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Journal: Jonathan vs. the volcano
Brewers catching prospect tours his new surroundings in Hawaii
By Jonathan Lucroy / Special to MLB.com
Jonathan Lucroy, a third-round pick in 2007, hit .342 in 61 games with Helena of the Pioneer League.
Catcher Jonathan Lucroy was selected by the Milwaukee Brewers in the third round of the 2007 draft. Assigned to Helena of the Rookie-level Pioneer League, the University of Louisiana product immediately impressed by hitting .342 in 61 games. The Brewers have sent him to Hawaii Winter Baseball this year to further his professional education. He'll be periodically posting his thoughts on playing baseball in paradise for the North Shore Honu.
Send Jonathan an email
Hi everybody, my name is Jonathan Lucroy. I'm a catcher and I am here in Hawaii playing for the North Shore Honu. The Milwaukee Brewers were kind enough to send me out here for the winter ball season to allow me work on some things and hopefully get better. I'm actually one of the few rookies in the entire league. At the beginning of this year, I was playing college baseball at the University of Louisiana. So as you can tell, I am fairly new to the whole professional baseball experience. I'm only 21 years old -- a lot of the guys here are two to three years older then me and have much more experience.
After being drafted I was sent to Helena, Montana to play for the Helena Brewers in the Class A Short-Season Pioneer League. It was a wonderful experience, and I learned a lot of things about professional baseball and how it's different from the college game. Montana was very different from my hometown in central Florida -- I'm from a small town called Umatilla. If anybody has heard of this town, please email me and let me know! Not too many people have.
Back to paradise. Hawaii is a wonderful place to play winter ball. There are so many things to do here! Renting scooters, surfboards and bikes are a common activity. A few days ago I rented a bike and went for about a five-mile ride around Honolulu and Waikiki. Many of the other guys do that as well. We have all been pretty busy though. For our first trip we went to Maui, which is only about a 20-minute plane ride. We played three games before taking a bus up into the rain forest, which was absolutely unbelievable. It was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. Waterfalls on the sides of the mountains, crystal clear streams and lush tropical forest all made for a truly rewarding sightseeing trip. We also went snorkeling over an extinct volcano -- actually half of an extinct volcano. It was a half-moon shape and consisted of aged volcanic magma. It was really beautiful and unique to see and experience; the fish were as colorful and diverse as I've ever seen as well. I've never been snorkeling in the ocean before, so it was a completely new experience. Later, we drove up to the very top of a dormant volcano and got to take a peek in the crater. There were several cones in the crater itself that looked still active but thankfully were not. Later on in the season we will be going to the big island, Hawaii, to play at Hilo. I will write about that later.
Our baseball team here is unique as well. We have players from the Astros, Phillies, Reds, Brewers, Marlins, Pirates and Tigers. We also have several guys from Japan. These players all have big-league experience in Japan, so they are all pretty solid. All in all, our team is very good. Our record is one of the best in the league and we are getting better. All the guys here are great -- like me they're here to get better and have fun in paradise. Not having fun here would be a really tough thing to do, considering the circumstances. Playing baseball in paradise, go figure.
If anybody has any questions, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll do my best to answer a couple of them in my next posting. Mahalo (thank you) and Aloha!
Jonathan Lucroy is an catching prospect in the Milwaukee Brewers organization and a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.
Hello, everybody. This week, I'll be answering some of your questions and sharing some of my experiences of the past week with you. First, I'll answer some of your questions.
One general question a lot of people have asked me is about the difference between college ball and pro ball. First and foremost, of course, is the caliber of play. The skill level is so much more refined here. Pitchers are able to hit spots more consistently, with movement and velocity. Hitters don't miss pitches they swing at, and there aren't many errors. Some differences, though, have nothing to do with playing.
As a Minor Leaguer, you have to be worried about two things -- baseball and your social life. School isn't even a factor; no tests, studying or homework are included in professional baseball. Your social life can become a factor, if you let it. You have to be mature and professional enough to know the right thing to do. I know of guys who have let their social life become a factor, and it's affected their performance.
The focus it takes to play this game professionally comes day to day because you may have one day off in a month. Every day, you play, and unlike college you don't practice. In college, you play four games a week, and the games are very different from pro ballgames.
Special to MLB.com
UMATILLA - When Jonathan Lucroy agreed to play winter-league baseball, he expected to see hundreds of pitches coming at him. What he didn't expect was hundreds of e-mail messages.
Lucroy, 21, has come a long way since graduating from Umatilla High School in 2004. He excelled as a catcher for the University of Louisiana-Lafayette for three seasons and was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in the third round of the 2007 Major League Baseball draft.
Now, after batting .342 in a half-season in a rookie league, he is playing baseball in paradise and writing a journal about it. Lucroy's journal, written in Hawaii, has been published the past two Mondays on the Minor League Baseball Web site, milb.com.
"Hawaii is a wonderful place to play winter ball," Lucroy writes.
Lucroy is one of the youngest and least-experienced players in the league but is the league's only player writing a journal.
"I met a guy who works for MLB.com while playing in a showcase in 2005. [Recently] he wrote me an e-mail asking me to write the journal," Lucroy said.
Lucroy has plenty to write about and is well prepared for it. In college he took several writing courses and majored in environmental and sustainable resources. That background has helped him write about Hawaii's ecology.
Jon comments on college and proball and wraps up the year this week.
Great answers to good questions.
Not surprisingly, his teams dominated all year. He's had such a great year with many more to follow.
I wonder who that Karen from Florida might be?
Dat his mama.
Jonathan Lucroy was nice enough to answer some questions from some of the readers here at BrewersNation. Here's what he had to say:
As a third-round pick it's obvious you were highly regarded by the Brewers front office, but are you surprised by the attention you've gotten from fans in various Brewers blogs and online communities? Furthermore, did you expect to be fielding interview requests as soon as your first off-season as a pro?
I would say yes, I was very surprised by the fan attention I recieved. I'm from a small town in central florida where we only have about 2500 residents so I'm not used to the attention that I have been getting. Although in college I did recieve some. I try not to read the online blogs and such just because baseball is such a mental game and although I am mentally tough, sometimes the things that are written can affect your performance if you let it one way or the other. I know of a couple guys that I played with that let some negative things a fan said get into his head and it bothered him to a point where he went into a bad hitting slump. Although, my parents try to read them and they tell me some of the things. Pertaining to your second question, I've actually already done a photo shoot and interview for our local newspapers, and our local magazine here in central Florida. I really don't worry about the media just because I'm willing to work with them as much as I can because I don't believe in being a self-centered athlete who thinks he's better then anybody else. I'm willing to share my experiences.
On Friday, former UL baseball standout Jonathan Lucroy leaves for spring training with the Milwaukee Brewers in Phoenix.
Lucroy got what he called a "tune-up" for spring training on Saturday at the Ragin' Cajuns' annual Fan Day at M.L. "Tigue" Moore Field. He helped lead the Alumni team to a 4-1 win in an exhibition game against the current Cajun team.
"This place is real special to me," said Lucroy, Milwaukee's third-round pick in the 2007 amateur draft. "I came here for three years. I lived here for three years. I love it.
"I grew a lot as a player and a person, and a lot of these people out here I consider my family."
Baseball experts rave about the leadership of West Virginia Power catcher Jonathan Lucroy, whose teammates voted him captain before the season.
Some say it is his most valuable asset, even more valuable than his arm or his bat. That is notable considering he hit .342 and threw out 43 percent of base stealers in his rookie season last year.
"I take it very seriously," Lucroy said of his role. "I try to be as much of a leader as I can."
Lucroy led with his actions Thursday, when he went 4-for-4 in West Virginia's 10-3 win over Augusta (Ga.) on Buck Night at Appalachian Power Park.
by Jacob Messer
Daily Mail sportswriter
Tourists send seven to Greensboro
Asheville again features most players in Sally League All-Star Game
By Tim Britton / MLB.com
There will be plenty of Tourists at the South Atlantic League All-Star Game on June 17 in Greensboro, N.C.
NewBridge Bank Park will be swarming with representatives from the Sally League's best team as the Asheville Tourists (Rockies) boast seven All-Stars for the second straight year.
The group is headlined by starting pitcher Jhoulys Chacin (9-1, 1.84 ERA), who leads the league in wins. Fellow hurlers Joey Williamson (1-0, 1.36 ERA) and Randall Taylor (league-leading 19 saves, 1.96 ERA) will join Chacin on the Southern Division squad.
Infielders Everth Cabrera (.304, league-leading 38 SBs) and Darin Holcomb (.327, 8 HRs, 43 RBIs) and outfielders Michael Mitchell (.318, 21 SBs) and Brian Rike (.270, 11 HRs, 37 RBIs) also will make the trip from Asheville, while Greensboro skipper Joe Mikulik will manage the South for the second consecutive season.
First baseman Michael Jones (.345, 4 HRs, 35 RBIs) and shortstop Yamaico Navarro (.271, 27 RBIs) of the Greenville Drive (Red Sox) round out the South's infield, and Charleston RiverDogs (Yankees) catcher Jesus Montero (.308, 6 HRs, 40 RBIs) will start behind the plate. Jason Heyward (.332, 7 HRs, 27 RBIs) of the Rome Braves (Braves) gets the starting nod in right field.
Savannah Sand Gnats (Mets) designated hitter Jordan Abruzzo (.316, 21 RBIs) fills out the starting lineup for the South.
The second-place RiverDogs have four All-Stars, while the Augusta GreenJackets (Giants), Columbus Catfish (Rays) and Greenville Drive each will send three representatives. Rome, Savannah and the Kannapolis Intimidators (White Sox) have two All-Stars apiece.
The Northern Division is headlined by a quintet from the first-place Lake County Captains (Indians). Starting pitchers Ryan Miller (7-0, league-leading 1.20 ERA), Kelvin De La Cruz (4-2, 1.40) and Ryan Morris (6-1, 2.30) all earned spots on the squad, alongside reliever Vinnie Pestano (12 saves, 1.64) and outfielder Roman Pena (.309, 36 RBIs). Lake County's Aaron Holbert will manage the North.
The hometown Grasshoppers (Marlins) will get the chance to show off their bullpen as relievers Andrew Battisto (3-0, 0.77 ERA), Corey Madden (3-0, 1.10) and Garrett Parcell (14 saves, 2.78) made the roster.
The left side of the infield is comprised of Hickory Crawdads (Pirates) with Bobby Spain (.318, 28 RBIs) at third base and Jose De Los Santos (.294, 12 SBs) at shortstop.
First baseman Miles Durham (.320, 9 HRs, 42 RBIs) of Hickory also made the team as a utility infielder. On the right side of the diamond, Bill Rhinehart (.319, 7 HRs, 49 RBIs) of the Hagerstown Suns (Nationals) is at first base and Matthew Cusick (.331, 5 HRs, 22 RBIs) of the Lexington Legends (Astros) will man second.
West Virginia Power (Brewers) catcher Jonathan Lucroy (.318, 8 HRs, 28 RBIs) earned the nod behind the plate. Lakewood Blue Claws (Phillies) left fielder Michael Taylor (league-leading .359 average, 8 HRs, 41 RBIs), Power center fielder Lee Haydel (.274, 21 SBs) and Suns right fielder Michael Burgess (.260, league-leading 12 HRs, 38 RBIs) will start in the outfield for the North.
Lakewood's Michael Durant (.252, 10 HRs, 24 RBIs) will be the the designated hitter, giving the BlueClaws two starters among their four representatives. West Virginia also will send four to Greensboro, while Hagerstown, Hickory and Greensboro each have three All-Stars.
Despite holding down second place in the North, the Delmarva Shorebirds (Orioles) will only have two players at the game.
Tim Britton is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.
Awesome! Thanks for the info!
Is anyone surprised that Jonathon Lucroy was named the starting catcher of the South Atlantic League Northern Division All-Star Team? I'm not. Attaboy!
WAY TO GEAUX LUC!!!