Saturday, September 2, 2017

Meet a Prospect Special Edition: Erik Kratz


With suspensions looming and being handed down to both of the Yankees catcher on the 40 man roster the New York Yankees added a catcher form the Cleveland Indians organization. His name is Erik Kratz and despite being 37-years old and ironic let’s Meet a Prospect: The Erik Kratz Special Edition.

Erik Floyd Kratz was born on Jun 15, 1980 and attended High School at Christopher Dock Mennonite High School in Lansdale, Pennsylvania. Kratz later went on to attend college at Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Virginia where the catcher caught the attention of the Toronto Blue Jays who drafted him in the 29th round of the 2002 Major League Baseball First Year Players Draft. Kratz toiled around in the minor league system for the Blue Jays until the Pittsburgh Pirates needed a primary catcher for their Triple-A affiliate in 2009 leading the Pirates to sign Kratz as a minor league free agent.

Kratz was a Mid-Season and Post-Season All-Star for the Indianapolis Indians and followed that strong season up with another Mid-Season All-Star appearance for the Pirates Triple-A affiliate in 2010. Kratz had finally done enough to warrant a call up to the Major Leagues with those consecutive All-Star appearances and was added to the 40 man roster and active roster on July 12, 2010 replacing the struggling Jason Jaramillo. Seven days later Kratz made his Major League debut against the Houston Astros and collected his first hit off Astros pitcher Bud Norris. Kratz appeared in nine games for the remainder of that season hitting just .118.

Kratz spent the 2011 season with the Philadelphia Phillies minor league affiliate before garnering a September call up on September 16. Kratz appeared in two games recording two hits in six at-bats. Kratz bounced back and forth between Triple-A Lehigh Valley and the Phillies Major League club in 2012 and the right-hander even hit his first MLB home run off Washington Nationals pitcher Tom Gorzelanny. Kratz played so well in 2012 that the team named him to their Opening Day roster on 2013 and made him their primary starting catcher while Carlos Ruiz spent 25 days suspended with a drug suspension. Kratz spent the entire season with the MLB club in 2013 with the exception of the time spent on the disabled list with a torn medical meniscus which required surgery.

Kratz was traded back to the Toronto Blue Jays before the 2014 season and had a strong spring training camp for them before being sent down to Triple-A in favor of Josh Thole. Kratz was back at the Major League level on March 30 though and appeared in six games before heading back down to the Minor Leagues when the team needed a roster spot for left-handed starter JA Happ. Kratz played a total of 34 games with the Blue Jays before once again being traded, this time to the Kansas City Royals on July 28, 2014. Kratz spent almost a full calendar year with the Royals before being designated for assignment by the club on June 11, 2015.

The Boston Red Sox claimed Kratz off waiver on June 21, 2015 but designated him for assignment again just four days later. Krats elected free agency on June 29, 2015 and ultimately signed a minor league deal with the Seattle Mariners on July 2, 2015. 13 days later on July 15 the Mariners released him leading to his second stint with the Philadelphia Phillies. Kratz signed a new minor league deal with the club and was added to their active roster on September 1 as a part of September call-ups. Kratz finished the 2015 seasons with the Phillies before moving on to the San Diego Padres for the 2016 season after signing another minor league deal.

The Padres almost immediately traded Kratz after spring training 2016 to the Houston Astros for pitcher Dan Straily which once again sent Kratz on a roller coaster ride as he searched for a new home. Kratz was designated for assignment and released in Mid-May after pitching for the team against the Astros on April 26, 2016 and almost immediately signed a minor league contract with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Two weeks into his stint with the Halos the team traded him back to the Pittsburgh Pirates where once again he became a pitcher as well as a catcher. For the first time since 1879 a single player was a pitcher and a catcher for two different Major League teams in the same season and his name was Erik Kratz. All that got him was designated for assignment once again on July 19, 2016 but it did allow for a third trip to the Toronto Blue Jays organization.


Kratz signed a minor league contract with the Blue Jays on July 28, 2016 where he would finish out the season hitting .155 with one RBI. After the season Kratz elected free agency and signed a minor league contract with the Cleveland Indians where he remained for the entirety of the 2017 until the New York Yankees came calling on August 31. The Yankees acquired Kratz for cash considerations and will likely add another “DFA” to his career total here in about a week or so unfortunately. Enjoy the ride while it lasts, Erik, and welcome to the family!

2 comments:

  1. Soon we'll be writing about "The Short Yankees Career of Erik Kratz"... ;)

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    Replies
    1. Of course but hey, it would fall in line with the rest of his career obviously. :)

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