Jonathan Lucroy hit his seventh home run for the Texas Rangers on Wednesday in a 6-2 win over the Oakland A’s.

That becomes more impressive when you stack it next to another number: 15.

That’s how many games Lucroy has played in a Texas Rangers uniform. The two-time All-Star catcher, recall, was acquired Aug. 1 in a non-waiver trade deadline deal from the Milwaukee Brewers.

Lucroy‘s Rangers tenure is just getting started. He has an eminently affordable $5.25 million club option for next season that Texas is sure to exercise.

But with scarcely more than two weeks under his belt in the Lone Star State, the 30-year-old backstop is already producing like the elite talent the Rangers hoped he’d be.

The Rangers paid a hefty price for Lucroy and reliever Jeremy Jeffress, surrendering outfielder Lewis Brinson and right-hander Luis Ortiz, who became the Brewers’ No. 2 and No. 5 prospects, respectively, per

So far, it’s been a price worth paying. At 72-50, the Rangers hold a comfortable 6.5-game lead in the AL West.

Their plus-seven run differential, however, is easily the worst among serious postseason contenders. By contrast, the Chicago Cubs pace MLB with a plus-206 run differential.

Part of that can be pinned on a pitching staff that hovers in the bottom third in ERA at 4.30. But the offense has been hit by injuries to veterans Prince Fielder, whose career is likely over, and Shin-Soo Choo, who could be lost for the year with a fractured forearm.

Enter Lucroy, who has now clubbed more than half as many homers with Texas as the 13 he hit in 95 games with Milwaukee. Plus, he’s tallied 14 RBI.

He’s also clicked instantly with the Rangers staff, which might be the most important job for a catcher swapping squads at the deadline.

“The Rangers are now 8-4 with him behind the plate,” Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News noted Wednesday. “A bit more advanced: The staff ERA is 2.92 with Lucroy behind the plate; it is 4.43 with any other catcher.”

We’re squarely in small-sample territory, but Lucroy is among the game’s best pitch-framers overall, per StatCorner

He does his homework like a valedictorian hopeful, as Rangers skipper Jeff Banister explained to Grant:

You’d be hard-pressed to think anybody prepares in the same way this guy does. If you want to be great at your craft, there is a price to pay for it. He puts in the work. That type of work gains respect immediately. From what I’d heard and what I’d asked people about him, I knew he was serious about preparation, but I didn’t know that it was this extensive. He’s off the charts.

Lucroy is saying all the right things too, plausibly playing the role of humble contributor as opposed to deadline savior.

“It’s a really fun lineup to be a part of,” he said, per the Dallas Morning NewsAdam Grosbard. “They want to win, they play hard every day, they bring it every day.”

The Rangers have to fend off the Seattle Mariners and in-state rival Houston Astros for the division. The big-bashing Baltimore Orioles, Toronto Blue Jays and Boston Red Sox lurk in the East. And the Cleveland Indians, who Lucroy spurned before his trade to Texas, could be waiting come late October.

Combine Lucroy‘s steadying presence behind the plate with his eye-opening pop, though, and you have the blueprint for a difference-maker.

Now in his seventh MLB season, Lucroy has tasted the playoffs just once, in 2011, when he and the Brewers advanced to the National League Championship Series.

“I want to go to a World Series,” he said in January, per Tom Haudricourt of the Journal Sentinel. “That’s what all players want.”

If he keeps producing like he has been, that wish could be granted.


All statistics current as of Aug. 17 and courtesy of and unless otherwise noted.

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