Jack Kruger was drafted by the Angels in the 20th round of the 2016 draft (606th overall) for $395K after helping lead Mississippi State to an SEC Championship. He worked his way through the minors to become the best catching prospect in the Angels system and often ranked in their top twenty prospects. He hit .265 over 323 minor league games and 5 seasons before being called up. He worked his way up through the minor league system and was a non-roster invite to several spring trainings. Here is one of his home runs from Spring Training.
Here's a 3-run HR from Jack Kruger, the #Angels top catching prospect, which I'm posting because @FabianArdaya just showed me how to do this. pic.twitter.com/OiglH3nYke— Jeff Fletcher (@JeffFletcherOCR) March 11, 2019
He won several awards in the minors, including being named a CAL Mid-Season All-Star in 2018 with the Inland Empire 66ers, and in the same year was also a MiLB.com Organization All-Star. In 2019 he was a SOU Mid-Season All-Star with the Mobile BayBears, who moved and became the Rocket City Trash Pandas in 2020.
Krugers debut was overshadowed by another move the Angels made on May 6th, DFAing Albert Pujols. Kruger was called up in correspondence with catcher Max Stassi being put on the seven day Injured List due to a concussion, freeing up a spot on the 40 man roster for Kruger.
Fielding: 1 Game / 1.0 Innings / 1 TC / 1 Putout / 0 Assists / 0 Errors / 4 Batters Faced
Best Performance of the Year:
May 6, 2021
The sole game that Kruger played in the Majors this season would by default stand out as his best performance last season. On May 6, 2021, he made his Major League debut as a defensive replacement for Kurt Suzuki in the top of the ninth inning. While he played one inning behind the plate, and faced four batters, he was unable to record a plate appearance. He was credited with a putout, where Austin Meadows struck out looking, and caught Steve Cishek for the entirety of the inning.
The day after making his Major League debut, May 7th, Kruger was designated for assignment to make room for Drew Butera, who the Angels acquired from the Texas Rangers in exchange for cash considerations. The Rangers then claimed Kruger off the waivers from the Halos and after several other moves, he spent the remainder of the season with Round Rock Express, Texas’ AAA affiliate. Kruger played in 46 games for Round Rock, with a .267/.314/.376 slash line.