Brett Lawrie. Who wouldn't have razor sharp confidence in this guy. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
I was so much looking forward to seeing Brett Lawrie in a Jays' uniform this weekend, but with the bruised wrist, I'm going to have to be patient, as much as I don't want to be. Apparently the hand is very swollen, so maybe it won't be until later into next week before we see him.
I really think it is time for him. That doesn't mean I don't think he'll struggle at times, all young players struggle. In fact you could take out the word 'young' in that sentence and it would still work. But I don't think there is much more for him to prove at Vegas.
Brett hit .349/.424/.746 in May at Vegas. Management told him that they wanted to see him take more pitches so he took 14 walks in May, compared to 4 in April. He is seeing more pitches per at bat. And course when he is swinging he is crushing the ball. It must be hard to take pitches when you know you can hit the ball like he has been.
I know it is Vegas and offensive numbers are inflated there, but the way he is going it is more just the Vegas effect. He is actually hitting a little better on the road (.375/.436/.663) than he is at home (.336/.397/.689) though the whole PCL is a hitter's league. Vegas is just a little more exaggerated of a hitter's park than the other spots in the PCL.
As well as a great bat, Lawrie is faster than you would think he'd be. He has 11 steals at Vegas and has only been caught once. I got to see Lawrie's speed this spring. In a spring training game Brett hit an easy ground ball to Derek Jeter but beat the throw to first. The umpire didn't see it that way but I'm sure he was safe. Jeter isn't the swiftest SS but it was a routine play. I and Derek too I'm sure, never considered that Lawrie might beat it out, until he did.
Everyone is concerned about his defense, I saw it, it was clear he had a lot to learn, but he has lots of range for a 3B and a strong arm. He'll make some errors, third basemen tend to, they have a long throw to make and a lot of bang-bang plays. But he'll learn to be pretty good. I know they wanted him to learn the position in Vegas and I'm sure he has, but there isn't anyone better to help him work at it than Brian Butterfield. I'm sure he can help Brett put on the finishing touches to his defensive game.
I'd like to see the Jays give him 350 or so at bats, this year, and let him get accustomed to the majors. If he struggles, leave him. Let him know he is our guy and he'll play even if he has a couple of bad games or even a bunch of bad games. Let's face it, it would be hard for him to be worse than EE, Mac and Jayson Nix have been. Right now our 3Bs are batting .183/.240/.303. If given a bit of a chance, I can't imagine Lawrie being that bad.
Put him out there and leave him out there, so he doesn't have to be looking over his shoulder. To me, the way you cause young players problems is by bouncing them up and down. I don't know about you, but I'd find it hard to do my best if I was worried about being turfed back to Vegas all the time.
If they do give him a bunch of at bats, then, next season, he might be the real deal out there. We've been keeping at .500 and just a couple of games out of the race with scar tissue playing third. If we were even league average at third we'd be at least a couple of games better.
So, Brett, heal up the quick or you know, rub some dirt on it, and get up here