With this season lost in the standings, the Phillies have nothing to lose in seeing what they have for next year.
The Phillies front office has many decisions to make concerning the 2013 season, and a handful of players currently on the roster are looking to be a part of next year’s rebuilt team.
Newly-acquired outfielder Nate Schierholtz and late-blooming catcher Erik Kratz are two guys that the team is looking at to fill roster positions for next year.
Schierholtz was acquired in the Hunter Pence deal less than two weeks ago and was the lone major league player obtained in the deal. The former San Francisco Giant is hitting .280 (7-for-25) with a home run and two RBIs in eight games as a Phillie.
Schierholtz made quite the impact in his Phillies debut. He hit what turned out to be the game-winning home run off Edwin Jackson to clinch a 3-2 victory for the Phillies.
The outfielder has been a regular in the lineup for his brief time in Philadelphia thus far. It looks as though Schierholtz could be part of a platoon situation next season depending on what the Phillies decide to do.
With the Phillies having several positions that they need to fill, Schierholtz and a right-handed platoon outfielder would make perfect sense from an economical and team standpoint.
On the other hand, Kratz was been quite the story.
Kratz has spent the last few years with the Lehigh Valley IronPigs and has been a fan favorite in Allentown, PA. But he now finds himself on the Phillies roster and is hoping to reside their permanently.
The Telford, PA native has done a remarkable job handling the Phillies pitching staff and has been solid behind the plate defensively.
But the most impressive thing about Kratz has been his performance at the plate. The 32-year old catcher is hitting .371 with four home runs and nine RBIs in 39 plate appearances in 2012 with the big club.
Kratz’s story is reminiscent of former Phillies catcher Chris Coste. Like Kratz, Coste broke into the big leagues after the age of 30 and was a key piece during the Phillies 2008 World Series run.
Kratz has seen the ball really well at the plate and has come up with key hits in key situations. He also has had five doubles during his time with the Phillies, giving him nine extra base hits of his 13 hits this season.
Kratz also managed to go 2-for-3 in two out of three games in this past series against the Atlanta Braves.
His timely hitting has vaulted him into the conversation of possibly backing up Carlos Ruiz next season as Brian Schneider will be a free agent.
Only time will tell if Schierholtz or Kratz will make an impact with the Phillies in 2013. But the two are certainly making a strong case to be strong assets next season.