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The Season That Was: Brett Lawrie

Brett Lawrie didn't have the season we were predicting, but it wasn't a terrible year, considering he is just 22

Brad White

After a 2011 season where he lost time to a couple of hand injuries and to a cautious management, who didn't want to call him up from the minors too soon, we all had pretty high hopes for Brett Lawrie. He hit .347/.414/.647 in Vegas and then .293/.373/.570, with 9 home runs and 7 stolen bases in 43 games with Toronto, So I guess we can be forgiven for being overly optimistic in out hopes for his 2012.

And boy were we.

Our season would have had been so much better if he had the .500 slugging average that most of us expected to see, considering that, after Bautista went out if the injury, Edwin was our lone consistent offensive force. Unfortunately, his batting line was this:

2012 - Brett Lawrie 125 494 73 135 26 3 11 48 33 86 13 8 .273 .324 .405

Not terrible, considering he was only 22, but not what we were hoping to see, but then a lot more entertaining than Jayson Nix.

Fangraphs had him at a 2.9 WAR, a lot of it coming from his defense, giving him a value of $13.1 million to the Jays. Baseball Reference had him at a 4.1 WAR. He had a ,312 BABIP, similar to his .318 mark from last year.

Comparing to 2011, Brett had fewer walks, 6.2% from 9.4 % (it seems like everyone on the team walked less this year), struck out less, 16.0% from 18.1%. We all know his isolated power dropped through the floor, .132 from .287. Brett had more line drives, 20.0% from 16.9%, many more ground balls, 50.2% from 38.1% and fewer fly balls, 28.8% from 44.9%. Fewer infield flies, 9.0% from 13.2% and fewer of his fly balls became home runs, 9.0% from 17.0%.

Lawrie hit lefties (.319/.361/.452) much better than right-handers (.256/.310/.389).

He hit better at home (.302/.355/.457) than on the road (.248/.297/.359).

With RISP Brett hit .275/.333/.396.

By month Brett hit:

April: .278/.327/.378

May: .287/.316/.404

June: .310/.371/.513

July: .267/.302/.378

August: .100/.100/.100 (10 at bats)

September: .237/.315/.361

Now if he could have hit like he did in June all season, we would be happy.

Brett's favorite team to face? He hit .308/.357/.868 against the Brewers and .417/.462/.667 against the Phillies, both in just 3 games. Among the AL teams, he hit best about the A's, .360/.385/.480 in 7 games. Least favorite? Brett hit .192/.241/.231 in 6 games against the Indians.

His longest hitting streak was 9 games, way back in April. Longest on base streak was 17 games. Longest streak without a home run was 29 games, stretching from July 24 to September 27, including DL time. His longest hitless streak was 4 games.

His defense was terrific. He made some errors (17, giving him a .955 FA), but that's a long throw to first base. Errors are going to happen. I thought he showed as much range as anyone in the league. He had a UZR/150 of 8.1, which would put him 4th in the AL. Mike Moustakas had a 15.2, Adrian Beltre 15.1 and Alberto Callaspo 8.8.

Lawrie was great on the overshift, it really suited him. I wonder if we'll be doing that next year. I guess it depends on who we hire. I think we'll miss Butterfield's work with Lawrie but, hopefully, whoever ends up coaching the infielders will continue to work help him get better. Third base is really his position, he was built for it.

Lawrie is never boring. There is always something going on with the guy. Charging umpries, aggressive base running, stupid base running, picking bad moments to steal, making highlight reel plays at third, making ill-advised dives into the stands or over railings, leaps to the plate on walk-off home runs. He is always entertaining and we watch to be entertained.

He could pick his moments better, and I'm sure he will, given time and age.

I imagine his power numbers will pick up. I thought he wasn't picking his pitches well. He has good enough hand-eye coordination that he can make contact with most pitches, but that doesn't mean he should be trying to make contact with every pitch. It would be nice if he would get the walks and the power back to where he was at last year. I think he'll end up being, more or less, the player we are hoping for, it just might take a little longer than we'd like.