Benjamin James Fritz (born March 29, 1981 in San Jose, California) is a minor league baseball player who was a first-round selection in the 2002 Major League Baseball Draft who last played in 2010 for the Lancaster Barnstormers of the independent Atlantic League of Professional Baseball. He was discussed in the Michael Lewis book Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game.
Fritz attended Oak Grove High School and Fresno State University. In 2001, he was a Summer League First-Team All-American. In 2002, he was the Western Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Year, a second team College All-American, and Western Athletic Conference All-Star.
He was drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the first round (30th overall) of the 2002 Major League Baseball Draft, with the pick obtained from the St. Louis Cardinals as compensation for the free agent signing of Jason Isringhausen. Fritz was one of twenty players Athletics General Manager Billy Beane decided he would draft in a perfect world (meaning if money was no object and no other teams were drafting).
Fritz played for the Vancouver Canadians of the Northwest League (Class A Short Season) and Visalia Oaks of the California League (Class A Advanced) in 2002. In 2003, Fritz played for the Modesto A's of the California League. In 2004, Fritz pitched for the Midland Rockhounds of the Texas League (Class AA).
Fritz had Tommy John surgery in 2004, which cost him most of the 2005 season, which he pitched for the Stockton Ports. Fritz began 2006 with the Rockhounds, and was promoted to the Class AAA Sacramento River Cats of the Pacific Coast League during the second half of the season, but he spent the entire 2007 season in Midland.
Blocked by other players in the A's system, Fritz was exposed in the 2007 Rule 5 draft, where he was selected by the Detroit Tigers in the minor league section. He split the 2008 season between the Erie SeaWolves of Class AA and the independent Lancaster Barnstormers of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball. Fritz last played for Lancaster in 2010.
In February, 2013, Fritz was signed to a minor league contract by the Los Angeles Angels, but was never added to a regular season team roster.