The catcher might be in the big leagues with the Philadelphia Phillies.
He might be in Triple-A baseball with the Lehigh Valley IronPigs.
He could even find himself released and back on the couch at home in Harrisonburg, Va.
“I know I’ve put everything into it no matter where I am,” said Kratz Monday night as he shared his story during a youth group fundraiser at Waterford Mennonite Church. “The Lord has led me to this spot right here.
“(Baseball) is God’s way of giving me a talent. I’ve been fortunate enough to play baseball my whole life.”
Kratz spoke to a crowd of almost 250 who enjoyed a ballpark-style meal then listen to the Pennsylvania native and 2002 graduate of Harrisonburg’s Eastern Mennonite University speak from the heart.
Determination and a love for the game kept Kratz going even though he did not make his high school varsity until his junior year.
He changed from third base – the position played by his hero Mike Schmidt – to catcher because Kratz was making too many errors at third and the regular catchers were playing high school football when he was playing fall ball.
Kratz got noticed at NCAA Division III Eastern Mennonite because scouts happened to be following other players that happened to be playing in the same area and a slightly different time. One of those was a high school phenom named B.J. Upton.
Starting out his professional career in the Toronto Blue Jays organization in Medicine Hat, Alberta, Kratz played for $850 a month for the three-month season and had many eye-opening experiences, including watching his roommate leave the team and the game after hitting the 90-day mark when his $180,000 contract could no longer be voided.
“How many people would like to have his spot for one day?,” asked Kratz. “But he didn’t want to do it.
“That was the day I decided I wanted to make the big leagues.”
But that turned out to be a long, long way off.
After spending nearly a decade in the minor leagues, Kratz finally made his major league debut in 2010 with Pittsburgh Pirates and got a chance to stick with the team he grew up following – the Philadelphia Phillies – midway through the 2012 season and he is grateful for the opportunity.
The 32-year-old with 61 Major League Baseball games on his resume referenced a Garth Brooks song – “Unanswered Prayers” and said it is probably a good thing that he had to wait so long to get to the majors.
“If I would have made it in 2005 or 2006 I probably would have burned out,” said Kratz. “I was not mature enough. I thank the Lord everyday that I did go through some struggles. My path has been my path.”
Kratz is genuinely excited about being a big leaguer.
“This is amazing,” said Kratz. “No. 1, I get to play the game I grew up loving. No. 2, I get to glorify the Lord on national television. No. 3, I get to help the Phillies, the team I grew up watching, be successful.”