He was drafted as a shortstop, moved to the outfield and finally was handed a catcher's glove and mask and told, "Let's try it behind the plate."
That sort of conversion can only be successful with the right sort of candidate. As many have been give a shot at it as have succeeded and rarely has it ever worked as quickly as it had with Russell Martin.
In Mays case, his improvement as a catcher has come from long hours of hard work. Forcing yourself to throw your body in the path of a 90 mph fastball that is skipping off the plate takes some time to get used to.
He has always had exceptional power but for his first four years as a pro he has been a man in search of a position.
The whole thing seemed to come together in 2009, despite missing a good deal of the season with a broken hand. He missed most of June and July but still finished the season, his second at Double-A, with a .306 average, a .390 on-base percentage and an .848 on-base plus slugging, all career highs.
Then he climaxed his appearance with the USA team in the World Cup by slugging a three-run home run, then added a clutch RBI single in the seventh inning in a 10-5 win to top Cuba and bring the title home to the United States.
Assistant GM, Player Development De Jon Watson was impressed.
"Every game that he caught, they won," he said. "That was the big thing for me was that he was catching key game and guiding the pitchers to wins.
"When he had the broken had, it was the first time for me in almost two years where we had seen him really come full circle with his offense and defense. He was really catching he ball well and offensively his approach may have been he best it's been as a professional."
May was the Midwest High School Player of the Year n 2003 and played shortstop over the summer on a travel team that included Scott Elbert and Blake DeWitt. He signed as an eighth round selection and after being sent to the Gulf Coast League he led the league in assists and went hit .347 in his first 21 professional games before tapering off to .252-0-10.
He showed vast improvement at the plate in 2004 at Ogden, recording a .286-5-30 mark before going out with a broken hamate bone in his hand after 34 games.
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.
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 converting him into a catcher in the Arizona Instructional League that fall and 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, 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 seemingly became a prospect you couldn't ignore but his critics pointed out that struck out way too much, was a .250 hitter and had all sorts of trouble behind the plate.
Not throwing, he has always had an exceptional arm, but the passed balls piled up and he showed steady improvement in blocking balls in the dirt.
But one thing no one could criticize was 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.
Nobody's claimed he was the next Russell Martin, he was a kid with some talent to watch.
Invited to his first Major League camp and second Spring Training as a catcher, He quickly became one of the best catching prospects in the organization as he demonstrated for Dodgers manager Joe Torre with a game-tying, three-run pinch-hit homer in the ninth inning against the Red Sox in a spring game.
"I had heard about May," Torre said after May's homer in Ft. Myers. "He certainly is living up to his potential. He seems to be an offensive force. He's still learning behind the plate, but he has ability."
He was added to the 40-man roster but his numbers slipped in 2008 at Double-A Jacksonville before his breakout season at Chattanooga when he boosted his batting average 76 points, his on-base percentage nearly 100 points and his OBP from .676 to .858. The World Cup performance was then icing on the cake.
He's is a free swinger and will always collect a number of strikeouts although he is working on that, too. However, he's an athlete, which is why they thought he may be able to handle the move back of the plate.
May could have easily been ranked in the top 15 on this list. But if he can sustain the level of play he reached in 2009, he won't be listed on the post-season prospect list many more times. He'll be listed on the Dodgers', or some other MLB team's, active roster.
LUCAS 'LUKE' 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 InEmp .256 .313 128 507 81 130 25 3 25 89 5 2008 Jax .230 .294 107 392 54 90 27 1 13 54 6 2009 Chatt .306 .390 68 235 32 72 18 1 6 32 3 --------------------------------------------------------------- Totals .257 .318 603 2275 333 585 134 18 76 350 45