Chicago White Sox: Who will emerge as the backup catcher?
Jonathan Lucroy’s veteran presence could really help the Chicago White Sox.
Jonathan Lucroy is a veteran catcher who the White Sox picked up off the scrap heap in February. Lucroy finished fourth in the NL MVP voting and making the All-Star team in 2014 as a member of the Brewers. He hit a career-best 24 homers and returned to the All-Star game in 2016 but since then his production has evaporated. The 34-year-old catcher has been passed around the league with short stints with the Rangers, Rockies, Athletics, Angels, Cubs, Red Sox, and Phillies. He rode the bench in Philly and never saw the field. With the Red Sox, he caught two innings but was not given an opportunity to hit.
Since his All-Star season, he has batted .254/.319/.348 with 10 home runs in 935 plate appearances. Not only has his offensive production taken a nose dive but his defense has deteriorated as well. In his years with the Brewers, Lucroy was considered one of the game’s best defensive catchers. He ranked among baseball’s elite in pitch-framing ability. However, in 2018 he led all American League catchers with 10 errors.
Injuries have played a part in his decline. After the 2016 season, he herniated a disc in his neck. He believes that caused the decline and said that it has been since corrected. The White Sox uniform will be the ninth jersey different Lucroy has collected over the course of eleven seasons.
So far the early returns have been promising. Lucroy was given the keys to the corvette on Tuesday. He got to catch the ace of the staff and Lucas Giolito’s first Spring Training start. He impressed at the plate going 2-for-2 which included a double. If Lucroy is able to turn back the clock, he is exactly the type of backup catcher Tony La Russa is looking for.