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Erik Kratz: From Minor-League Afterthought To The Majors

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Here's a really excellent and very frank interview with Erik Kratz about his twisted path through the minors. If you're at all curious about what it's like to be a fringe minor leaguer, this is a great article.

The 2004 season was filled with frustration. In what he felt should have been a key campaign in his development -- his third year as a pro -- Kratz's playing time was severely restricted by factors he had no control over. He was never hurt, but the Blue Jays put him on the disabled list repeatedly ...

"I was on the phantom DL every time," he said. "I [mostly] sat in extended [Spring Training]. Just because, the year before, I was up there in the top three or four on the team in almost every offensive category in short-season [ball]. It was a hard time" ...

"I feel, if you have a problem with something that's going on, go to the people that are making decisions and talk to them face to face. I went to those people, and I let them know I was frustrated. I got the runaround, the baseball runaround. 'Well, we just need to see this guy for a little bit,' or things like that."

So essentially, the Blue Jays weren't even sure Kratz was worth a minor-league roster spot - and he still ended up making the majors. Elsewhere, Kratz says he didn't tell the Jays he hurt himself by shooting himself with a nail gun in his catching hand while working a construction job.

Kratz probably doesn't have enough bat speed to do much in the majors, and he may not be back with the Pirates next season, but I'll be rooting for him either way.