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At Age 30, Pirates' Erik Kratz Making First Big League Start

Bucs catcher Erik Kratz is making his first big-league start tonight at the tender age of 30. Kratz was a 29th-round draft pick by the Blue Jays in 2002, and he spent eight years wandering through the minors to get to this point. He bumbled through Class AA, posting consecutive Mendoza-line seasons in 2005 and 2006 that probably would have gotten a lot of players cut, before discovering his stroke in 2007. The Bucs signed him before the 2009 season, when he posted a solid .807 OPS in Indianapolis. This year he's been even better, putting up a .946 OPS at Indianapolis while hitting for both average and power. As a 30-year-old catcher, Kratz probably won't last more than a few years in the big leagues, if that, but this is a feel good story in part because he really does deserve to be here. I'll be rooting for him tonight.


UPDATE: Kratz got his first major league hit tonight, a single to right-center in the fifth. He scored his first big-league run later in the inning.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.