Philadelphia Phillies’ Backup Backstop Needs To Be Consistent In April

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Reps, on reps, on reps, on reps.

Those are the words that should be in Erik Kratz‘s head right now. Due to the 25-game suspension of starting catcher Carlos Ruiz, the Philadelphia Phillies and manager Charlie Manuel will be leaning heavily on Kratz to be consistent and fill some of the huge void left by the All-Star backstop.

Kratz was called up multiple times last season but when the opportunity presented itself after Ruiz went down with an injury, Kratz performed very well. In his 50 games in Phillies pinstripes, Kratz hit .248 with nine home runs and 26 runs-batted-in. Before the 2012 season, Kratz had played only 11 games in the MLB.

If the Phillies are going to be successful and make it back to the postseason, then Kratz is going to need to produce well like he did since his call up.

Kratz may not be a gold-glove quality backstop, but his production is not bad whatsoever. In 41 games behind the plate, Kratz had only one error in 366 chances. His fielding percentage was a .997. Kratz also threw out 45% of base-stealers that tried to swipe an extra base on the Phillies.

The power numbers are where Kratz makes his living. In just 50 games with the Phillies, Kratz hit more than half the total of home runs that Ruiz hit in 114 games in 2012. Though Kratz may not be as consistent of a hitter as Ruiz, his thunderous bat will definitely need to be taken account for by opponents.

If Kratz does produce similar to the amount he did in his MLB stint last season, then the Phillies may have a fighting chance to win the very tough and improved NL East.

David A. Cattai is a featured journalist with Rant SportsFollow me on Twitter (@DCattaiSports), Facebook, and Google+ for sports updates.

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