Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Brett Lawrie Post

He's ridiculous.

He isn't just ridiculous in the way people of a certain vintage use "ridiculous" to indicate excellence or excitement, though that is obviously true. He is also ridiculous in that he is a mass of twitchy muscle fibers that just can't still, a cartoon character version of an ADHD kid. He makes me laugh - and not always with him. He is a walking spectacle, the living embodiment of "COME AT ME, BRO!"

But mocking an excitable 21-year old isn't my intention here. This post is all about praise for Brett Lawrie - Professional Hitter.

It is still quite early but Brett Lawrie can help, well, anything. Everything might be a better description. Look at the pitches and locations he has drive for extra base hits in his 60 PA big league career.

Inside, outside, upside down! Lefties try to sneak fastballs under his hands? MASHED! Try to get him off-balance with a slider when you're Michael Pineda? MASHED!

As the sample size grows to nearly worth mentioning, Lawrie still sits with a outside the zone swing rate under 20%. For somebody who both hits for power and limits strikeouts (as Lawrie looks like he just might) that is extremely positive.

The hits in huge spots are really something else entirely. Lawrie already ranks third on the Jays in WPA. Huge, huge hits from a kid too young and too dumb to know he's supposed to be scared.

The captain is just about ready to turn off the "Reasonable Expectations" sign - what kind of a ceiling can we graft onto Lawrie at this point? Ryan Braun? Sounds about right. Ian Kinsler might be a more accurate, if not conservative, guess. Speed and power with excellent plate control. I don't even know anymore.

The energy, the histrionics, whatever. He can hit. He is even better at the plate (so far) than most of us believed. It is like a dream. Growing menace, indeed.

Getty Image by Abelimages courtesy of Daylife. Pitch F/X data courtesy of Joe Lefkowitz.


  1. I think Kinsler's a good ceiling, but Braun would be an eerie comp, given Lawrie's starting with the Brewers, and possible future position switch to the outfield.

  2. Might be tough to reach Kinsler's level of strikezone control but it's a nice goal.

  3. I'd say Kinsler with a higher batting average is probably a reasonable expectation. Braun would be best case scenario. He's a top 3 hitter in all of the MLB.

  4. When the kid was going to come up, I predicted he'd be Ryan Braun...

    While Braun had 113 games in 2007 (his rookie year), and Lawrie is only at 18, here are their resumes


    Which one is which? Well I'll let you figure that out, but hey, that's some pretty decent company...

    Just sayin'...

  5. The right comp is Ryan Kesler. As in he talks EXACTLY like a Hockey player in his interviews; "I'll go to war with that guy any day of the week." You KNOW he's making the panties drop of 80% of the sports fans in this Country with that kind of dirty talk. Good for him, good for the Jays. He'll connect to a lot of people with that stuff.

    Good for the other 20% because he mashes and mean mugs. I'm here to be entertained.

  6. Lawrie is two years younger than Braun was as a rookie (21 vs 23). That's a huge difference.

  7. I don't see any reason Lawrie can't be as good as Ryan Braun. He may not have the raw power that Braun has, but it looks like he has better plate discipline and defense.

    Also, Braun was just finishing college at 21, not hitting successfully in the majors. Lawrie is way ahead of his development.

  8. I don't know where to post this, but I find it so fascinating:

    I can't believe 4 of the top 7 WORST offensive players in the ENTIRE MLB this year are recent Jays. I'm so excited about the future.

    Long live AA.

  9. 4 of the top 10, but hey, whose counting??

    Lawrie is a beast. Love his attitude. Although, I'm still waiting for a pitcher to drill him for his cockiness/swagger. A little bit too much disrespect to his game at this point. I prefer more of the classy approach, a la Barry Sanders. But hey, that's just me...I'm a Rugby player.

  10. I have to say that one of the awesome things about Lawrie thus far has been his ability to continually blow my mind when I expect to see him struggle. Is he "too young and dumb to know he's supposed to be scared?" I have no idea - but I do know that its been amazing to watch a guy come up and blast all the cynicism I held about what to expect from a 21 year old. The kid is crazy and regardless of what kind of player he ends up as, I'm fully on board with Gordie Dougie.

  11. Canadian Cillah. Love this dude. Triples machine so far, wonder if he can do that over a full year?

  12. @Humble Daddy: he did hit 16 triples in AA last year. Seems legit... Pretty cool skill to have. There aren't many other guys out there who can run fast AND consistently hit the ball hard enough to make that work.

  13. I think his ceiling is a mix of Ryan Braun and David Wright.


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