The Brewers just beat the Cardinals in game 1 of a huge 3-game series, and I am very happy, along with the rest of Brewer nation. Especially on a night like tonight, where the Brewers were able to beat a good team while getting almost no production from their big stars. Consider: Rickie Weeks, injured. Ryan Braun, 0-5, big time error. Prince Fielder, no hits in the first 9 innings (although he did have a big hit in the tenth), and should have been charged with an error. The two biggest hits in this game came from the red hot Corey Hart (a third-inning two-run homer) and Casey McGehee (tenth-inning RBI double), two big stars from last year who have been a little more disappointing in 2011.
But one guy who I feel has been overlooked, even as the supporting cast has taken the spotlight lately, is Jonathan Lucroy. Tonight, Lucroy quietly went 2-4 with a big RBI and a run scored. It’s kind of the way it’s been for Lucroy this season – putting up solid, unspectacular, largely unnoticed numbers. On the season, Lucroy is batting .286/.326/.406 with 8 homers and 48 RBIs. Since the Brewers’ spectacular streak started a couple weeks ago, Lucroy has gone 13-38 with a homer and 9 RBIs. Again, solid, but no one is really talking about it. Consider that Lucroy has batted almost exclusively 8th this season – his RBI numbers could be significantly higher if he had been batting higher. I always wondered why Roenicke didn’t give Lucroy a shot in the 5-hole when there was so much trouble there.
You might think that a .286 batting average with 8 homers and 48 batted in isn’t all that spectacular. Remember, though, that Lucroy is a catcher. Among catchers in all of baseball with 300 ABs, Lucroy ranks fourth in batting average, behind only Brian McCann, Yadier Molina, and Alex Avila, who were all all-stars. His 48 RBIs are the third-most by an NL catcher – once again, mainly from the 8 spot in the order.
In the field, Lucroy has been as advertised. He has thrown out 26 percent of runners this season. Not a fantastic number, but serviceable. Anyone watching him has seen that he is very good at blocking balls in the dirt. He has also done a good job handling the Milwaukee pitching staff – a staff with two newcomers.
Now, remember that Lucroy is only 25, he is in just his second major league season, and he was hurried to the majors last year because of an injury to Gregg Zaun. It’s difficult for anyone to hit .285 in their second season, but few expected it from a catcher who never had a major offensive reputation in the minors.
The Brewers have been lucky enough to have a lot of major contributors this season, but I’m gonna go ahead and say that Jonathan Lucroy is the Milwaukee Brewers’ unsung hero.
Filed under: The Brewers