2019 Level: AA/AAA
Pitches (current/future value)
Most Likely Future Role: Back of the Rotation starter/Swingman
Ceiling: Middle-Back end starter
What we know: The 23-year old righty hurt his oblique before spring training started and ended up starting the year on the IL. Finally got back on the mound in early May and made his debut with Bowie on May 21st. Struggled a bit at first while still getting over the rust, but eventually found success at Bowie where he held Eastern League batters to a .258/.317/.412/.729 slash. Was promoted to Norfolk for four starts late in the year and struggled with his fastball (sat 91-92, touched 93-94) getting barreled more often and batters were able to lay off the curveball more. In fact, that was a common theme in 2019 with his fastball not garnering the swing and miss it had the year before making him relying on his curveball for strikeouts more. His change up (too hard and firm) and slider (more like a cutter) are well below average offerings that will occasionally flash average, but they will need a major jump to be playable big league pitches. Some scouts have concerns that his curveball is too slow and can be soft at times, believing big league hitters will be able to differentiate the two. AAA hitters started to show that flaw so Kremer will need to improve across the board of he’s going to stick as a starter.
What we don’t know: Will advanced hitters be able to differentiate between his fastball and curveball because the curveball doesn’t always have that late sharp break? Will either his slider or change develop enough to give him that third pitch?
What we think: If Kremer can’t stay as a big league starter he should have enough stuff to be a solid middle or long reliever. The curveball can flash plus at times but it’snot always consistent and there is some thought that he could find more consistently and a little more velocity moving to the pen. He’ll start the year in Norfolk but he finds some success, he could find himself in Baltimore sometime in 2020.
Another Take: Coming off of a season in which he led the minors in strikeouts, Kremer was slowed by a oblique injury in spring training. When he did get into game action, his velocity was down a few ticks from last year. It took awhile, but the velocity came back and he looked a lot like the pitcher we saw in 2018. He uses plus extension, above average fastball command, and a big breaking slow curve to keep hitters off-balance. In a strong Arizona Fall League campaign he developed a new slider which has less drop than his old slider, but more horizontal action that distinguishes it from the curveball. An important development for a guy who hasn’t shown consistent changeup feel. The development helps the chances he sticks as a starter. (Luke Siler)