This tickled me when I saw it:
Lucroy's a catcher, but he's such a good hitter they have to make sure he's in the lineup almost every day! Which would have been a huge surprise to anyone, just a few years ago.
Lucroy appeared in the Baseball American Prospect Handbook three times: in 2008, '9, and '10. And the general tenor of the three reports were almost exactly the same:
- Brewers were thrilled to get him in the third round of the 2007 draft;
- Lucroy's bat is ahead of his glove;
- Doesn't have a strong arm, but is pretty good at throwing out runners;
- Needs some work on his pitch-calling, -framing, etc.
What did change was Lucroy's perceived value, as he moved from 16th to 10th to 5th in the organizational rankings. In 2010, Lucroy moved ahead of Angel Salome, for the first time, among the Brewers' catching prospects. What happened to Salome? He'd put up tremendous numbers for a few years in the minors, especially in Class AA. But his career stalled, largely due to injuries, and he's not played pro ball since 2011. It's a hard way to make a living.
Five years ago, the Brewers' top five prospects were Alcides Escobar, Brett Lawrie, Mat Gamel, Eric Arnett, and Lucroy. Escobar and Lawrie have become fine major leaguers, too. Like Salome, Gamel hasn't played at all since 2011. Arnett sports a 5.18 career ERA in the minors, hasn't even reached AA yet, and didn't pitch at all last year.
Oh, and that same year when Gamel and Arnett were ranked ahead of Lucroy? Lorenzo Cain was ranked just 8th among Milwaukee's prospects, and John Axford was 23rd.
And now just look at them all.