Erik Kratz, 33, catcher, Toronto Blue Jays
The Spring Training media guide says Kratz, who will turn 34 this year, is 6-foot 4-inches, 235 pounds. "Try 6' 5", 250," he says when shown his stats. Kratz, who towers over just about every big-league batter, owns every inch and every pound. Coming off perhaps his best season as a pro, smacking nine homers in just about 200 at-bats with the Philadelphia Phillies, he's trying out for the Blue Jays' back-up catcher gig, a role which might see him catch R.A. Dickey's famous knuckleball.
Instead of squatting for hours a day, Kratz puts himself through intense workouts all winter with the goal of being able to quickly shrug off or prevent the soreness that comes from catching bullpen sessions in the opening days of Spring Training.
"My work during the offseason allows me to stay healthy throughout the year," he says. "I haven't felt the age yet. I'm a young 33." After a warm-up, Kratz goes into a traditional weightlifting routine: squats, triceps extension, or bicep curls, depending on what day it is. But to cap it off, he grinds through an intense, 30 minute, interval routine when he's already gassed. Here's a look at one of his 30-minute circuits.
First, set an alarm to ring at 30 seconds, 30 seconds and one minute for a half hour.
Sledgehammer tire slams. "As many times as I can for 30 seconds."
TRX band pull-ups. "Feet on a block, back on the floor. Pull myself up for 30 seconds."
Plank sequence. "I'll start with a plank for a minute, then each time around, I'll switch sides."
If you can accomplish 10-12 cycles of the sequence in 30 minutes, you might be as strong as a big-league catcher.