After reviewing two players who were traded in 2018, we’re back to guys who are in the farm with a look at the Milwaukee Brewers’ top third base prospect: Lucas Erceg.
Lucas Erceg, 3B
AA Biloxi Shuckers: .248/.306/.382, 13 HR, 3 SB
2018 was arguably Lucas Erceg’s worst season as a pro, but that’s not to say it was a disappointment. Let’s start with the positives.
First, each year Erceg looks more and more like a defensive stud. Sometimes plays get away from him, but even when he doesn’t do the best job fielding a ball, he has no problem whipping it over to first with a ton of power and still getting even the fastest runners. As long as he keeps balls from getting past him, he has a chance to get the runner and he should only get better.
Next, he continues to show great patience at the plate. For having a reputation as a power bat, Erceg doesn’t strike out much which seems to be a rare skill in the system. Last year, he struck out just 16.1% of the time. He doesn’t walk a lot, but if he can take a few more walks to move his 7.3 BB% up, he should be a regular on-base specialist.
Now, Erceg’s stat line isn’t the greatest, but I think we can find reason behind it. In April, he was hit hard in the helmet with a pitch and missed the end of the month. Once he came back, he looked timid and hesitant at the plate. This shows in the boxscore with his .190/.255/.300 slash line in 26 games in May. After visually regaining confidence at the plate, he hit .296/.344/.493 with 9 homers in June and July.
It’s easy to take out one whole month and point out good stats, but watching him in May, he did look very shaken.
Erceg also has a problem with pull hitting. It’s good for his power but he pulled the ball 44% of the time, meaning he was hurt pretty badly by the shift.
Still, I think next year he’ll be back to proving he’s a valuable prospect who might even come up if Shaw should need to move to second again in 2019. He has good defense, even splits from the left side and is projected to have average or better power.
Statistics courtesy Fangraphs and Baseball-Reference