Pirates' Kramer shows power stroke for Glendale

Pirates' Kramer shows power stroke for Glendale

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Kevin Kramer is healthy again, and the power stroke that he started to develop in Double-A in 2017 was on display on Tuesday afternoon in the Arizona Fall League.

Kramer, the Pittsburgh Pirates' No. 9-ranked prospect and the No. 7 overall second base prospect, hit his first home run of the AFL season as his home Glendale Desert Dogs beat the Peoria Javelinas, 3-2, at Camelback Ranch.


The blast, which came in the bottom of the sixth inning on an 0-1 slider from Bobby Poyner (Red Sox), proved to be a huge hit, tying the game at 2. Center fielder DJ Peters (Dodgers No. 17) then broke the deadlock in the bottom of the seventh, tripling and scoring on a sacrifice fly by Seby Zavala (White Sox).

"I was just trying to hunt elevation," Kramer said. "He made a really good pitch 0-0 and I knew I wasn't going to be able to get the barrel to it, that I couldn't do any damage to it, but then an 0-1 slider, and he hung it up there right in the middle of the zone."

Kramer on Fall League

That approach has worked wonders for Kramer. The left-handed hitter didn't notch a home run in 227 at-bats in his first pro season in 2015 and hit just four in 444 at-bats in the Minor Leagues in 2016. In his 2017 campaign, which he spent primarily at Double-A Altoona and was interrupted because of a broken hand in June, he went deep six times in 217 at-bats.

"My mentality switch from last year was more about driving the ball and being able to do a little bit more damage with pitches in certain counts and be more willing to risk that," Kramer said.

"As far as that's concerned, it's about getting a good pitch to hit first and foremost, because you're not going to be able to do damage with bad pitches. So getting a good pitch to hit and trying to drive it -- not necessarily trying to hit home runs or hit doubles, just drive it into gaps. And sometimes they go out."

Kramer's blast wasn't the only big one on Tuesday. Another came in the third inning when Braves No. 1 prospect and No. 5 overall prospect, right fielder Ronald Acuna of Peoria, blasted his first long ball of the AFL season, a two-run shot into the bullpen in right field off Glendale starter Mitch Keller.

Braves' Pipeline hitter of 2017

Otherwise, Keller, the Pirates' second-ranked prospect, did a solid job, giving up two runs on two hits in his four innings of work. Peoria starter Max Povse (Mariners No. 9) gave up one run on two hits and a walk in four innings, striking out three.

Other players with good games included Bobby Bradley (Indians No. 3), who singled in a run for Glendale, catcher Max Pentecost (Blue Jays No. 8), who singled and drew two walks for Peoria, and J.D. Davis (Blue Jays), who worked two walks and scored a run for the Javelinas.

Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.