On Wednesday, the Baltimore Orioles and Los Angeles Dodgers swung a blockbuster trade for O’s All-Star shortstop Manny Machado. Machado’s contract is due to expire at the end of the season, and the Orioles have one of the worst records in baseball, so the team wisely cashed in on Machado’s trade value to bolster their farm system.
Of course, there is nothing new about a team like the Dodgers renting a superstar from an out-of-contention club. Far more interesting is who they sent over in return: Dean Kremer, the first Israeli ever drafted in Major League Baseball.
Kremer, the son of Israeli parents who has split time between California and Israel, was selected by Los Angeles in the 14th round of the 2016 draft. Since being promoted to AA this season, he has not given up a run in 7 innings pitched, while striking out 11. Before the promotion, he sported a 3.30 ERA in 79 innings pitched, with a gaudy 114 strikeouts. His breakout performance this year significantly raised his stock in the eyes of scouts, making him the second-ranked of the four prospects traded for Machado. The 22-year-old Kremer also participated in the 2017 World Baseball Classic, contributing to Team Israel’s remarkable underdog run.
The baseball analytics site Fangraphs, while cautious, sees Kremer as possessing the tools of a future major leaguer:
Dean Kremer has pretty narrow range of likely outcomes, ranging from back-end starter to middle reliever. He has a four-pitch mix led by a fastball in the 92-95 range that will touch 97 at times, as well as solid-average overhand curveball. His slider and changeup are both fringey right now, but if Kremer can improve the change and better locate his fastball to his arm side as a way to set it up, then he’ll be fine as a rotation piece. If not, he doesn’t have much recourse against left-handed hitters and would probably be relegated to the bullpen. There’s also a possibility Kremer’s breaking-ball usage and command improve to a point where he can attack lefties without the changeup, the way pitchers like Patrick Corbin, Nick Pivetta, and Robbie Ray. This is a less typical developmental path, but it is becoming more common.