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As if this season hasn't been tough enough for the Milwaukee Brewers, on Monday night, they lost Jonathan Lucroy to the disabled list for four to six weeks. The catcher has a "boxer's fracture" that he sustained when, according to legend, a suitcase fell on it.
As those in shallow roto leagues were finding out, Lucroy has had a superb start to his 2012 campaign (.345/.387/.583, five home runs and two stolen bases in 151 plate appearances). He's been especially hot in May (.388/.409/.659, three home runs and both of those steals in 88 plate appearances).
Although fantasy owners should expect the 25-year-old's batting average to lose dozens of points before the season ends, they should be pleased with the apparent improvements in his game. Lucroy seems to be combining some power gains that he made last season with the controlled, aggressive approach with which he came to the big leagues. He's made contact on nearly 90 percent of the pitches he's seen. As the piece from Milwaukee's official site states, he's been locked in when he's hit with runners in scoring position.
The MLB.com piece also discusses the leadership role that Lucroy has taken on. The intangible benefits his presence has provided to the pitching staff could end up being reflected in tangible areas - the hurlers' numbers - too, in a negative manner. Roto players shouldn't necessarily consider making adjustments because of that possibility, though.
Martin Maldonado takes Lucroy's spot on the roster and will presumably serve as the backup backstop. This season at Triple-A Nashville, the 25-year-old has posted a .198/.270/.347 slash line. He hit .321 at that level last season and has some power. However, his 2012 BA is not in accordance with his track record, and his indicators don't support that kind of output.
George Kottaras, 29, will likely play the majority of the time. The left-handed hitter has a .217/.446/.435 slash line in 66 plate appearances this season. There isn't much to like about his prospects of hitting for average, but regular playing time should improve them. He also gets on frequently via the base on balls and hits for power.
Kottaras is the only beneficiary of this situation who warrants rotisserie interest. His familiarity with most of the pitching staff only adds to the edge that he has for the next month to month and a half. The home run output he could provide would probably be enough to offset the mild BA drain for those in deep leagues.
About Nicholas Minnix
Minnix is baseball editor and a fantasy football analyst at KFFL. He plays in LABR and Tout Wars and won the FSWA Baseball Industry Insiders League in 2010.
The University of Delaware alum is a regular guest on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio and Baltimore's WNST AM 1570.
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