KEVIN KRAMER, SECOND BASEMAN
|Born: October 3, 1993
Drafted: 2nd Round, 62nd Overall, 2015
How Acquired: Draft
WTM’S PLAYER PROFILE
|Kramer played third for UCLA in 2013, then missed all of the 2014 season with a torn labrum. He returned to play shortstop and hit 323/423/476 for the Bruins in 2015. The Pirates announced as a shortstop at the draft, but some scouts question whether he has the arm to stick there. Of course, his arm strength may improve as he gets further from the surgery. Kramer is an advanced hitter who projects to hit for average and gap power. His over-the-fence power is average at best and he doesn’t run well. On defense, he has good range and hands. Baseball America rated Kramer 133rd in the draft class.Kramer signed shortly after the draft for nearly $150,000 below the slot amount for his spot of $994,800.
Kramer got off to a rough start at Morgantown, posting just a .486 OPS in June and .575 in July. He got hot in August, though, going 28-for-58 (.483) until the Pirates promoted him to the West Virginia Power. He started off 0-for-11 there, but going 12-for-39 (.308) the rest of the way. He showed excellent plate discipline, but not much power. Oddly, he clobbered LHPs for a .943 OPS, but managed only a .668 OPS against RHPs. Kramer played mostly at second, with two games at short for each team. He committed only four errors at second and showed good range.
Moving up to Bradenton, Kramer again got off to a slow start, as did nearly the entire team. He posted just a .637 OPS in April, but got the bat going in May and had a solid season. He didn’t show over-the-fence power, but he did tie for the league lead in doubles, along with exhibiting very good plate discipline. Kramer struggled with LHPs, managing just a 211/294/284 line against them. He hit 295/368/404 against RHPs. Defensively, Kramer played second exclusively and showed very good range while committing only eight errors.
Kramer got off to a fast start at Altoona, hitting for much more power than he had previously. He had a huge month of April, batting 373/478/613. He cooled off in May but continued to hit well. On June 10, though, he suffered a broken hand from a hit batsman. The hand healed more slowly than expected and wasn’t able to start a rehab until near the end of the season, nor to return to Altoona until the playoffs. He had a big platoon split, albeit in a small sample size: he had a .916 OPS against RHPs and .681 against LHPs.
The injury interrupted a terrific season for Kramer and probably cost him a chance to get some time in AAA. Hopefully, the Pirates will be able to conclude he’s ready to open 2018 there.
|2018: Minor League Contract
|Signing Bonus: $850,000
MiLB Debut: 2015
MiLB FA Eligible: 2021
MLB FA Eligible:
Rule 5 Eligible: 2018
Added to 40-Man:
Options Remaining: 3
MLB Service Time: 0.000
|June 8, 2011: Drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the 25th round, 758th overall pick.
June 8, 2015: Drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 2nd round, 62nd overall pick; signed on June 17.