Erik Floyd Kratz (born June 15, 1980) is an American professional baseball catcher in the New York Yankees organization. Kratz played baseball at Christopher Dock Mennonite High School and then Eastern Mennonite University. He was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 29th round of the 2002 Major League Baseball draft. He has previously played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Philadelphia Phillies, Toronto Blue Jays, Kansas City Royals, Houston Astros, New York Yankees, Milwaukee Brewers, San Francisco Giants, and Tampa Bay Rays.
Kratz with the Kansas City Royals in 2015
|New York Yankees|
|Born: June 15, 1980|
|July 17, 2010, for the Pittsburgh Pirates|
|MLB statistics |
(through May 29, 2019)
|Runs batted in||101|
After playing for seven years with minor-league affiliates of the Blue Jays, from 2002 through 2008, Kratz signed a minor league contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2009. He made his Major League Baseball debut on July 17, 2010. Before the 2011 season, Kratz signed a minor-league deal with the Philadelphia Phillies and played with the Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs, appearing several times in 2011 and 2012 at the Major-League level and ultimately winning the backup catcher job on the Phillies' 2013 roster. He was dealt back to the Toronto Blue Jays organization prior to the 2014 season, dividing his playing time between Toronto and the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons before being traded to the Kansas City Royals in July. He returned to the Phillies in 2015, and played for the Houston Astros and Pirates in 2016. He played for the New York Yankees in 2017. He was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers in 2018. He played for the San Francisco Giants in 2019.
Kratz graduated from Christopher Dock Mennonite High School in Lansdale, Pennsylvania, and Eastern Mennonite University (EMU) in Harrisonburg, Virginia. While playing college baseball for the Eastern Mennonite Royals from 1999 to 2002, he caught every at-bat for every game he played and was named the Old Dominion Athletic Conference Player of the Year twice.
Toronto Blue JaysEdit
After the draft, Kratz worked his way up through the minor leagues over the course of 3 years with the Medicine Hat Blue Jays, Auburn Doubledays, Charleston AlleyCats, New Haven Ravens, and Dunedin Blue Jays. He then played the 2005 season with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, the Double-A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays. There, he had a .205 batting average, 11 home runs, and 34 runs batted in. From 2006 to 2008, Kratz alternated between the Fisher Cats and the Triple-A Syracuse Chiefs. In 2006, he had a combined .228 average, 7 home runs, and 34 RBIs; in 2007, he had a combined .235 average, 13 home runs, and 49 RBIs; in 2008, he had a combined .239 average, 16 home runs, and 43 RBIs. On June 9, 2008, he was named the International League Player of the Week.
In 2009, Kratz signed with the Pirates, who were in need of a primary Triple-A catcher after the call up of Robinzon Diaz to replace the injured Ryan Doumit. He played the 2009 season with the Indianapolis Indians and finished with a .273 batting average, 11 home runs, and 43 RBIs. He was named the International League Mid-Season All-Star and the International League Triple-A All-Star Game Top Star on July 15 and the International League Post-Season All-Star on September 1.
Kratz began the 2010 season with the Indianapolis and finished his minor league season with a .274 batting average, 9 home runs, and 41 RBIs. On July 14, he was named the International League Mid-Season All-Star for the second time.
He made his Major League debut on July 17, 2010 against the Houston Astros. He batted 7th and recorded his first hit against Astros starter Bud Norris, a single to right center field and drove in his first run later in the game. He finished the night hitting 2-for-5 with a run scored and an RBI. Kratz appeared in 9 games over a two-week period, batting .118.
Kratz signed a minor league deal with the Philadelphia Phillies prior to the 2011 season. He spent the season with their Triple-A affiliate Lehigh Valley IronPigs, where he batted a .288 BA with 15 home runs and 53 RBIs. On July 13, he won his third International League Mid-Season All-Star award. He was called up to the big league club on September 16, and went on to play two games with the Phillies, recording two hits in six at-bats.
Kratz opened the 2012 season with Lehigh Valley, but had several stints on the Phillies' active roster. He hit his first career Major League home run on May 22, a solo shot against Washington Nationals pitcher Tom Gorzelanny that landed in the center field bushes at Citizens Bank Park. Acting initially as a pinch hitter to replace the injured Jim Thome, Kratz later assumed a catching job following injuries to backup catcher Brian Schneider and All-Star starter Carlos Ruiz.
He quickly began producing offensively, registering a 1.395 OPS in his first 16 games. Ultimately, Kratz hit .248 with 9 home runs in 50 games and 141 at-bats.
Kratz made his first Major League Opening Day roster with the Phillies in 2013. He served as the team's primary catcher while Ruiz served a 25-day drug suspension, but was placed on the disabled list on June 9 with a torn medial meniscus and underwent surgery. He returned to the club on July 21, and continued as backup catcher thereafter. Kratz finished the season with a .213 batting average, 42 hits, 9 home runs, and 26 RBIs.
Toronto Blue JaysEdit
On December 3, 2013, Kratz, along with pitcher Rob Rasmussen, was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays for pitcher Brad Lincoln. Kratz had a strong spring, batting .400 before being demoted to minor-league camp in favor of Josh Thole. On March 30, he was recalled from Triple-A after Casey Janssen was placed on the disabled list. Kratz appeared in 6 games for the Blue Jays and batted .200 before being optioned to the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons to make room for J. A. Happ. He was later recalled and played in 34 total games with the Blue Jays, batting .198 with 3 home runs and 10 RBI before being traded.
Kansas City RoyalsEdit
On July 28, 2014, Kratz was traded with Liam Hendriks to the Kansas City Royals in exchange for Danny Valencia. He had his first career multi-homer game on August 18 in a 6-4 win over the Minnesota Twins.
On June 11, 2015, Kratz was designated for assignment.
Boston Red SoxEdit
Second stint with PhilliesEdit
On July 17, 2015, Kratz signed a minor league deal with the Phillies. He was added to the active roster on September 1 and made his first appearance the following day, hitting a pinch-hit, two-run double against Matt Harvey of the New York Mets.
San Diego PadresEdit
On March 28, 2016, Kratz was traded to the Houston Astros for pitcher Dan Straily. On April 26 he was pressed into service as a pitcher during a blowout with the Astros. He was designated for assignment on May 16 and released on May 22.
Los Angeles Angels of AnaheimEdit
Second stint with PittsburghEdit
On June 11, 2016, Kratz was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates, who added him to their 40-man roster. On June 21, Kratz became the first player since 1879 to pitch and catch for two different major league teams in a single year. He tossed a scoreless inning while forced into relief for the Pirates in a 15-4 loss to the Giants. He allowed two hits and struck out Brandon Belt for his first out of the inning. His previous outing on the mound took place on April 26 for the Astros, against the Mariners, in which he allowed two runs (one earned) on three hits over one inning in an 11-1 loss. He was designated for assignment on July 19, and elected free agency on July 22.
Third stint with TorontoEdit
New York YankeesEdit
The Indians sold Kratz to the New York Yankees on August 31, 2017. The Yankees promoted him to the major leagues the next day. He appeared in his first game for the Yankees as a pinch hitter on September 10, hitting an RBI double. Kratz declined an outright assignment to Triple-A at the start of November 2017, and became a free agent. On December 13, he signed a minor league contract with the Yankees.
The Yankees traded Kratz to the Milwaukee Brewers on May 25, 2018, in exchange for a player to be named later or cash considerations. He hit his first home run of the season on May 26 against the Mets. On June 16, the Yankees received Wendell Rijo to complete the trade. During the regular season, he hit .236 with 6 homers and 23 RBI in a career-high 219 plate appearances. In the NLDS against the Rockies, he went 5-for-7 with 2 RBI, including a 3-hit game in the clinching game 3, and was the oldest player to make his postseason debut since Lave Cross of the Philadelphia Athletics in 1905.
San Francisco GiantsEdit
Tampa Bay RaysEdit
On May 16, 2019, Kratz was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for a minor league pitcher Matt Seelinger. He had one hit for the Rays in six games. On May 31, he was designated for assignment and was released shortly afterwards.
Second stint with YankeesEdit
On June 8, 2019, Kratz signed a minor league deal with the Yankees.
Kratz is a devout member of the Souderton, Pennsylvania Mennonite Church. Up until 2009, Kratz worked a construction job in the winter to support his family. He has a wife named Sarah and two sons named Brayden and Ethan; he also has a daughter, Avery.
- Good, Sheldon (October 3, 2011). "Ballplayer feels right at home". Mennonite World Review. Retrieved December 8, 2017.
- "EMU, Christopher Dock grad gets big-league baseball call". Mennonite World Review. August 2, 2012. Retrieved December 8, 2017.
- Miller, Sam (September 14, 2012). "Pebble Hunting: The best story of 2012". Baseball Prospectus. Prospectus Entertainment Ventures, LLC. Retrieved November 3, 2013.
- "Erik Kratz Stats, Bio, Photos, Highlights". MiLB.com. Minor League Baseball. Retrieved September 6, 2013.
- Zolecki, Todd (September 17, 2011). "Brown among several Phillies callups". phillies.com: News. MLB Advanced Media. Retrieved May 31, 2013.
- "Carlos Ruiz of Philadelphia Phillies suspended for 25 games after positive test". ESPN. November 12, 2012. Retrieved September 6, 2013.
- Short, D.J. (June 10, 2013). "Erik Kratz to undergo surgery for medial mensicus tear in knee". HardballTalk. Retrieved September 2, 2013.
- Silva, Drew (December 3, 2013). "Phillies acquire Brad Lincoln from the Blue Jays for Erik Kratz and Rob Rasmussen". hardballtalk.nbcsports.com. Retrieved March 31, 2014.
- Kennedy, Brendan (March 26, 2014). "Toronto Blue Jays name Josh Thole backup catcher; Erik Kratz cut despite strong pre-season". thestar.com. Retrieved March 31, 2014.
- Franzoni, Kyle (March 30, 2014). "Toronto Blue Jays Send Casey Janssen To DL, Erik Kratz Recalled From Buffalo". jaysjournal.com. Retrieved March 31, 2014.
- Davidi, Shi (April 13, 2014). "Jays put Izturis on DL, Happ to be activated". Sportsnet. Retrieved April 13, 2014.
- "Erik Kratz Statistics and History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved June 29, 2015.
- Chisholm, Gregor (July 28, 2014). "Blue Jays shore up infield depth, acquire Valencia". MLB.com. Retrieved July 29, 2014.
- "Royals designate Erik Kratz for assignment". ESPN.com. June 11, 2015. Retrieved June 24, 2015.
- Doyle, Ricky (June 21, 2015). "Red Sox Claim Veteran Catcher Erik Kratz Off Waivers From Royals". nesn.com. Retrieved June 21, 2015.
- "Pedroia goes on Boston disabled list with strained hamstring". bellinghamherald.com. June 25, 2015. Archived from the original on June 28, 2015. Retrieved June 25, 2015.
- Gitlin, Marty (June 29, 2015). "Former Red Sox C Erik Kratz chooses free agency". fantasynews.cbssports.com. Retrieved June 29, 2015.
- Smith, Elliott (July 15, 2015). "Mariners release Triple-A catcher Erik Kratz". fantasynews.cbssports.com. Retrieved July 15, 2015.
- Lempert, Jason (July 17, 2015). "Catcher Erik Kratz joins Phillies on a minor league deal". fantasynews.cbssports.com. Retrieved July 17, 2015.
- "Padres' Erik Kratz: Signs with the Padres". cbssports.com. December 11, 2015. Retrieved December 11, 2015.
- "Padres acquire RHP Dan Straily from Houston Astros". MLB.com. March 28, 2016. Retrieved March 28, 2016.
- "Houston Astros: Transactions". houston.astros.mlb.com. MLB Media. Retrieved May 23, 2016.
- Todd, Jeff (May 26, 2016). "Angels To Sign Erik Kratz To Minors Deal". mlbtraderumors.com. Retrieved May 29, 2016.
- Wilmoth, Charlie (June 11, 2016). "Pirates Place Francisco Cervelli On DL, Acquire Erik Kratz From Angels". mlbtraderumors.com. Retrieved June 11, 2016.
- Erickson, Andrew (June 21, 2016). "Pirates' Kratz makes history on the mound". Retrieved June 23, 2016.
- "Pirates' Erik Kratz: DFA'd by Pirates". July 19, 2016. Retrieved July 22, 2016.
- Todd, Jeff (July 22, 2016). "Minor MLB Transactions: 7/22/16". mlbtraderumors.ocm. Retrieved July 22, 2016.
- Nicholson-Smith, Ben; Davidi, Shi (July 28, 2016). "Blue Jays to sign veteran catcher Erik Kratz to minor-league deal". Sportsnet. Retrieved July 28, 2016.
- "Erik Kratz Register Statistics & History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved November 20, 2016.
- "International League Transactions". MiLB.com. p. November 2016. Retrieved November 20, 2016.
- Adams, Steve (December 1, 2016). "Indians Sign Michael Martinez, Erik Kratz To Minors Deals". mlbtradeumors.com. Retrieved December 1, 2016.
- "Yankees' Erik Kratz: Re-signs with Yankees". cbssports.com. December 13, 2017. Retrieved December 13, 2017.
- Martin, Dan (May 25, 2018). "Yankees trade catcher to Brewers". Retrieved May 26, 2018.
- Haudricourt, Tom (March 24, 2019). "The #Brewers have traded catcher Erik Kratz to San Francisco". twitter.com. Retrieved March 24, 2019.
- Klopfer, Brady (May 13, 2019). "Giants DFA Erik Kratz". Retrieved May 14, 2019.
- Steve Adams (May 20, 2019). "Rays, Giants Complete Erik Kratz Trade". MLB Trade Rumors. Retrieved May 31, 2019.
- John Romano (May 31, 2019). "Rays Zunino coming off the Injured List". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved May 31, 2019.
- Varela, Ashley. "Yankees sign Erik Kratz to minor league deal". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved June 9, 2019.
- "Family comes first for Blue Jays catcher Kratz". sportsnet.ca. April 9, 2014. Retrieved May 27, 2018.
In one room there was Erik along with his wife, Sarah, and their 18-month-old daughter, Avery. In another there was Sarah's mother and Ethan, the couple's five-year-old son. And in a third room there were Erik's parents and the third of his children, seven-year-old son Brayden, sleeping on a pullout couch.
- Garro, Adrian (October 19, 2018). "Erik Kratz's cheering section of fans wearing his previous jerseys is the perfect reminder of his baseball journey". MLB.com. Retrieved October 20, 2018.