Matthew John Kata
- Bats Both, Throws Right
- Height 6' 1", Weight 185 lb.
- School Vanderbilt University
- High School St. Ignatius High School (Cleveland)
- Debut June 15, 2003
- Final Game August 11, 2009
- Born March 14, 1978 in Avon Lake, OH USA
Matt Kata has played five seasons in the major leagues as an infielder. He hit .231 in the 1996 World Junior Championships in which the US won a Bronze. Kata was picked by the Minnesota Twins in the 20th round of the 1996 amateur draft. He did not sign and opted instead to go on to college. He hit .310 and slugged .379 as a freshman. In his sophomore season, he batted .300 with a .432 slugging percentage, 18 steals and 61 runs. In 1999, Kata hit under .300; overall, his college average was .297. He was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 9th round of the 1999 amateur draft.
Kata debuted professionally with the South Bend Silver Hawks and hit .261/.328/.365 in 78 games. Returning to South Bend in 2000, he hit .255/.327/.367 with 82 runs, 9 triples and 38 stolen bases in 50 attempts. Kata moved up to the Lancaster Jethawks in 2001 and batted .296/.355/.419 with 80 runs and 30 stolen bases in 38 tries. He was 7 for 16 with 2 walks and two doubles in 4 games for the El Paso Diablos.
In 2002, Kata performed very well with El Paso, as his batting line was .298/.341/.443. He scored 95 runs and had 9 triples while moving to second base. Matt led the Texas League in at-bats (578), runs and total bases (2567). He was 9th in batting average and tied for second in hits, one behind Chad Tracy.
Kata split 2003 between the Tucson Sidewinders (.289/.327/.448 in 48 games) and the Diamondbacks. He hit .257/.315/.420 in 78 games for the Diamondbacks. On June 30th, he had a five-hit game, tying the franchise record, and only was a triple shy of a cycle.
Kata hit .450 in spring training in 2004 and became Arizona's starting second sacker when Roberto Alomar was injured. He hit .247/.301/.364 in 42 games before he dislocated his shoulder on May 29th while diving for a ball. He did not play again that season.
Kata was 6 for 31 with the D-Backs in 2005 (but his 629 OPS was not much worse than in 2004). He returned to Tucson and hit .310/.329/.435 in 46 games. He was then dealt to the Philadelphia Phillies for Tim Worrell and cash. He batted .313/.340/.385 in 24 games for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons and was 1 for 6 in 10 contests for the Phillies.
Waived by the Phillies in early 2006, Kata was claimed by the Cincinnati Reds. Assigned to their Louisville Bats squad, Matt hit .263/.318/.429 in 113 games, moving primarily to the outfield. The Texas Rangers signed the free agent that winter but he hit just .186/.250/.300 in 31 games for Texas in 2007 and was waived again. He was claimed by the Pittsburgh Pirates, who assigned him to the Indianapolis Indians. After batting .265/.339/.449 in 13 games for the Indians, he was called up when Chris Duffy went on the disabled list. When Jose Bautista was injured, Kata began seeing some action at third base, alternating with Jose Castillo. When Bautista came back from the DL, Kata was returned to Indianapolis. He was hitting .278/.338/.458 for Indianapolis when he was called back to Pittsburgh when Masumi Kuwata was designated for assignment. In all, Kata hit .250/.258/.386 in 47 games for the Pirates in 2007.
Kata signed with the Colorado Rockies for 2008 but failed to make the team out of spring training. He was sent back to the Pirates for future considerations in late March and assigned to Indianapolis.