The Brewers have an elite player. One of the best and most impactful players in the league. But, until this season, Jonathan Lucroy didn't get much due.
Now, he's finally being considered as an MVP candidate at the All-Star break. Speaking of the All-Stars, he'll be starting for the National League too, but only because of an injury to the Cardinals' Yadier Molina.
Lucroy can do it all, is the top guy in the league at framing borderline pitches and has a WAR (wins against replacement) of 6.9. That's the stat-head version of the stat closest to resembling your actual value to the team, since winning is pretty much all that matters.
Lucroy is playing so well that Fox Sports 1 analyst Gabe Kapler called it "poetic justice" that Lucroy was getting the start. Cardinals fans got so upset that Kapler even issued a response.
"I said that it was "poetic justice" that Lucroy would be starting the all-star game. Obviously, that was a compliment directed at Lucroy and the season he's had. I stand behind by assertion that he deserves it based on his work 100%," Kapler wrote in a Tweet.
"Those of you with familiarity of my background know that I'm not mean spirited and wouldn't celebrate an injury no matter who it was. This certainly wasn't the best timing or use of he phrase in general and I fully acknowledge that fact."
As for Lucroy, he's hitting .315 with nine homers and 44 RBIs at the break. And that's after slumping off of late. For a while, he was hitting over .340 and leading the NL in hits.
He's catching nearly everyday, which puts a lot of wear on a player, especially in the warmer months of the season. But he's holding up strong and is one of the premier defensive players at one of the most important defensive positions.
Know the name
Lucroy might not be a name that a lot of people know. But he's a name they should start knowing and, as the season rolls on, he'll be talked about more and more in these MVP discussions as long as the Florida native who played college ball at Louisiana-Lafayette continues to hit.
Because, while defense is certainly important, offensive stats stick out easier for voters, especially when it comes to an MVP award.
Lucroy is in the hunt, he will just need a little more power and to move that batting average back up over .320 to remain a legit candidate.