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Saturday, October 28, 2017

2017 FANTASY BASEBALL POSTSCRIPT: JONATHAN LUCROY CATCHER FREE AGENT

Boy did that go all wrong.  When it came to the always shallow catcher position leading into 2017 fantasy baseball, one of the more trusted/stable options seemed to be Jonathan Lucroy.  Habitually hitting .280-plus with solid power and even a few steals thrown in as a bonus, Lucroy looked to be a nice investment for all those reasons and for being able to hit in an offensive haven in Texas with the Rangers.  Well it looked like all those years of catching caught up to Lucroy in 2017 as he was simply abysmal at the dish as he hit all of .242 with 4 homers in 281 at-bats with the Rangers before they shipped him off to the Colorado Rockies at the July 31 deadline.  While Lucroy's average perked up after the deal (.310), the power remained absent as he hit just 2 more home runs in 142 at-bats.  Combined together, Lucroy hit a composite .265 with all of 6 home runs despite playing in arguably two of the very best offensive parks in baseball.  Those are some scary numbers to say the least and it speaks to how Lucroy could very well be on the fast track toward decline.  Before you jump fully into that line of thinking however, it needs to be said that Lucroy's advanced numbers tell a bit of a different story.  For one thing, Lucroy's .286 BABIP was unlucky and way down from his .322 mark the year prior (hence the average hit).  Also Lucroy vastly improved his strikeout rate in going from 2016's 18.4 K/9 to a tiny 10.6 K/9 last season.  Drawing walks at a very good 9.6 BB/9 rate further validates the notion that Lucroy was simply unlucky when it comes to the offensive side of things.  If Lucroy in fact were to be declining, his strikeout rate would rise (indicating a slower bat), and the walks would dip as well (impatience setting in).  There was none of that last season though and so Lucroy stands a decent chance of posting a comeback campaign in 2018.  Just take into account Lucroy’s future ballpark as he makes his way into free agency. 

2018 PROJECTION:  .278 10 HR 70 RBI 65 R 2 SB  

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