Catcher Erik Kratz ‘02 was among four United States athletes named to the All-World Team by the World Baseball Softball Confederation following the completion of the Premier12 tournament this weekend. The Premier 12 featured the 12 highest-ranked national teams in the world.
The United States finished fourth with a 4-4 record and missed qualifying for an automatic berth to the 2020 Olympic Games. The team has two more chances to qualify.
The honor caps yet another exciting year for the Eastern Mennonite University 2019 Alumnus of the Year, who helped the 2018 Milwaukee Brewers to a postseason playoff run and was named (by at least one media outlet) as the “Best Story of the 2018 MLB Postseason.”
Kratz and teammates Bobby Dalbec (1B), Brandon Dickson (RP) and Brent Rooker (DH) shared the Premier12 honors with two players each from Chinese Taipei, Japan and Korea, and one from Mexico.
According to a USA Baseball news release, “Kratz’s leadership behind the plate also led the U.S. pitching staff to a collective 3.28 ERA and 75 strikeouts.” He started all but one game and finished second on Team USA with a .381 batting average and two home runs. He finished the winner-take-all game against the Dominican Republic in Guadalajara a triple short of the cycle to lead the U.S. into the Super Round.
The U.S. will be part of an eight-team field in March with Canada, Colombia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico and Venezuela. The winner gets an Olympic berth and the second- and third-place teams secure berths in the Final Qualifying Tournament in Taiwan.
Kratz was named to the USA national team Oct. 10, shortly before he arrived at EMU for Homecoming and Family Weekend, where he was recognized as the university’s Alumnus of the Year.
It’s been a whirlwind since then, with training in Arizona before traveling to Mexico for the opening round and then to Tokyo after the team advanced to the SuperRound.
USA Baseball’s 28-man roster is made up of 15 pitchers and 13 position players currently not on an MLB 40-man roster. Despite beginning his season in the majors, Kratz finished the season in AAA with the Yankees minor league affiliate.
Kratz also played for the national team in 2010.