As we continue on with our grades for the Milwaukee Brewers 2018 individual performances, next we have catcher Erik Kratz. Let’s take a look at how Kratz fared this season!
In May, GM David Stearns made a trade with the New York Yankees to acquire journeyman catcher Erik Kratz. Drafted in 2002, it wasn’t until 2010 that Kratz made his MLB debut and has since been bounced around quite a bit.
Regular season: C
Throughout Kratz’s career he has always been a solid defender but has been inconsistent at the plate. Over his career, Kratz has a batting average of just .214 and an OPS of .630.
But this season was different for Kratz, although his stat line isn’t amazing by any means, he managed to play above his career averages in most offensive categories.
Initially, Kratz started off slow when he arrived in Milwaukee but began to get more playing time and eventually was the Brewers go-to catcher at the end of the season. Kratz batting average jumped from .227 to .242 in the second half and added an additional 17 RBIs and three home runs.
On the season Kratz made 54 starts and appeared in 67 total games. During that time he recorded a slash line of .236/.280/.355 with 23 RBIs and six home runs.
Kratz’ numbers may not have been off the charts but the stability he was able to bring to the catcher position along with the veteran presence he provided in the locker room were also factors in his regular season grade.
Post season: B+
During the NLDS, Erik Kratz became the national media’s feel good story with his play against the Colorado Rockies. Kratz very easily could have been named the MVP of the divisional series, if there was such a thing.
In the NLDS, Kratz played in two of the three games and recorded five hits in eight attempts, along with two RBIs.
Kratz, along with Orlando Arcia, were a big spark to the bottom of the batting order. When the bottom third of the Milwaukee lineup is getting on base, the Milwaukee Brewers, as a team, are a much better ballclub.
In the playoffs, Kratz made 26 plate appearances in nine games. He may have cooled off in the NLCS but he was still able to put up very good stats. Kratz finished with a slash line of .292/.346/.375, including two doubles and three RBIs.
In a postseason where the offense went cold, Kratz was one of the consistent bats in the lineup, giving him a grade of B+ for the Brewers playoff run.
For most of the season Kratz wasn’t going to be a player that impressed us with his gaudy stats or deep home runs. But he is a player that has the work ethic and intangibles that we wish every baseball player had.
We were able to see bits of this in the playoffs and saw just how much he meant to this team, not just on the field but also in the locker room. To me, that needs to be considered along with the stats.
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Whether Kratz decides to retire or to continue playing in 2019, he had a heck of a season and will always be a fan favorite in Milwaukee.