Dean Kremer became the first Israeli citizen to be picked in Major League Baseball’s First-Year Player draft last week, when the San Diego Padres picked him in the 38th round.
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“I am very excited and proud to be the first Israeli to be drafted,” said Kremer (6ft 2in, 185lbs), who was the No. 1,137 pick. “It has always been one of my dreams. I hope this is only the beginning for more Israelis to be drafted,” he said. Kremer is among the 15 Jewish players drafted this year.
One of the stars of last year’s Israeli men’s national baseball team, Kremer currently pitches for Delta College in California and will be their number one starter this spring. The University of Nevada Las Vegas recently awarded the Stockton, California, native a scholarship to play there, starting this fall.
“I chose to continue with school for this upcoming year at the University of Las Vegas,” said Kremer, whose parents were born and raised in Israel. “This gives me an opportunity to pursue my degree and continue to develop as a pitcher at a higher level.
“Israel has always felt like home to me,” the 19-year-old added.
Kremer said that playing for the national team, which won the ‘C’ Pool in Croatia last summer, is “way more special” than playing in the United States. “Getting the honor of pitching the semifinals, to advance us to the ‘B’ pool, and getting the pitcher of the tournament were my favorite memories,” he said.
Playing for the senior national team also gives him a chance to reconnect with his Israeli roots, according to the teen.
“Being able to play baseball and speak Hebrew at the same time is very special to me, because I have never been able to do that. Plus, international baseball is way more significant because every game means so much more,” he said. “Every game affects the world rankings, and just thinking about that makes me want to play and get better.”