When the Milwaukee Brewers acquired a catcher, Erik Kratz, from the Yankees on May 25th, they didn’t know what they were going to get from the 37-year-old journeyman. He has opened some eyes in his small sample size.
How has Kratz performed?
Pretty well as a matter of fact. In six games he has blasted three home runs and racked up a .435/.500/.870 slash line. This seems to be the trend for general manager David Stearns in terms of what should be “short-term acquisitions”. The Eric Sogard addition and the Tyler Saladino acquisition are good examples to look at.
Kratz not only has hit, but he has hit the ball hard. His average exit velocity sits at 93.8 mph.
Compared to Manny Pina
HIs current competition, starter Manny Pina, has experienced a down season, to say the least. His slash line of .211/.280/.345 is starting to become a weakness in the lineup. After a breakout year, the Milwaukee Brewers seem to have had enough of the lack of offense by the catching position and are trying to inject some life into the lineup.
Why Kratz deserves a starting role
Kratz has played for seven different teams since he debuted in 2010. He could have an impact on this young ballclub with his wealth of experience. The Brewers have employed this type of veteran leadership before.
In 2011, they acquired Jerry Hairston Jr from Washington for Erik Komatsu. He hit .274/.348/.379. In 45 games he had 34 hits. Coincidently, he wore number 15, just like Erik Kratz. And also coincidently, the Milwaukee Brewers made the playoffs in 2011, just like they’re on pace to do in 2018.
Even last year, the Brewers acquired Stephen Vogt as a veteran backstop and he went on an offensive explosion in a Brewers uniform as well.
If Kratz can stay on a consistent pace, his veteran leadership should bode well for his abilities to lead a possible playoff rotation deep into October.
How likely it becomes reality depends entirely on Kratz devotion. He needs to forget about the trend of being known as a temporary player and start to focus on playing long-term. His relationship with the pitching staff so far has shown that a strong bond can go a long way.