Checking in at number 9 on the Pittsburgh Pirates top prospects list from the 2019 season is utility man Kevin Kramer
As part of the Seinfeld Pittsburgh Pirates connection, the selected UCLA infielder Kevin Kramer in the 2nd round of the 2015 MLB Draft. This came after selection University of Arizona infielder Kevin Newman in the 1st round of the draft that summer.
Like Newman, Kramer primarily played shortstop in college. This led to Kramer moving to second base early in his professional career. However, he has also played third base and the corner outfield spots, in addition to the two middle infield positions during his professional career.
Kramer made his MLB debut during the 2018 season but struggled mightily. This led to the left-handed hitting utility man starting the 2019 season with the Triple-A Indianapolis Indians. Kramer, however, did reach the MLB level once again in 2019.
With Indy, Kramer experienced some struggles in 2019. The 26-year-old slashed .260/.335/.417 with a .328 wOBA and a wRC+ of just 92. Kramer had a 10.4% extra base hit rate, .158 ISO, 9.6% walk rate, and a concerning 25.9% strikeout rate with Indy.
As he did in 2018, Kramer struggled with the Pirates in 2019 as well. In 50 MLB plate appearances Kramer slashed .167/.260/.190. While his 12.0% walk rate was healthy, his 34.0% strikeout rate was not. Additionally, he collected just one extra base hit. This is concerning as his power potential is what Kramer is best known for.
Through his first 90 career MLB plate appearances Kramer has struggled mightily. In these 90 PAs Kramer has slashed .152/.222/.165 with a 41.4% strikeout rate. He also had a bad season at Triple-A in 2019. He is now 26-years-old and not getting any younger. To be honest, it would not be a shocker if Kramer was removed from the 40-man roster at some point this offseason. If he is not, he is all but ticketed for Triple-A Indianapolis to start the 2020 season.