The Lawrie Enigma

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I want to like Brett Lawrie, but every year everyone else seems to like him, making me not like him. If only he didn’t have such a spectacular rookie “year” in 2011 maybe he’d be ranked normally. He’s not really overrated either because he’s ranked over 100, #104 and #106 overall on Yahoo! and ESPN respectively, but it’s just that people keep expecting this guy to “break out” when I think we’ve pretty much seen what he’s got.

Positives
1. He’s only 24 years old
2. He has provides speed and power
3. 2B eligible!
4. Increased BB rate 2nd half last year
Negatives
1. He gets injured all the time
2. He bats towards the bottom of the order
3. His 17% HR/FB ratio his rookie year was double his past 2 years
4. He hits so many ground balls

A lot of his injury perceived injury risk is from the time his reckless fielding style, “Lawrie fell approximately six feet onto a concrete floor while attempting to make the catch and also had his right leg hit an unprotected metal pole on the way down.” That’ll hurt anyone. For a while. Okay yeah but he also had oblique issues, rib, and hamstring issues over the past 2 seasons…okay so I’m not sure whether to name him injury prone or just he got wrecked on that one catch last year, but I wouldn’t say he’s the healthiest guy. I see some writers optimistically project him for 20/20 season. He’s not hitting 20 HRs. Not with the 48.5% ground ball rate he had last year or the 50% ground ball rate the year before. I would say 15HRs would be the maximum amount of HRs he can hit, I mean he’s only ever hit 11 HRs in a season. He hit much better in the second half of the season last year going 30/6/32/7/.283. And if we extrapolate that over a full season…you should never do this. How a player hits the previous year tells us a lot of things, but don’t expect a hitter to “double” his production value if we cherry pick his stats from a small sample size. Lawrie is actually the perfect example of why you should never do this! But if I just go ahead and ignore my advice, he’d only be a 12/14 player!

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He hits in a hitters ballpark and in a strong line up. Where he bats in the Blue Jays line up may depend more on how healthy the other players are. At the beginning of last year, when everyone was healthy, Lawrie batted 6th in the order. Not ideal for his runs and rbis. It also hurts his stolen base chances batting at the tail end of the line up. He also had This year he’s projected to bat around there again, which doesn’t bode well for him. But when people started getting injured he got to move up and by september he was batting 3rd! Of course he was batting with guys like Kawasaki, Sierra, DeRosa, Goins…stop me when you recognize any of these players. The good news is the organization trusts him enough to experiment him batting 3rd. The bad news is he won’t be when the Blue Jays play their actual players.

I feel a little bad writing this piece cause I want Lawrie to succeed and it’s not like I’m exactly going out on a limb saying that he’s overrated. I’m just saying that you can probably get players who will give you similar if not better value much later in the draft. I wish the local Canadian and Blue Jay player the best of luck. I hope I’m wrong.

Where I got my facts, look at them, make your own decision. 1. 2.

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