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Petr Čech

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Petr Čech

  • Bats Left, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 10", Weight 185 lb.

BR Minors page

[edit] Biographical Information

Petr Čech was the first position player raised in the Czech Republic who has played in the minor leagues in the USA. Pavel Budský and Jakub Toufar had pitched previously in the minors; Jakub Hajtmar had signed a professional contract before Čech but had not played in a minor league game until after Petr. He later won a batting title in Germany.

In the 2004 Extraliga, Petr hit .252/.341/.315 as one of two 17-year-olds on the Arrows Ostrava. Čech was the primary Czech catcher among three used in the 2005 Baseball World Cup, going 1 for 8 with 3 walks, 3 strikeouts and a double; he made no errors. In the 2005 season, the teenager batted .336/.397/.454 for Arrows Ostrava and was among the league leaders in hits (40, tied for 8th), total bases (54, 9th), RBI (26, 8th) and runs (33, 5th).

He signed with the Cincinnati Reds in 2006. In the Extraliga that year, he batted .285/.328/.338; he tied for fifth in hits (39) and tied for fifth in runs (26). The next season, he was 2 for 10 with two walks for the Arrows, spending much of the year in the USA. He also was with the Czech national team in the 2007 European Championship; he hit .154/.154/.154 and fielded just .864 with two passed balls and failed to throw out any of the seven attempted base-stealers. The Czech team was later stripped of its wins because Čech, Toufar and Hajtmar were ineligible.

Čech made his US debut with the 2007 GCL Reds and hit .308/.333/.423, though he struck out in 7 of 26 at-bats. He played four games at catcher and four at DH. In the qualifiers for the 2009 European Championship, Petr helped the Czechs advance by batting .286/.333/.357 as their starting catcher; he threw out the only player who tried to steal. Čech went 1 for 15 for the host Czechs in the 2008 World University Championship. For the 2008 GCL Reds, Petr batted .235/.316/.265 in 14 games.

Čech hit only .154/.209/.154 in 17 games for the 2009 GCL Reds and was 3 for 9 with a walk for the Billings Mustangs. He then joined the Arrows Ostrava for the Extraliga postseason, going 8 for 25. He was 1 for 4 for the Czech Republic in the 2009 Baseball World Cup, his lone hit coming off Chu-Chien Hsu. He split catching duties with Radim Chroust and Jakub Voják.

For 2010, Petr signed with German powerhouse Buchbinder Legionaere Regensburg (along with Czech hurler Boris Bokaj) . Hitting cleanup on Opening Day, he was 6 for 10 with a double in a doubleheader against the Mannheim Tornadoes. He finished the year at a stellar .456/.484/.561 with 27 runs and 26 RBI in 28 games, fielding .978 and even pitched a shutout inning. He won the southern Bundesliga-1 batting title (.031 over Dennis Kelly), tied Kelly for 9th in RBI, led in hits (52, two over Matt Vance), was the hardest batter in the loop to fan (1 K in 114 AB), was 8th in slugging (between Robert Gruber and Sascha Lutz) and ranked 7th in OBP (between Sam Whitehead and Lutz). He batted .385/.417/.519 with 13 runs in 13 playoff games as Regensburg won the pennant; he had two runs and a RBI in the decisive win over the Heidenheim Heideköpfe in the finals.

He was 1 for 9 with a double in the 2010 European Championship, splitting the catching with Voják. His lone hit came off Belgium's Yannick Sel. In 2011, his batting line was .365/.432/.452 with 27 runs and 24 RBI in 24 games for Regensburg. He fielded .984 and pitched two shutout innings, fanning four of six batters he faced. He was 9th in average (between fellow backstops Simon Gühring and Kyle Botha), tied for 3rd in RBI, was 3rd in hits (39, behind Evan LeBlanc and Nils Hartkopf) and tied Lutz for 5th in runs. He remained productive in the postseason (.391/.420/.565, 11 RBI in 11 G), tying Vance for the most hits (18) and Phil Ortez for second in RBI; Regensburg won another title.

Čech batted .386/.467/.602 for the 2012 Legionaere, scoring 33 and driving in 22 in 22 games while fielding .991. He was 9th in average again (between Jeff Beachum and Josh Petersen), tied LeBlanc and Peterson for 8th in hits (34), was 3rd in runs and was 8th in slugging. Regensburg won a third title in a row. He starred for the Czechs in the 2012 European Championship, hitting .400/.483/.440 with four runs and three RBI in seven games. He played error-free ball and threw out 4 of 7 who tried to steal on him. He had the game-winning single against Sweden, off Christian Staehely to drive in Jakub Malik.

He was 1 for 7 as the starting Czech backstop in the 2013 World Baseball Classic Qualifiers. Back with Ostrava in the Extraliga for 2013 after his time in the US and Germany, he hit .377/.461/.543. He was 5th in the league in average, tied Malik for the hit lead (61), tied for 8th in homers (6), tied Tomáš Polanský for 4th in doubles (12) and was 5th in RBI (between Alex Derhak and Jakub Sládek). He batted .377/.468/.615 with 34 runs and 36 RBI in 35 games for Ostrava in 2014, placing among the league leaders in pretty much offensive department: homers (7, 4th, between Daniel Mráz and Richard Sázavský), total bases (80, 4th, between Malik and Mráz), hits (49, 5th), average (5th, between Sládek and Aleš Navrátil), slugging (3rd, trailing Sládek and Matěj Hejma), walks (22, 10th), OBP (7th, between Tom Ward and Mráz), RBI (4th) and runs (tied for 7th with Jan Pojer and Sládek). He fielded .993 and threw out 38.7% of those who tried to steal, second to only Derhak.

Alternating between catcher (where he split time with Martin Červenka) and DH in the 2014 European Championship, he struggled at .185/.261/.333. He had 3 RBI in the 8 games, all on a homer off Greece's Andy Orfanakos. In 2015, he hit .383/.447/.558 to finish 10th in the Extraliga in average, tied for 3rd in doubles (12, even with Mráz) and tied for 3rd in triples (3). He fielded .995, best of any of the regular catchers in the loop. He batted .286/.423/.619 with 6 runs and 7 RBI in six playoff games.

Čech was the DH for the Czech team in the opener of the 2017 World Baseball Classic Qualifiers in Mexico, drawing a walk from Mark Serrano but going 0 for 2 in a 2-1 loss against the hosts. Against Nicaragua, he replaced Mike Cervenak at first after Cervenak had left for a pinch-runner. In the bottom of the 10th, with a 4-4 tie, he singled off Jonathan Loaisiga but was erased when Sládek grounded into a double play; he finished the event with a .500 OBP as a result. Červenka did all the catching for the Czech Republic.

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