Could We Learn From Our Mistakes? The Ballad of Brett Lawrie

TORONTO, CANADA - SEPTEMBER 14: Brett Lawrie #13 of the Toronto Blue Jays arguer a call with third base umpire Todd Tichenor during MLB action at the Rogers Centre September 14, 2012 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Abelimages/Getty Images)

Brett Lawrie had a rough night last night.

In the first inning he was thrown out at second, trying to move up on an overthrow to first base. That one wasn't his fault, first base coach Torey Lovullo told him to go and, with two out, it was worth the shot of getting into scoring position. It was a great play by second baseman Mike Aviles to get to the ball quick and make a good throw to second.

In the top of the fifth, with two out, Mauro Gomez hit a routine ground ball to Brett. Instead of throwing to first, Brett decided to try to tag Aviles running from first to second. Aviles did a spin when Lawrie lunged at him and then ran on to third. It was a bad choice. The reason you make the throw to first is because first base can't avoid the tag. But if you are going for the runner you have to get in front of him, then if he dodges around you he'll be off the base path and you'll get the out. Lunging for him and missing put Brett off the base path and, well, you saw.

Not getting that out cost us 2 runs, 2 pretty important runs, the way the game went from there.

In John Lott's game story he has this:

Why didn't Lawrie throw to first?

"Out of the corner of my eye, he's running full speed at me, so I figure I can just go tag him and just run right into the dugout. I wasn't thinking too much about it," Lawrie said.

Too much of the time "I wasn't thinking too much" explains a lot about Brett Lawrie.

Then, in the 8th, Brett doubled driving Colby Rasmus home to tie the game. While on second, Brett almost got doubled off when Daniel Nava made an incredible catch of Adam Lind's fly ball (nice to see Adam hitting the ball hard again, he had a double and a triple, plus that hard hit fly). Small mistake by Brett to get too far off second on that fly, I didn't think it would be caught either, but, if it wasn't, Brett could have scored easy without being so far off the bag.

Right after that Yunel hit a ground ball to short, right in front of Lawrie. The rule is 'don't try to move up if the ball is in front of you'. Well, Brett did and was put out easy. Just bad baseball. Again from Lott's story:

Did Lawrie regret his dash for third?

"No, because Escobar ended up getting on first base and then got to second on a passed ball so it's the exact same thing," Lawrie said after the game.

As Lott notes, Yunel moved up on a wild pitch and, of course, there was no way to know that would happen so we were lucky to have "the exact same thing". And it wasn't the exact same thing, if Lawrie was still on second he could have moved up to third on the wild pitch.

What bugs me is that Brett isn't taking ownership of his mistake. You don't get the feeling he has learnt anything from it. If I'm manager, and he doesn't admit to the mistake (course, maybe he did admit it to Farrell, just not to the press), I'd sit him for a game. I'd say 'it is ok to make mistakes, it's not ok not to learn from them'.

Mistakes happen, especially to 22 year old players, but they have to learn. In the game thread, I said that I'd bet that Brett leads the team in being put out on the bases (and this team has Rajai Davis). In 21 steal attempts he's been put out 8 times. Not a good percentage. And he continuously makes bad decisions. Maybe it is too much Red Bull and he's too hyped on caffeine. Or maybe it is that he is 22 and has a lot to learn yet.

He hasn't had the best of seasons


G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB K SB CS AVG OBP SLG
2012 - Brett Lawrie 106 422 62 118 22 3 9 43 24 67 13 8 .280 .325 .410


Power is way down, he had 9 home runs in 150 at bats last year. His walk rate is way down, 5.3% this year, down from 9.4% last year. Surprisingly his line drive rate is up 19.0% compared to 16.9% but he is hitting a lot more ground balls, 51.3% after 38.1% last year.

I still think Brett is going to be a very good player. Last season likely made us expect too much out of him. He's young, he's going to make these over aggressive mistakes, but I'd like to see some sign that he is learning from them.

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