Are Orioles pitcher Dean Kremer’s goals for 2024 realistic (or even a good idea)?

Dean Kremer has lofty expectations for the upcoming season.

Baltimore Orioles pitcher Dean Kremer
Baltimore Orioles pitcher Dean Kremer / Brandon Sloter/GettyImages
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Dean Kremer has some admirable goals for the upcoming season. The Baltimore Orioles right-hander was to be an innings-eater in 2024. "The goal is 200; that's the kind of the benchmark for starters who are healthy the whole year," Kremer told MLB.com's Mark Feinsand.

Only five pitchers accomplished that feat in 2023. Logan Webb, Zac Gallen, Gerrit Cole, Miles Mikolas, and Chris Bassitt all eclipsed 200 innings pitched. Aside from Mikolas, that list includes some of the best starting pitchers in the game.

But is it a wise move on the part of Kremer to set his sights that high? Recent history suggests that wear and tear of that nature is not a pitcher's best friend. Just ask Sandy Alcantara.

Are Orioles pitcher Dean Kremer’s goals for 2024 realistic or even a good idea?

In 2022, Alcantara threw a major league best 228.2 innings. The Miami Marlins ace only made it to 184.2 innings in 2023 after experiencing forearm tightness in late September. Alcantara underwent Tommy John surgery in October, and isn't expected to return to the mound until 2025.

Shane Bieber hit the 200-inning mark in 2022 as well. The former Cy Young Award winner, who was a trade candidate for the Orioles earlier this offseason, made only 21 starts in 2023 after suffering an elbow injury midway through the season that required the Cleveland Guardians to place him on the 60-day IL from July through September. It's a good bet that the major reason why Bieber is still in Cleveland is due to other teams being unwilling to take on a pitcher with that type of injury risk.

Jacob deGrom, Patrick Corbin, Stephen Strasburg, Justin Verlander, and Walker Buehler are all recent examples of pitchers who, within the last five seasons, have thrown 200 innings or more before undergoing Tommy John or another major surgery.

Orioles fans are used to seeing Mike Mussina and Jim Palmer log 200-plus IP with ease

The idea of removing a pitcher from a game in the fifth inning, or before he faces the lineup for a third time, certainly doesn't sit well with some of the Orioles' fanbase. Fans in Baltimore are used to seeing pitchers like three-time Cy Young Award winner Jim Palmer throw over 300 innings in a season and go all nine innings routinely. Hall of Famer Mike Mussina spent 10 seasons in Baltimore and never once pitched fewer than 150 innings in a full season.

But guys like Mussina were topping out at 95 mph on their four seamer, whereas today's pitchers average 95-plus and can touch triple-digits with regularity. There's just more stress on pitchers' arms than ever before, and that's not even taking into consideration the effects of the pitch clock. Injuries are part of the game, but teams are looking to mitigate the severity as much as possible.

No one is going to complain if Kremer eclipses 200 innings pitched. It's a great goal, and likely means that he's survived the entire season without landing on the IL. Kremer logged over 170 innings last season, so his aspirations for the upcoming season aren't overly ambitious, but they don't come without risk.

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