Chris Coste became famous in Philadelphia for remarkable pinch-hitting abilities despite debuting in the major leagues at the age of 33 years old. Coste batted .328 as a rookie and played a key role in the 2008 Philadelphia Phillies World Series championship team.
Erik Kratz is a similar story to Coste, as the 32-year old is officially a rookie this season and playing a strong role off the bench as a right-handed power bat. Kratz is hitting .379 in 29 at-bats, and his four doubles and four home runs among his 11 hits gives him a phenomenal .931 slugging percentage and 1.369 OPS.
The Phillies recently activated veteran catcher Brian Schneider from the disabled list but chose to keep Kratz in the major leagues, and it’s a rarity for a team to keep three catchers among the 25 players on their roster. Kratz is stout behind the plate, and with Carlos Ruiz on the disabled list now for four to six weeks with plantar fasciitis in his foot, Kratz will probably get more starts than Schneider.
Kratz has a chance to win the backup job behind Ruiz in 2013, and the Phillies would be wise to go with the Telford, PA native. Kratz will be making about half a million dollars, and it’s financially wise to go with him over another backup around the league who will probably command anywhere up to $2 or $3 million.
That is, if Kratz can keep up his hot-hitting for the rest of the season, and so far, he’s made the most of every opportunity he has had.