LA Angels: Six Prospects Who Proved Themselves in Spring Training
By Ryan Falla
Jack Kruger (C)
The Angels catching situation has been in flux ever since Martin Maldonado was traded to the Astros in 2018. The Angels shored up the backstop by signing Jonathan Lucroy to a one year deal, but outside of that there didn’t seem to be much vision with the Angels future the catching situation.
Not until Jack Kruger showed up at least. Kruger’s 2018 MiLB season was a breakthrough in the eyes of the organization after he slashed .299/.357/.413 in 431 PA’s in Class A Advanced. He also received an All-Star nod in Class A Advanced as a member of the Inland Empire 66ers thanks to his dual offensive/defensive talents. This past Spring saw Kruger strongly establishing himself as a piece of the Angels future by maintaining the backstop efficiently while swinging to the tune of .333/.368/.611 in 19 PA’s.
Los Angeles Angels
It was a short look for Kruger, but with the opportunities he received he showed his strength to the fullest. In those 19 PA’s he collected a triple and a HR alongside 4 singles while striking out just twice. Even though he’s been touted as an offense-first catcher there was a lot of talent expressed behind the plate.
Kruger has a very refined athleticism thanks to a a focus on conditioning and lower body strength/agility. Not only does he use his athleticism to block the plate, he can frame pitches smoothly and skillfully. Sometimes it looks like he has a vacuum tucked away in his glove with the way he seemingly pulls pitches into the zone.
His athleticism also comes out on the base paths as he had 13 stolen bases in his 2018 MiLB season. Those are huge numbers for a catcher, the fact that he move across the bases with adept awareness and skill only adds to his ever-growing versatility. He can punish opposing pitchers with his bat, he can work the backstop with skill all while presenting a threat as a baserunner.
Kruger has the potential to take his All-Star ability into the Big Leagues and join the ranks of our future Angels All-Stars in the near future.