Brewers draft other half of Lucroy battery
MILWAUKEE -- The Society for American Baseball Research found 15 sets of brothers who formed the pitcher-catcher battery in a Major League Baseball game, most recently Larry and Norm Sherry of the Dodgers from 1960-62. The Cardinals' Walker and Mort Cooper are the only brothers to do so in a World Series (three straight from 1942-44) or an All-Star Game (1943-44).
The Lucroy boys would love to add their family name to those ranks, and as of Wednesday, they've got a shot.
When the Brewers made East Carolina right-hander David Lucroy their 20th-round selection on Wednesday, it actually marked the third time Milwaukee had called that surname. His older brother, Jonathan Lucroy, was the team's third-round pick in the 2007 MLB Draft, and he was in the midst of his first full Major League season when the Brewers drafted David out of high school in the 29th round in 2011. David opted for college at East Carolina, and four years later, he's once again just a signature away from joining his older brother in the professional ranks.
"It is still the most exciting and exhilarating feeling in the world," said David Lucroy, who is six years younger. "Unbelievable. Absolutely unbelievable. I'm glad they picked me where they did. I'm absolutely going to go for it."
He has just one suggestion before the team tenders a contract.
"The Brewers might have to rewrite their bullying policy," David said.
That quip was the first clue that the Lucroy brothers like to crack jokes at the other's expense. Back in 2011, Jonathan Lucroy touted his kid brother by saying that "he can't hit anything, but he can throw it a mile."
On Wednesday, David returned the fire by saying he couldn't wait to spike a fastball in front of home plate to see how his brother handles it.
Meanwhile, their father, Steve Lucroy, was already dreaming about the day his sons appear on the same diamond.
"If we can get past the fight they might have on the pitcher's mound, it ought to be very, very interesting," said Steve, who has three sons with wife Karen. Their middle son, Matthew, is a firefighter/EMT.
"Hopefully, David can move forward with this," Steve Lucroy said. "I think he can. He's very capable. Hopefully, one day it can happen, because that would be fantastic."
David Lucroy was not the only kid brother selected during the three-day Draft. Among the other picks with family ties to the Major Leagues was prep outfielder Kyle Tucker, who went fifth overall to Houston. His older brother, Preston, is already in the Astros' outfield.
"We had a pretty good feeling [the Brewers would select David Lucroy again]," Jonathan said. "The Brewers said they'd like to take him later on if we get to the point where we have a spot. They know his makeup. They know he's a hard worker. A lot of teams don't know about guys."
David Lucroy posted a 2.18 ERA in 13 starts, plus three relief appearances as a senior this season for an East Carolina team that won its conference before falling in the NCAA Regional Tournament. A ground-ball pitcher who occasionally fights his mechanics (according to dad's scouting report), David Lucroy notched 47 strikeouts vs. 29 walks and allowed only one home run in 66 innings.
Both Steve and Jonathan Lucroy are eager for Brewers player-development officials to get their hands on David.
"Right now, he's 88-92 [mph]. He's a sinkerball guy, with a curveball and changeup. His mechanics are really not where they should be," Jonathan Lucroy said. "His mechanics are a little messed up, because he touched 95 in high school. In his freshman year in college, he was an All-American. He's changed some stuff around. Why? I don't know.
"His mechanics has caused him to lose some velocity. So we're going to try and change him and get his mechanics right, so we can see if we can get his velocity back up to where it was before when he was really successful."
David Lucroy expressed no regrets about waiting four years to join the pro ranks. Two years ago, the brothers were roommates while David played for the Lakeshore Chinooks, a Northwoods League team that plays during the summer just north of Milwaukee.
"I'll tell you, my college experience was unbelievable," he said. "I had four years to develop as a player and really as a person. I'm real, real close to graduating and getting my degree [in political science], and I don't think for a second I made the wrong decision."
David Lucroy is listed as 6-foot-1, 210 pounds. He said he's not worried about playing in his big brother's shadow, even though Jonathan was fourth in the National League MVP Award voting last season.
"We play two different positions and we're similar, but we're two different people," David said. "I love my brother to death, but he knows I'm a better baseball player than him, so it's not a big deal."
"My brother, he cares about me a lot, and he takes care of me," David said. "I just hope I can get up there quick enough and throw to him."