He showed vast improvement at the plate in 2004 at Ogden, recording a .286-5-30 mark before going out with a broken hand after 34 games.
Then in 2005 at Columbus, simple ground balls suddenly became unplayable. After an error, it seemed to affect his next play and the harder he'd try to shake it, the worse it got.
Finally, it was decided to move him to the outfield. However, no sooner had he settled in he suffered a hernia. They had to operate to repair it and Luke's season was over. He finished with a .229 average but added some power, smacking nine home runs and knocking in 53.
In 2006, Luke reported in the best shape of his life. There were no more thoughts of infield play for him as he'd been assigned to left. Later moved to center he was making the plays and contributing offensively.
He doubled his home run output to 18, banged 27 doubles and led the organization in triples with nine. He also set a career-high with 82 runs batted in.
They began working him out as a catcher in the Arizona Instructional League where he showed aptitude for the position.
The position change didn't affect his batting and, starting behind the plate at Inland Empire, the 22-year-old from St. Louis went hitless in the opener, then proceeded to have three hits in each of the next three games. He wound up going 9-for-18 including three home runs, one triple and three doubles, driving in nine runs. He had a batting average of .500 and a slugging percentage of an incredible 1.278.
Of course, no one could keep that pace up but May finished second in the Dodgers system in home runs to veteran John Lindsey's 30, slugging 25 of them for the Sixty Sixers to lead the team. Remarkably for a catcher, he was second in runs scored (81), fourth in runs batted in (89), and eighth in hits (130) and slugging (.465).
He is a free swinger, striking out 100 times at Columbus and 130 times for Inland Empire. And, while he is working hard, he is still not smooth behind the plate. But they'll tell you that while he definitely has things to learn- mostly, blocking balls in the dirt, he's getting better there, too. After all, he's a beginner at the position.
Luke has played four different positions in four years since drafted out of a Missouri high school in 2003. He began as a shortstop, was moved to left field, made his way to center and then behind the plate.
However, he's an athlete, which is why they thought he may be able to handle the move back of the plate. He certainly has the arm for it. And something else -- his work ethic. Few if any players in the system are more devoted to the game and are willing to put in the time that it takes to get better at it.
So, while at this time at least, nobody's claiming he's the next Russell Martin, but he's a kid with some talent to watch and a work ethic to go with the talent.
Lucas James May br tr 6-0 190 Born- October 24, 1984 Obtained- Selected in eighth round of 2003 draft year team ave obp gm ab r h 2b 3b hr bi sb 2003 GCL .252 .350 48 159 19 40 8 0 0 10 11 2004 Ogden .286 .329 34 147 25 42 5 2 5 30 4 2005 Col .229 .267 99 385 46 88 14 2 9 53 5 2006 Col .273 .332 119 450 76 123 27 9 18 82 14 2007 InEm .256 .313 128 507 81 130 25 3 25 89 5