Milwaukee Brewers Grades: Jonathan Lucroy
Aug 23, 2015; Washington, DC, USA; Milwaukee Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy (20) celebrates with teammates in the dugout after hitting a two-run home run in the first inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Jonathan Lucroy had a bad April. On the 20th, the catcher was sporting a .394 OPS and a broken toe. Injury to insult.
After missing all of May, Lucroy returned a better hitter, gaining steam as the season went on. From June onward, Luc hit .282/.342/.420 with seven home runs, a 105 wRC+, and an 8.5 BB%.
Still, Lucroy’s post injury ISO was a disappointing .138 when compared to his ISOs of 2013 (.175) and 2014 (.164). Things did however start to look up after June came to a close.
Beginning in July, when he was distanced from his injury, Luc hit .284/.352/.454 with six of his seven home runs in 248 plate appearances. That performance was good for a .170 ISO, and was in line with his solid 2013 campaign.
But a grade isn’t the story of post-injury or second half performance. All tallied, Lucroy hit just .264/.326/.391, with a drop in both batting average and power production. His late season performance may reflect well on 2016, but it doesn’t save his 2015.
Add to the mix the concussion that the catcher suffered to close out the year, and you have a potential recipe for skepticism going forward. Post-concussion symptoms are a real danger in Major League Baseball, and a catcher is particularly susceptible to recurrence.
Joe Mauer was essentially forced into first base duties after his concussion history, and his old teammate Justin Morneau long suffered from the effects of his own concussions.
All told, Lucroy was a solid defender as always, but below average with the bat. His statistics lend themselves to a better 2016, but his concussion will concern us until he proves we’re all blowing it out of proportion.
I do think that someone who ends a season on a high note deserves a better grade than someone with identical season stats who ended the year poorly. Maybe that’s unfair, but fading in the second half raises questions. Surging in the latter half does just the opposite.