Jack Kruger Prospect Profile
Name: Jack Kruger
Birthdate: October 26, 1994
Ht/Wt: 6’1”, 185 lbs.
Hometown: Los Angeles, Calif.
School: Mississippi State
Profile Date(s) — July 2018
Affiliate (League): Inland Empire 66ers (California League)
Level (Org): A-Advanced (Los Angeles Angels)
Signed by the Los Angeles Angels at the very last minute of the 2016 post-MLB Draft signing period, Jack Kruger entered pro ball from Mississippi State with a reputation as a strong power-hitting catcher. Now, as big and physically fit as ever, the backstop is enjoying a breakout season in 2018 that’s seen him promoted to Double-A Mobile of the Southern League for the first time to go along with a torrid pace towards career numbers in nearly every offensive category by the time this summer season ends.
Bulky and muscle-bound through his shoulders and upper half in particular, Kruger has the raw physical strength to muscle balls all over the field, though he lacks some of the quick-twitch nature and above-average bat speed to really give him a shot to produce lasting pop at the plate. Further, he can get overly horizontally rotational through his swing at times, generally limiting power to his pull side and creating a struggle to consistently work to the opposite field. He’s figured that out some this summer, though, but serious over-aggressiveness at the plate suggests his hit tool and statistical production may soon come back down to earth (as of July 23, in 107 Double-A at-bats, Kruger had walked just once against 24 strikeouts).
Behind the plate, Jack Kruger is an average receiver and framer with decent overall athleticism; he moves around pretty well back there especially considering his size, though age may not be as kind to him in that regard. His arm strength is just a shade below 50-grade right now, popping 1.99 – 2.05 consistently based on my looks earlier this summer, though there’s perhaps some wiggle room to smooth out his mechanics, build arm strength, and cut some time in the near future.
Overall, Jack Kruger’s power bat and average profile behind the dish suggest the Angels may have themselves a serviceable backup catcher. There are some significant holes in his game, and that red-hot Double-A start this summer will almost assuredly normalize unless Kruger significantly refines his approach at the plate. He need not go too far with that, though; sneaky power and decent arm strength may be enough to get him to the big leagues as a 40-grade backup catcher at some point next season.
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