Todd Alan Pratt (born February 9, 1967) is an American former Major League Baseball (MLB) catcher, playing from 1992 to 2006 and current manager for the Jupiter Hammerheads. He primarily served as a back-up catcher for most of his career. Pratt was the head baseball coach and athletic director at West Georgia Technical College (West Georgia Tech), a member of the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association from 2011 to 2016 and the owner/head coach of the Carrollton Clippers (formerly known as Douglasville Bulls), a summer wooden-bat collegiate team playing in the Sunbelt Baseball League from 2009 to 2016. He was a manager in the Miami Marlins organization for three seasons (Greensboro Grasshoppers (2017-18) and Jupiter Hammerheads (2019)). In January 2020, he was named commissioner of the Sunbelt Baseball League in metropolitan Atlanta, Georgia.
Pratt was drafted during the 6th round of the 1985 amateur draft. Considered a good prospect, Pratt skipped the entry-level Rookie League and instead was catapulted into the New York–Penn League, where Pratt, barely 18 and out of high school, spent most of his time facing Latin American players with years of professional baseball experience and older American players drafted out of premier universities. This appeared to be a mistake for Pratt, who batted .134 in his first professional appearance and was occasionally pinch-hit for with pitchers (who do not bat in the NY-PL), although he displayed outstanding defense.
The Red Sox refused to admit their mistake and have Pratt repeat the level in 1986, and instead promoted him to the full-season South Atlantic League. Pratt improved, however, and was easily the best catcher on the team, the Greensboro Hornets. He again played excellent defense and was a favorite receiver of Greensboro pitchers, and although his hitting had improved greatly from his debut season, he was still overmatched at the plate, batting .241 and striking out 114 times with only 30 extra-base hits.
He was again promoted in 1987, this time to the Florida State League, where he enjoyed the first full-success of his career. He received a lot of playing time in Spring Training with the Boston Red Sox and was again the best catcher for their A-ball affiliate Winter Haven Red Sox. At Winter Haven, Pratt batted a more-impressive .258 and lowered his strikeout total while continuing to play excellent defense.
Pratt was assigned to Winter Haven during the 1987 season by Boston to make room for another player on the 40-man roster and was never placed on the 40-man roster by December. Pratt had played three seasons in the minor leagues without being on a Major League 40-man roster. This made him eligible for the annual Rule V Draft, where he was selected by the Cleveland Indians. Rule V players have to remain on the selecting team’s Major League roster all season or be offered back to the original team in lieu of cash. Pratt played well in Spring Training and competed for a spot as the backup to Andy Allanson, but was beat out for the job by Chris Bando. Pratt was returned to Boston at the end of Spring Training.
Pratt was assigned to the Eastern League upon his return to the Boston organization in 1988. His struggles at the plate returned at the AA-level, with his batting average dropping to .225 with 110 strikeouts to go along with only 25 extra-base hits. His defense was still sharp and he was still the best catcher for the New Britain Red Sox, though it was beginning to become clear that Pratt’s days in professional baseball were numbered.
Finally admitting that they had made a mistake by having Pratt skip a level upon drafting him and that it had affected his development as a hitter, Boston officials decided to have him repeat the AA-level again. He returned to New Britain but fared no better, seeing his batting average finish at .228.
By 1990 the Red Sox had all but given up on Pratt. It was his last year under contract and he’d had a lot of upside but almost no success as a hitter. His prospect status long-gone, he received a lot of playing time in Spring Training with no chance of making the team, making it obvious that the Red Sox were showcasing Pratt for trading partners to move him out of the organization. There were no takers. The Red Sox considered releasing Pratt, but instead decided to send him back to New Britain to serve as a backup catcher and player/coach to tutor prospects Don Florence, Josias Manzanillo, Kevin Morton, Jeff Plympton, Paul Quantrill, and Scott Taylor.
Pratt became a six-year minor league free agent following the 1990 season, although he quickly signed a minor league contract with an invitation to Spring Training to return to Boston. The Red Sox sent Pratt to the International League to serve once again as a player/coach, this time working with Gar Finnvold, Mike Gardiner, Peter Hoy, Ken Ryan, and once again Manzanillo, Morton, Plympton, Quantrill, and Taylor. As the pitchers began reaching the Major Leagues, leaving the organization, or losing their prospect status, the need for a player-coach in Pratt’s vein dissipated. He became a six-year minor league free agent at the end of the 1991 season and this time left the Boston organization for good.