2012 Player Reviews

Phillies Player Review: Erik Kratz

Everybody Kratz your hands!

Erik Kratz was a more-than-pleasant surprise for the Phillies in 2012. He was a guy that started the year in Triple-A Lehigh Valley, and was not expected to spend much time with the big league club with backup catcher Brian Schneider assuming the role as backup catcher.

But when Schneider wound up on the DL, Kratz got his opportunity–and he made the most of it.

He finished the year with a .248/.306/.504 slash line, and his .809 OPS was good for 3rd on the Phillies among player with at least 100 PA (only Carlos Ruiz and Kevin Frandsen were ahead of him).

Four of his nine home runs came in the seventh inning or later, and three of them came in high leverage situations. It seemed that, whenever the Phillies needed something, he was able to pull through.

And because of his great power numbers, Kratz quickly became a fan favorite. The phrase “everybody Kratz your hands” echoed through Twitter by fans and beat writers alike.

In late August, the Phillies were playing the Braves, who were still battling for the NL East crown, down in Atlanta.

Paul Janish hit a soft line-drive single to shallow center, and John Mayberry Jr. came up throwing home, as Chipper Jones was about to score. The ball and Jones reached home plate at nearly the same time, but Kratz held on in one of the most spectacular plays of the year. (Watch it here) That play just reassured everyone of the awesomeness of Kratz.

Grade: A+ … His numbers and fan favoritism made him one of the most “fun” players on the Phillies. He was one of their best power hitters (.255 ISO), and had his own catch phrase.

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  1. CS

    November 11, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    Hoping he can provide us a quality backup next year. Such a great story I’m hoping it wasn’t a fluke.

  2. Jaron B

    November 11, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    Plus, he showed that he can get base-runners out, too.

    • schmenkman

      November 11, 2012 at 7:33 pm

      He threw out 45% of stealers this year. But it may not be sustainable. He threw out 32% in his minor league career.

  3. Lefty

    November 11, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    That play alone earns him an A+ , but he can hit too. What a great upgrade at backup catcher for next season.

  4. Brooks

    November 12, 2012 at 6:38 am

    OK, I was super pumped when Kratz came on the scene especially in such a dismal year for the Phils. Nobody (when Chooch was out) was able to do any timely damage and it seemed Kratz was rising to the occasion. But, and this is a big one, in September when the Phils definitely could have used every bat – he was 7 for 47 with a .208 OBP and a .267 slugging percentage.
    Does his performance prior to Sept warrant the A grade? Yes, we also loved his ability to check thievery..
    I would say a solid B. Solid but not an A.
    Great backup for next season, I agree.

  5. George

    November 12, 2012 at 9:20 am

    I can’t get too exited by a backup catcher (or a backup anything, for that matter). Kratz filled in fine, and graded only on expectations, maybe deserved a high mark, because expectations for a fill-in are generally pretty low.

    He slumped badly in the final month, so I’m led to wonder what his true talent level is. I wouldn’t have graded him at all given his rather short time in the majors. I’m in “wait and see what 2013 brings” mode on Kratz.

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