The Rangers exercised Jonathan Lucroy’s option for 2017. With the way he performed in the second half, could he finish as fantasy’s best catcher?
The Texas Rangers made two big trades before the deadline last season. One of which brought in outfielder Carlos Beltran. The other was for All-Star catcher Jonathan Lucroy. The latter performed well when he joined the team. As the team’s catcher for a full season, can he become fantasy’s No. 1 catcher?
In his six and a half seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers, Lucroy put up great numbers. He hit 79 home runs, 387 RBI and .284/.342/.436 in 2,838 at bats. He also had a 461:250 K:BB ratio, which equates to about 1.8 K:BB ratio. That is pretty good for a catcher.
The move to the American League West went well for Lucroy. While he only played in 47 games, 168 plate appearances, he hit 11 home runs, 31 RBI and a .276 average. His 30:14 K:BB ratio also contributed to his .345 on-base percentage.
With a better offense surrounding him, Lucroy was able to succeed. He hit primarily in the sixth spot, behind Beltran, Adrian Beltre and Rougned Odor.
Hitting behind the power guys will get him opportunities to see great pitches and drive them home.
Lucroy’s batted balls were better in Texas than Milwaukee. His ground ball rate dropped five percent while his fly ball rate rose 3.5 percent and HR/FB rate rose about nine percent.
He also spread the ball around more. His spray chart was 34.3/39.9/25.8 with the Brewers and 36.9/31.1/32.0 with the Rangers. Globe Life ranks better than Miller Park in runs and hits and is just points behind in home runs.
Looking at version one of my position rankings, I have Lucroy third, behind Buster Posey and Gary Sanchez. While some may say I’m drinking the Sanchez Kool-Aid, the power he displayed in a month looked real to me. If he doesn’t live up to those expectations, then Lucroy can move up to No. 2 with ease.
Eclipsing Posey is going to be a tougher challenge. He’s been Mr. Consistent at the catcher position for years. He averages 18 home runs, 88 RBI and a .306 over the last three seasons. Lucroy would have to have a career-best season to top that, but it’s possible with the Rangers.
Lucroy arguably has a better offense around him compared to Posey. If he can continue the success he had in the final two months with Texas last season, then he will undoubtedly be a top-five catcher, with top-three potential.