Fantasy Baseball: Why Are People Lukewarm on Jonathan Lucroy?

May 15, 2012


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While Milwaukee Catcher Jonathan Lucroy doesn’t have as many at bats as some of the elite catchers in the league, his ownership in fantasy leagues (less than 30.0 percent of Yahoo! and 15.0 percent of ESPN leagues) is a bit puzzling.
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After all, he is hitting .323, which puts him ahead of all those elite catchers in that category.
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Lucroy hasn’t been a one-trick pony with merely a high batting average. It’s true that his eight runs scored and two home runs are far from elite numbers, but his RBI production (16) has been solid. So has his .845 OPS).
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Lucroy doesn’t appear to have the makings of a flash in the pan either. He had a solid 2011 season posting a .265-45-12-59-2 line. While he was much better in the first half last year (.280 average prior to the All-Star break vs. .247 following it), he pretty much just seemed to run out of gas hitting .188 in September. Prior to that decline he was hitting .279.
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Lucroy has had tremendous success against left-handed pitching. He hit .284 with a .735 OPS against southpaws in 2010 vs. .241, .590 against righities. Last year it was .291, .869 vs. .259, .662. So far this year he’s at .435, 1.197 vs. .292, .753.
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While he still hits lefties harder, it is an encouraging sign that some of his growth has come vs. right-handed pitching as well.
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Lucroy has been highly productive at home (.283, .722), but has really been masterful on the road (.381, 1.032).
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He has been inserted into the two-hole for the Brewers with Richie Weeks out. That should allow him to see plenty of at bats, and build on his counting numbers.
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I don’t expect Lucroy to continue hitting at the clip he currently is. His BABIP of .366 is significantly higher than his .312 career mark. He’s red hot right now though, hitting .378 for the month. Ride him while he’s hot. Even when he cools off, he should remain a productive hitter.
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