Patience pays off for veteran Erik Kratz

PBR - Things have never been better for Erik Kratz.

A minor league journeyman, the 32-year-old has made the most of his playing time with the Phillies in the absence of All-Star Carlos Ruiz and Brian Schneider.

Prior to this season he had played in only 11 big league games, but appeared in 728 minor league contests.

Through 15 games this year with the Phils Kratz is hitting .379 with four home runs and nine RBIs.

erik kratz - phillies
"Kratz is a guy I've seen a couple years ago, in spring training, and I liked him then," manager Charlie Manuel said. "He's very durable, he's strong and in really good condition. You can work him a lot."

A graduate of Christopher Dock High School in Lansdale, Kratz grew up watching the Phillies with his father and watched his share of contests at Veterans Stadium. He was drafted by Toronto in the 29th-round of the 2002 Amateur Draft and bounced around the minors until signing with the Phillies in 2010.

His story is similar to that of retired catcher Chris Coste, another journeyman that spent 12 seasons in the minor leagues before finally breaking into the majors with the Phillies in 2006.

"It's taken some time, but I've been preparing everyday so I'm ready to go when the call comes," Kratz said.

Kratz garnered attention during spring training with solid defense and a strong bat - hitting .409 (9-for-22) with a pair of home runs.

"He's really improved his hitting over the last two years. Since last year, he's improved his hitting 100 percent. His swing is getting a lot better. There are still things he needs to do, but as far as staying on slow stuff … When he's patient, he's got a lot of power."

In a season seemingly void of relevance, Kratz's future as a major leaguer may hang in the balance.

- Patrick Gordon  is the editor of the Philadelphia Baseball Review. Contact him at pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com or @Philabaseball on Twitter.

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