For much of the 1990s and early 2000s, the Milwaukee Brewers’ catching position was a revolving door. Year after year, players were cycled into catch. Some had good offensive seasons like Dave Nilsson (who even appeared in an all-star game in 1999). Others were strong defensively or worked well with pitching staffs like Henry Blanco or Jason Kendall. But the team forever lacked a catcher who was an all-around contributor. In Jon Lucroy, the Brewers finally have found a player who can stop the revolving door.
The Brewers selected Lucroy in the third round of the 2007 draft and he quickly ascended into the major leagues. After an injury to Greg Zaun in 2010, Lucroy made a strong debut and was able to hold on to the starting job for the rest of the season.
With every season, his numbers have risen. After hitting only four homeruns during his rookie campaign, Lucroy has hit double digit homeruns in every other season. During 2012, he hit .320 in just 96 games due to an injury. Last season Lucroy struggled out of the gates to start the season batting just .235 through April. Then his bat caught fire throughout the rest of the season. Lucroy was able to finish with a .280 average and was able to lead all catchers with 82 RBIs. He was able to be a force in the lineup that lacked the star power of Ryan Braun and a healthy Aramis Ramirez all season long.
Behind the plate, Lucroy is a tireless worker. He is a student of the game who is constantly looking for ways to improve himself and his staff. While he does not have a rocket of an arm, he has thrown out 25 percent of the runners who have attempted to steal against him. In 421 career games behind the plate, he has only allowed 11 passed balls (7 of them coming last season). His veteran presence has allowed the young pitchers on the staff to pitch even better.
The club quickly showed their faith in Lucroy by locking him up to a multi-year extension that will keep him in a Brewers uniform at least through the 2017 season. With the scandals surrounding Braun, Lucroy has become one of the faces of the franchise. He is a complete player that the team can build around. There will not be a revolving door behind the plate anymore while he is around.
Statistics Provided by Baseball Reference