Strikeouts, walks and Jonathan Lucroy

Jonathan Lucroy will get some MVP votes and he should have won a Gold Glove in 2014, but this is apparently Yadier Molina‘s world and we all suffer live in it. That is Major League Baseball’s official slogan, is it not? Nevertheless, I don’t really want to get into a ring and duke it out with a Cardinals fan, so I’m going to stop my sarcastic tone right now…at least during this post.

What I’m trying to say is Lucroy is a heck of a ballplayer. He’s improved in almost every season, and part of that has been because he’s been able to stay healthy. Since his wife dropped a suitcase on his hand in 2012, he’s played in 300 out of 324 possible regular season games over the last two years. That’s crazy for a position player, but for a catcher, that’s certifiably insane.

But let’s get back to his improvement, particularly when it comes to strikeouts and walks.

G BB% K% OBP
2010 75 6.1% 14.8% .300
2011 136 6.2% 21.2% .313
2012 96 6.4% 12.7% .368
2013 147 7.9% 11.9% .340
2014 153 10.1% 10.8% .373

Each season, Lucroy has drawn more walks than the last, and has reduced his strikeouts since 2011. He’s doesn’t swing at pitches outside of the strike zone nearly as often and has even taken more strikes in the zone.

Lucroy saw 2,551 pitches last season. Of the 146 hitters who qualified, only 27 saw more and none of them were catchers. However, that’s a bit of an unfair assessment because no catcher came even close to the number of plate appearances Lucroy racked up. So, because Lucroy’s being more selective at the plate, his on-base percentage has skyrocketed and he ended up with top 20 finish in the OBP race in 2014 (is that even a thing?).

The 28-year-old catcher has also stopped swinging and missing. Just like his BB%, his whiff rate has fallen each year in the bigs. With that being said, though, when Lucroy does strike out, he does so on a pitch he misses on. He struck out 71 times last season and 46 of those were on swinging strikes. But that just means his eye at the plate is fantastic.

There’s so much more I can say about the man, but that’s for another time. And I’m sure if Lucroy continues to decrease his strikeout rate and increase his walks, I’ll be right back here next year writing about the same thing. I’ll try and think of a better title, though.

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