Orioles' Hyde explains Kremer's option to the alternate site - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Orioles’ Hyde explains Kremer’s option to the alternate site

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

The most surprising Oriole news this weekend wasn’t that the team won its second series of the season after losing six of seven at home. Nor was it that they’re 6-3 on the road and that they were a run away from a .500 record after 16 games.

No, it was that starter Dean Kremer was optioned to the alternate training site at Double-A Bowie after pitching well in Saturday night’s win over the Texas Rangers.

Kremer, a 25-year-old right-hander, allowed a run on five hits in 4 2/3 innings. He struck out six and walked only one. It was his best start of the three he has made.

After the Orioles scored six runs in the final three innings for a 6-1 victory over the Texas Rangers on Saturday night, the team announced the move for Kremer, which brought an angry response from fans because there was no immediate explanation.

The Orioles had telegraphed the move before the season began by placing Kremer in the fifth spot in the rotation.

“Dean’s the youngest of the group, and so we’re going to give him the least amount of innings,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said then.

Kremer threw just 18 2/3 innings last season in four September starts, three of which were impressive and a sign of the promise he brings.

“We’re going to go with four starters in this stretch, this unique stretch, which we’re going to have two offdays in a week,” Hyde explained on Sunday. “Hopefully, it’s just a short amount of time and we get Dean back into the rotation. That’s how we explained it to him.

“He was a pro and took it well and knows that we think very highly of him. He’s going to make a lot of starts for us the rest of the year.”

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The Orioles are off Monday and Thursday this week and won’t need a fifth starter again until April 28, which is the day Kremer is eligible to be recalled from the alternate site.

Cole Sulser, who had been with the taxi squad, was recalled for Sunday’s game, but didn’t pitch in the 1-0, 10-inning loss that gave the Orioles a 7-9 record.

This time, Hyde didn’t say that the team is trying to conserve Kremer’s innings. If there is a proscribed limit, the Orioles aren’t sharing it, but they want him to try to get as deep into the season as he can before he reaches it.

“I think it’s league-wide, the uncertainty about pitching with the six-month season after last year,” Hyde said.

Workloads were vastly reduced in the 60-game 2020 season because of the pandemic. Alex Cobb’s 52 1/3 innings were the most thrown by an Oriole. Executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias acknowledged the uncertainty around the game about how many innings could be thrown.

Major League Baseball addressed the issue by eliminating its 13-pitcher limit on the 26-man roster. The Orioles decided to go with 14 pitchers because of the potential stress on pitchers.

“We’re going to try to take care of every pitcher that we have on the roster,” Hyde said. “That’s why now, honestly, a bullpen arm is big. A lot of these guys have a lot of appearances.

“Because it’s a six-month season, sometimes you can get shortsighted into trying to win all these games early, which you want to, but we’ve got to try to take care of our arms as well, not knowing what’s going to happen the second half with the different workload than last year.”

Even though the reasoning is different, conserving innings and adding a bullpen arm during a stretch that includes offdays isn’t new. During Dan Duquette’s time as general manager, he optioned Kevin Gausman to Triple-A Norfolk several times.

“I think in this particular case it makes sense to have a four-man rotation with two days off,” Hyde said. “And Dean just be pushed back a little bit. We’ve had to juggle bullpen and roster moves [in 2019] because we’d be short a lot in the ‘pen, and it was survival mode.

“Every team handles it differently. If you look league-wide, there’s a lot of pitching transactions because of this unique season coming from last season.”

In June 2015, Duquette also optioned Wei-Yin Chen to High-A Frederick to limit his workload, a move that annoyed the Taiwanese left-hander. Duquette would regularly send pitchers to the minors around the All-Star break to either rest them or give them a needed start during the four-day break.

This week, the Orioles play at Miami on Tuesday and Wednesday with Matt Harvey and Bruce Zimmermann set to start.

“We have these unique two days off in a week,” Hyde said. “We don’t usually have that, so we have to be creative in our rotation as well as adding a bullpen arm.”

Hyde was happy with how Kremer pitched on Saturday night.

“I hope that he can build off that,” Hyde said. “I’d just like him to continue to get major league experience and continue to work on command. It’s not about his stuff. It’s about being able to work ahead in the count, not make mistakes in bad spots, things that you learn as you’re up here.

“Just continue to do what he’s doing. [Saturday] night was a big step, and he’s going to make a lot more starts for us the rest of the season.”

Welcome, Todd Karpovich: Readers have noted that in the past few days, a new name has appeared on the site. Todd Karpovich, a longtime Baltimore sportswriter, will cover a few Oriole games each month for us. He’ll write Tuesday night’s game.

Two weeks from now, Todd will begin his season-long minor league coverage for us. Minor League Monday will feature news from the minor leagues, and we’re delighted to add Todd to BaltimoreBaseball.com.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

30 Comments

30 Comments

  1. CalsPals

    April 19, 2021 at 7:36 am

    Welcome aboard Todd…go O’s…

  2. Hallbe62

    April 19, 2021 at 9:20 am

    Or “Tood” from our 4th graders vocabulary in yesterday’s comments.

  3. BarstoolSleeper

    April 19, 2021 at 10:26 am

    I see both sides to the Kremer debate. You send him down after his best outing so you “mess with his confidence”.
    You want to limit innings (innings limits are a whole other debate for another day) so you’ve decided to skip him in the rotation with off days anyway. So if he stays, he sits and maybe throws side bullpen sessions to stay sharp. Or he goes to the alternate site for 10 days and gets to throw to live batters and actually work on some things.
    We’ve all got opinions on what to do but ultimately none of it is our call so let it play out and see what happens. Maybe he comes back from Bowie and one of his secondary pitches are a little bit sharper. Or maybe he comes back and gets shelled. Time will tell.

  4. willmiranda

    April 19, 2021 at 11:00 am

    The logic escapes me. We are in a totally unique situation, so we’ll do what we’ve always done and what everybody else is doing. Kremer may be the youngest, but he’s a full-grown 25 years old, not 15, like Joe Nuxhall. But they are consistent with the motivational technique: punish the good, reward the bad. I am glad to see the continuity between the Duquette and Elias regimes highlighted.

    • BarstoolSleeper

      April 19, 2021 at 11:24 am

      With a WHIP of 1.88 and an ERA of 6.75, is that really punishing the good? Am I missing something?

      • willmiranda

        April 19, 2021 at 2:12 pm

        Yes, you’re missing that he was sent down after his best start rather than after one of those that swelled his stats. To work, sticks and carrots have to be used immediately. I think that they expected him to be bad-to-fair; when he wasn’t, they still yanked him early as planned and then sent him down. There was no Plan B in case of success.

    • ClayDal

      April 19, 2021 at 11:38 am

      The Orioles made Kremer their 5th starter this year to monitor his innings. Was looking at his game logs in Baseball Reference and was struck by how many pitches he threw just to get through 5 innings. Twice last year, he threw over 90 pitches and only went 5 innings. By contrast, Bruce Zimmerman only needed 73 pitches to pitch 6 innings in his first start. Notice that Zimmerman is your #3 starter and the Orioles haven’t said anything about his innings. Since he is more pitch efficient. So whenever they can skip Kremer’s spot in the rotation, they will do it. And as Ben McDonald has pointed out, with a 162 instead of a 60 game season this year, pitchers are going to have to cover more innings. So you can’t take a young pitcher who threw 25 innings last year and expect them to throw 180. Some might call it coddling, but it beats blowing their arms out at an early age

  5. Balt mp

    April 19, 2021 at 11:01 am

    I get the roster move . I don’t get removing him after 42/3 he had a man on and 2 out he should have at least gone 5 .

    Yesterday’s game once again demonstrated Hyde’s lack of acumen with the bullpen . Lakins was shakey at best where was Tanner Scott or Leblanc to match up . Lakins was behind every hitter got lucky with the second out got behind 3-1 and gave it up . Either Hyde or Freddie Gonzalez whichever one is calling the shots is not great in tight games .

    • CalsPals

      April 19, 2021 at 11:12 am

      Totally agree…:)…go O’s…

    • CalsPals

      April 19, 2021 at 5:14 pm

      Funny, I caught all kinds of grief when I said that, can’t help but notice the mouth of the south said nothing when you said it…again makes perfect sense…go O’s…

    • Bhoffman1

      April 19, 2021 at 5:34 pm

      Agree, agree

  6. jimcarter

    April 19, 2021 at 11:40 am

    6.75, enough said. I’ll always long for the good, old days when 11 pitchers were enough and any ERA over 3.99 was unacceptable. MLB has made one positive change – cutting back on the minors. The talent pool is far too shallow.

    • CalsPals

      April 19, 2021 at 11:53 am

      Agree, blows my mind that Harvey’s last couple yrs have been atrocious & somehow acceptable…5.00 is the new 3.99…go O’s…

    • ClayDal

      April 19, 2021 at 12:06 pm

      You mention the days of 11 pitchers. In 1979, the Orioles used 12 pitchers the entire year. 1 of them pitched 2.2 innings, the other 1. So pretty much 10 pitchers to get through the entire season. The Orioles used 13 pitchers in their first 4 games. Different era

      • Birdman

        April 19, 2021 at 12:37 pm

        Not the only change since 1979, when the average MLB game lasted 2 hours 35 minutes … by 2019, the average time had increased to 3 hours 10 minutes.

    • dlgruber1

      April 19, 2021 at 12:56 pm

      CP, you’re not too far off on 5.00 being the new 3.99. A quality start is now defined as 6 IP and 3 runs allowed. That’s an ERA of 4.50. No self respecting pitcher back in the day would’ve ever thought that was good, and more importantly, would’ve most likely had to take a pay cut the next season-if he made the club.

    • Icterus fan

      April 19, 2021 at 2:43 pm

      Its good to see the varied assessments of this club from some knowledgeable enthusiasts.

      While we are enjoying all the trench warfare lobbing stats back and forth, I’ll say that we are about where I thought we would be. I know it’s very early, but I didn’t think we would be .500 this year.

      Hopefully we don’t blow out any arms, because they will be throwing a ton of innings this year, at least compared to last.

      I think offensively we have some weapons. Defensively there are many concerns.

      Be good (really good) to see Hays back and hopefully he can play a few weeks without an injury.

  7. dlgruber1

    April 19, 2021 at 3:02 pm

    I’m throwing this out there to Rich, Todd, any of this sites readers. Has there been any word on how Kjerstad is doing?

    • Icterus fan

      April 19, 2021 at 3:07 pm

      Also how is Rylan Bannon doing? And since there is constant chatter about Severino and Cisco, did Martin Cervenka get released? That’s a kid with a unique story.

    • Rich Dubroff

      April 19, 2021 at 4:04 pm

      Dave, there is nothing new on Kjerstad.

    • Rich Dubroff

      April 19, 2021 at 4:08 pm

      Icterus, Rylan Bannon went 1-for-3 in Friday’s game at Fredericksburg, Va. against the Nationals’ alternate site players.

      Martin Cervenka declared for minor league free agency and is with the New York Mets organization.

    • Icterus fan

      April 19, 2021 at 4:11 pm

      Thanks for the updates, Rich.

    • dlgruber1

      April 19, 2021 at 4:54 pm

      Rich, thanks for update on Kjerstad. I gotta ask tho, was this Myocarditis something that went undiagnosed until after they drafted him? I’d have to think teams would want a full medical history of someone who is gonna be one of the top 5 picks in a draft.

    • Rich Dubroff

      April 19, 2021 at 5:59 pm

      I don’t know, but full medicals are done on all prospective draftees.

  8. NormOs

    April 19, 2021 at 4:07 pm

    And a guy with an 8.85 ERA is still in the rotation. Must be Genius1’s brother-in-law. Who goes next? Probably Means.
    You know, Tanking is Tanking.

    • CalsPals

      April 19, 2021 at 4:20 pm

      Agree, I would’ve put Kremer on for Lopez & have Lopez available out of the pen for long relief…go O’s…

    • Birdman

      April 19, 2021 at 8:12 pm

      Kremer has, by far, the worst WHIP (1.88) (14 hits and 6 walks in 10.2 innings) of any of the five starters … dropping him from the rotation for 10 days is hardly “tanking”

      • willmiranda

        April 19, 2021 at 9:29 pm

        I’m not sure stats are dispositive this early in the season. I think the rising or falling of the performance is more important. In Kremer’s case, he was clearly on the upswing. I don’t charge tanking, but sending him down seems counterproductive to me. There’s a lot of wasted motion, energy, and momentum with moves that are pointless. Keeping him with the team, even if he skipped a start, would have had had no downside and would have provided some stability and continuity for the team.

    • Bhoffman1

      April 19, 2021 at 11:10 pm

      Agree with you , Mr Gausman threw 6 shutout innings for the Giants tonight in a win. He was shuttled back and forth to Norfolk by Bucky and Dan and I know it hurt his confidence

  9. Eastern Sho Joe

    April 20, 2021 at 5:23 am

    I see a lot of people posting that I haven’t seen in a while and some who are new to me. I just want to say I’m really enjoying reading the comments as of late. A lot of stuff backed by stats and comparisons. Good stuff.

    As for Kremer, I think this may help him and give him time to work on his curve, etc. I also agree with the timing. Being sent down after poor performance may seem there’s a lack of confidence in him. Doing it after a good show implies to me that there’s a purpose for it and doing it when he won’t miss his rotation spot is good strategy.

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