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Underrated Lucroy key for battered Brewers

May 15, 2014

Underrated. That’s the term some many have used to describe Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy.

As in, the most underrated catcher in baseball. Or, among the most underrated players in the major leagues.

The most recent use of this description came Wednesday afternoon via ESPN baseball writer Jerry Crasnick. A scout he talked to took it a step further, calling the fifth-year catcher the “most underrated player in the National League.”

Underrated or not, Lucroy is emerging as a star for the Brewers and may be the most important player on the roster at the moment.

The team has been battered by injuries of late, with third baseman Aramis Ramirez on the 15-day disabled list with a hamstring injury, right fielder Ryan Braun working his way back from an oblique injury and center fielder Carlos Gomez serving a three-game suspension while resting an ailing back.

That leaves Lucroy to carry a bigger load.

The good news for the Brewers is that Lucroy can do it. He’s off to a good start as the club’s biggest offensive threat over the last week.

Lucroy is 7-for-20 over his last six games with one home run, six RBIs and two walks, and he delivered a key two-run bases-loaded single in Tuesday’s victory over the Pirates. For the season, Lucroy is batting .311 with two home runs, 15 RBIs and 12 doubles.

His 1.2 WAR entering Wednesday’s game was second only to the Giants’ Buster Posey among NL catchers.

Much of that is due to Lucroy’s above-average defense behind the plate, but the fifth-year catcher continues to improve at the plate each season, while increasingly becoming an important presence in the Brewers’ clubhouse.

As the Brewers look to maintain their spot atop the NL Central standings with a thin lineup, Lucroy’s production will be key.

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