Jonathan Lucroy improving consistency at plate despite power outage

BOSTON — Jonathan Lucroy has not homered this season. 31 games in, it’s the longest stretch to start a season he’s gone with hitting a home run. But that doesn’t mean he’s having a bad season at the plate.

It’s actually quite the contrary. After signing late with the A’s and only getting a limited number of at-bats in spring training, Lucroy has boosted his average up to .295 entering Monday night’s game against the Red Sox.

Lucroy’s hitting this month in particular has been very impressive, batting .367 through his first ten games of May. He credits a clean up of his mechanics and keeping it consistent as a key for the improved numbers over the past couple of weeks.

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“I’m feeling better,” Lucroy said. “I’m not where I want to be yet. Being competitive. That’s all that matters to me right now.”

A consistent double-digit home run hitter for most of his career, including 24 in 2016, Lucroy has been around the game long enough to where he feels no pressure to hit his first one of the season. When it comes, it comes.

“It will return. I don’t necessarily dwell on it,” said the nine-year veteran Lucroy. “I just want to go up there and put together good at-bats and hit the ball hard. Usually when that happens, I’m pretty successful at it.”

He’s certainly hitting the ball hard. According to Fangraphs, Lucroy is third among all major league catchers with a hard-hit rate of 41.8%. Hard-hit rate is a newer stat. It’s significance is not completely known, but if you hit the ball hard often, you’re gonna find hits more times than not.

Batting eighth or ninth most games, Lucroy hasn’t had many opportunities to drive in runs, with only eight on the season. Manager Bob Melvin said the catcher could be moved up in the order at some point in the season, but for now, it’s a good spot for him.

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“He’s been really consistent at the bottom,” Melvin said. “It seems like he’s gotten more and more comfortable after a short spring for him. He’s done a nice job for us. When you have that kind of average down at the bottom of your lineup, it means you have some length to it.”

Melvin also …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Sports


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