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.
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.