, of a long-term plan Baltimore knows isn't near complete. But with each one, glimpses of what could be a bright future of O's baseball have been plain to see.
The latest example came Sunday, when the Orioles promoted right-hander Dean Kremer from their alternate training site and 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. He was backed by another DJ Stewart homer and RBIs from Mountcastle and two others as the Orioles claimed their third straight win against the Yanks. They'd dropped their last 19 previous to New York.
• Box score
"It's fun to see the talent," manager Brandon Hyde said. "If you look around the field this series, you're seeing some youthful energy and talent. They played well this series, no doubt about it."
Kremer became the first O's starter to win his MLB debut since Josh Rogers on Aug. 28, 2018, and the first to strike out at least seven in his debut since John Parrish on July 24, 2000. By the advanced metric game score, Kremer's debut (70) was the best by a Baltimore starter since Mike Wright fired 7 1/3 shutout innings against Tampa Bay on May 17, 2015.
• 25 years later, another 1st pitch for Cal & son
Kremer is also the fourth Orioles starter to throw at least six innings of one-hit ball in his debut, and the first since Chris Waters in 2008. Kremer is the second pitcher in the Majors to do it this year, joining Braves righty Ian Anderson.
"I thought he did a tremendous job just keeping his composure out there," said catcher Bryan Holaday, who also drove in a run with a bases-loaded walk in the sixth. "He just attacked the strike zone and stuck to his strengths, and that's really all you can ask of him."
The first Isreali citizen to sign with a Major League club when he became a 14th-round Draft pick of the Dodgers in 2016, Kremer on Sunday became the first Isreali citizen to pitch in the Majors. He has starred internationally for Team Israel for years alongside former Orioles catcher Ryan Lavarnway, who obtained Isreali citizenship last winter and became the first to play in the Majors earlier this year. Kremer was born in California to Isreali parents and has visited annually since childhood. He conducted part of his postgame interview Sunday in Hebrew.
"It's awesome to be able to hold the torch, so to speak, for guys like me," Kremer said. "There is a list and it's growing every year. We're just showing the kids over there that it's possible."
Acquired as part of a five-player package for Manny Machado in the July 2018 deal that signaled the start of the Orioles' rebuild, Kremer may end up being the prize of that deal. The 24-year old climbed steadily through Baltimore's system since arriving, leading the Minor Leagues in strikeouts in 2018 and reaching Triple-A in '19. The O's had been eying late '20 as a potential debut target for Kremer since his strong performance in the Arizona Fall League last autumn. He now takes the rotation spot of Asher Wojciechowski, who has a 5.17 ERA and has struggled to pitch deep into games this season.
Kremer should be in line for three or four more starts over the season's final three weeks, which during a normal year, the O's would've probably expected to spend well out of contention. This is not a normal year, as Baltimore is within striking distance of a playoff spot. Fifteen of the Orioles' final 21 games will come against American League East opponents, meaning if they do make a surprise run, it'll be with newcomers like Kremer, Mountcastle and Co. leading the way.
"We're going to keep grinding," Hyde said. "This is fun to watch. Young guys making their debuts. Young guys gaining this experience and performing, and it sets up well for the future."
Joe Trezza covers the Orioles for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JoeTrezz.