Kruger Makes MLB Debut for Los Angeles Angels

Published 7:00 am Sunday, May 9, 2021

STARKVILLE – Major League dreams came true for California native Jack Kruger in Anaheim Thursday (May 6) night.

The catcher from Calabasas, California, who spent 2016 helping Mississippi State baseball capture an SEC Championship, made his MLB debut Thursday night for the Los Angeles Angels. Kruger is the 62nd Diamond Dawg to reach Major League Baseball.

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Kruger made his first Angels appearance as a defensive substitution, replacing Los Angeles backstop Kurt Suzuki in the top of the ninth inning of Thursday night’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays.

Kruger is the fourth former MSU student-athlete from the 2016 SEC Championship squad to make his big-league debut, following Dakota Hudson (2018), Nate Lowe(2019) and Brent Rooker (2020). He is also the tenth Diamond Dawg to make his first MLB appearance since 2016, which ranks No. 2 in the SEC during that time.

Drafted by the Angels in the 20th round (606th overall) of the 2016 MLB Draft, Kruger was part of a 11-player Diamond Dawg draft class, tied with the 2019 team for the program record. Kruger played in 323 games over five seasons of Minor League Baseball before being called up to the major league squad and hit .265 over that span.

A first-team All-SEC selection, Kruger was key for MSU during its 2016 league title run. Seeing time in the designated hitter role and behind the plate, he led the team in doubles (19), finished second on the squad in on-base (.435) and slugging percentage (.550) and third in batting average (.344) and home runs (8).