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Sunday, February 6, 2011

Previewing the 2011 Season: Jonathan Lucroy

At the beginning of 2010 Jonathan Lucroy could not have imagined that he'd be the Brewers everyday catcher by the second week of June. Yet that's just what happened, despite beginning the year in AA and having no less than three players blocking his path to the starting role in the Milwaukee.

Lucroy put together a decent season in AA in 2009 but he remained in Huntsville in 2010 because Brewers officials didn't want to demote incumbent Nashville catcher Angel Salome and they wanted both to continue to play everyday. With George Kottaras backing up Greg Zaun in Milwaukee, Lucroy probably didn't expect to see time in the Majors except as a September call-up.

Things changed quickly once the season began. He started the year with a bang, batting .452 in ten games for Huntsville before moving on to Nashville when Angel Salome found his career derailed by personal issues. After less than a month in AAA he found himself propelled to the Majors when Greg Zaun suffered a season ending shoulder injury on May 20th.

Lucroy made his Major League debut on May 21st. Frustrated with George Kottaras' inability to throw out base stealers, then manager Ken Macha turned to Lucroy. He seized the opportunity and served as the Brewers primary catcher from June 10 onward.

Lucroy took his new role seriously, putting in significant time off the field to learn his pitching staff and watch video of opponents to hone his craft. He even occasionally beat early-bird Macha to the stadium. He performed admirably in his primary role of handling the Brewers pitching staff. Considering the circumstances, Brewers officials didn't expect much else of him in 2010. Still, he put together a decent year at the plate for a rookie, batting .253 with 4 HR and 26 RBI in 75 games.

Lucroy is the Brewers catcher of today and tomorrow. He impressed almost everyone with how he handled his rapid ascent in 2010. He's smart and a hard worker, willing to put in the extra time needed to be a solid Major League catcher. Based on his minor league numbers, Brewers fans can hope for him to improve at the plate in 2011. After benefiting from outside circumstances, Lucroy swam when thrown into the rough waters of the Major Leagues. That experience undoubtedly makes him a better catcher and player entering 2011.

1 comment:

  1. We're pulling for you back home. Git r done.