Erik Kratz was the definition of a career second catcher. At the age of 30, Kratz made his Major League debut in 2010, and wouldn’t retire until he was 40 in 2020. The backstop played in two seasons for the Pirates, the first in 2010, and then again in 2016. In total, he appeared in 27 games and made 93 trips to the plate, and in between those seasons, Kratz appeared for five different teams.
For his career, Kratz only made it into 332 games and 951 plate appearances. Kratz wasn’t much of a hitter, slashing just .209/.256/.355. While he did have a solid 21.9% strikeout rate, he only walked 4.9% of the time. He also only managed to hit 31 home runs, 23 of which came between the years 2012 and 2014. Though Kratz was a defense first catcher, racking up +20 defensive runs saved and +2.5 dWAR.
There is a whole litany of jerseys Kratz has worn. After the Pirates, Kratz played a few seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies. In 2014, Kratz appeared for both the Toronto Blue Jays and Kansas City Royals. 2015 saw him start the year in Kansas before returning to Philly. Kratz would open the following season with the Houston Astros before the Pirates acquired him for the second time. 2017 marked Kratz’s first stint with the Yankees, playing just four games. He then went on to the Brewers where he became a key part of their clubhouse dynamic and backup catcher role. Though Kratz’s time in Milwaukee lasted just the 2018 season, as he would play with the San Francisco Giants and Tampa Bay Rays in 2019. Kratz made a return to pinstripes for his final Major League season.
Kratz barely played for any of these teams. The only one he appeared in more than 100 games for was the Phillies. Of the nine Major League teams Krtaz played for, seven let him play fewer than 35 games. Many forget that Kratz was a Ray, Giant, Blue Jay, and even Pirate, which makes him one of the journeyman catchers to remember.