Expanding on ESPN's Article on Brett Lawrie

Minor Leaguer in the Fanshot recommended me to do a Fanpost on this, so I shall.

Yesterday, ESPN published an article that praises the Jays' own Brett Lawrie. In the article, the author compared Lawrie's season to other major leaguers in history based on OPS. The author's cut-off point was 150 AB, .953 OPS, and players 21 years or younger. I will explain more after the jump.

The results the author look quite impressive:


That is some pretty impressive company, but as MjwW explained in the Fanshot OPS is not adjusted to league average, which fluctuates over the years. For example, a .950 OPS in 1915 could be as impressive as a 1.000 OPS in 2011 (not saying that's true, just an example). As such, one should use wRC+, which adjusts for these factors, instead of OPS.

So now I will look at how Lawrie compares to others players' seasons in history based on wRC+, not OPS. I will also replace 150 AB with 150 PA as the minimum. Finally, the cut-off point will be at 150 wRC+ instead of Lawrie's wRC+. With these considered, for players 21 years of age or younger (sorted using Fangraphs*) since 1910, these were the results I got (out of 576 total players 21 years or younger):

Year Name Team Age wRC+

1. 1959 Willie McCovey Giants 21 187
2. 1929 Jimmie Foxx Athletics 21 179
3. 1972 Cesar Cedeno Astros 21 168
4. 1953 Eddie Mathews Braves 21 166
5. 2011 Brett Lawrie Blue Jays 21 163
6. 1917 Rogers Hornsby Cardinals 21 163
7. 1996 Alex Rodriguez Mariners 20 162
8. 1929 Mel Ott Giants 20 161
9. 1981 Tim Raines Expos 21 161
10. 1952 Mickey Mantle Yankees 20 159
11. 1940 Ted Williams Red Sox 21 159
12. 1939 Ted Williams Red Sox 20 158
13. 2001 Albert Pujols Cardinals 21 158
14. 1942 Stan Musial Cardinals 21 155
15. 1955 Al Kaline Tigers 20 154
16. 1930 Mel Ott Giants 21 150


Well, that's even more impressive than the previous list. SSS aside, to be in the territory of Rogers Hornsby and Alex Rodriguez is quite something even if it's in 171 PA. I did find the results quite surprising, since I was expecting some outliers throughout the times since I thought there would have been at least one player on a hot streak through his first 150 PA, but after looking at this I guess not.

As an aside, I felt I should have looked at players with 150-250 PA in a season since 1910 (21 years or younger, of course), since it could be a SSS issue. This was the top 15 in wRC+:

Season Name Team Age PA wRC+
1. 1959 Willie McCovey Giants 21 219 187
2. 2011 Brett Lawrie Blue Jays 21 171 163
3. 1971 Rennie Stennett Pirates 20 165 138
4. 1921 Heinie Mueller Cardinals 21 193 135
5. 1968 Willie Crawford Dodgers 21 198 129
6. 2011 Salvador Perez Royals 21 158 127
7. 1965 Tony Horton Red Sox 20 183 127
8. 1982 Howard Johnson Tigers 21 173 125
9. 1945 Ed Stevens Dodgers 20 237 121
10. 1914 Edd Roush Hoosiers 21 189 120
11. 1916 Babe Ruth Red Sox 21 150 118
12. 2008 Pablo Sandoval Giants 21 154 117
13. 1947 Joe Garagiola Cardinals 21 228 116
14. 1955 Bob Hale Orioles 21 190 115
15. 1912 Eddie Murphy Athletics 20 155 114

Not as impressive of a list, but still very encouraging.

So yeah, there's a lot to get excited about Lawrie for the upcoming season and beyond.

* - Fangraphs had Shoeless Joe Jackson's date at 1889, while other sites have him at 1887. While this may be the result of a dispute in his birth date, I trust the other sites. As such, Joe Jackson was removed from the list.

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