Now Healthy Kevin Kramer Will Look to Make his Mark in 2021by Jamie Gatlin February 13, 2021 0 comments
Over the past few years, the Pittsburgh Pirates have undergone many changes. With Spring Training just around the corner, Pittsburgh will get a preview of the future with a bunch of prospects in camp. One player to keep an eye on is Kevin Kramer. The former second-round pick has appeared in 43 games over the past three years for Pittsburgh but missed all of 2020. Now fully healthy, Kramer will be looking to secure a spot in the majors.
Kramer’s journey with Pittsburgh began in 2015 when the Pirates selected him with the 62nd overall pick in the MLB draft. After three years in the minors, the UCLA product made his MLB debut in 2018, and it is a moment he will never forget.
Kramer reaches the majors
“I got called up at the end of 2018,” said Kramer. “At the time, I was playing for Indianapolis, and we finished the season in Louisville. I wasn’t sure if I would get called up because the Pirates still had a lot of good players that they had to give playing time to. As everyone was saying their goodbyes, I got called into the manager’s office, and they said, you’re finally going to have a chance to prove the type of player you are. It was awesome to have my wife in Louisville with me and share that experience with her. ”
In 2018 Kramer appeared in 21 games for the Pirates. The California native drove in four runs and had five hits in 37 at-bats. Although Kramer played in his first major league game on September 5th, he made his first career start two days later against Miami.
“My first start was awesome,” said Kramer.” Being able to pinch-hit the game before took some of the jitters out. I had Jordy Mercer at short, and I was playing second. He just talked me through the game. We had some pretty cool veterans that helped the young guys and kept us focused on baseball. It was awesome to have my family there because they all helped me get there. ”
In 2019 Kramer didn’t begin the season in the majors but did appear in 22 games for the Pirates. In 42 at-bats, Kramer had seven hits, including his first major league extra-base hit. Last season, however, Kramer was unable to build on his success as right hip surgery forced him to miss all of 2020.
“I’ve been rehabbing for nine months, which has included a lot of physical therapy,” said Kramer. “Other than that and having to wear a mask, I’ve had a pretty normal offseason. I’ve had a little more time to build my body back, so as far as that, I’m in a better position than I’ve been in a while. It’s been a long time, but I’m ready to get out there and show what I can do.”
What to expect from Kramer in 2021
When Kramer arrives at Spring Training, it will be an important step in his recovery. While it has been an extended time off, the UCLA product is ready to show why he belongs in the majors. The former second-round pick will also draw on his previous experience as he battles for a spot.
“I’ve learned a lot from different guys,” said Kramer. “I’m in a better spot physically and most important mentally heading into 2021. Because of my injury, I’ve had to take a step back and gained some clarity about what I want out of this career. I believe if I go out there and show that I’m healthy and the things I’ve been working on, I’m going to be at peace with whatever happens.”
Regardless of what happens in Spring Training, Kramer will be a player Pirates fans should keep an eye on. Fully healthy and with a new perspective, 2021 could be a special year for Kramer.
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