Shuckers' Erceg collects three more hits

Brewers No. 4 prospect plates run, continues torrid start

Lucas Erceg ranks sixth in the Southern League with a .474 batting average through four games. (Brian McLeod/MiLB.com)

By Marisa Ingemi / MiLB.com | April 8, 2018 7:56 PM

Lucas Erceg got a taste of Triple-A at the tail end of last season. He's playing like he wants to get back there as soon as possible.

The Brewers' No. 4 prospect doubled, singled twice, walked and drove in a run on Sunday as Double-A Biloxi rolled to an 8-0 victory over Montgomery at Montgomery Riverwalk Stadium.


Gameday box score


It's the second three-hit game of the season for Erceg, who went 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles on Opening Day. He's hit safely in seven straight contests dating to last year.

"I've been working a lot in the cages with my hitting coach to start the season," Erceg said. "I've been trying to work through the ball and stay on top of it. I'm focusing on keeping my top hand on top of the ball and swinging at the right pitches."

Video: Lucas Erceg drives in a run for Biloxi

Sunday's performance elevated the California native's OPS to 1.132. He shares the Southern League lead with nine hits and 12 total bases, a year after topping the Carolina League with 81 RBIs and finishing second with 207 total bases.

Erceg batted .256 with a .724 OPS and 15 homers with Class A Advanced Carolina, earning a September promotion to Triple-A Colorado Springs, where he went 4-for-10 with two doubles in three games. And after getting a brief sample of that level, he knows what he has to do to get back there -- and beyond.

"I'd never really experienced how fast a game can get," Erceg said. "Just the playing speed, and I realized that when I was at Triple-A. I wanted to focus on slowing the game down mentally and trying to do the little things right."

Erceg hasn't yet had to figure out how to adjust to Southern League pitching, focusing instead on his own approach at the plate.

"I'm still getting my feet wet," he said. "My focus is mostly on my first at-bat of the day and not the past."

The 22-year-old is a projected power hitter, having gone deep 20 times in his sophomore year at Menlo College. Selected by the Brewers in the second round of the 2016 Draft, he batted .400 in 26 games with Rookie-level Helena that summer to earn a quick promotion to Class A Wisconsin. 

Off to another fast start, Erceg is working on pitch selection.

"My hitting coach says you're only as good as the pitches you're swinging at," he said. "I take that to heart."

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Second baseman Dylan Moore also picked up three hits for the Shuckers, going 3-for-4 with a homer and pair of RBIs. Brewers No. 19 prospect Jake Gatewood also went yard in the victory.

Thomas Jankins (1-0) shut down the Biscuits over seven innings in his Double-A debut. The Worcester, Massachusetts, native retired 13 of 14 batters in one stretch and surrendered four hits and a walk while striking out six.

"He throws a lot of strikes and isn't afraid to get after guys," said Erceg. "As an infielder, you can't hope for anything more. He does his job and helped the team win."

Jankins skipped a level after going 9-8 with a 3.62 ERA over 141 2/3 innings with Wisconsin last season. 

Marisa Ingemi is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @Marisa_Ingemi. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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