There are many interesting things in Jayson Stark’s ESPN.com piece on Brett Lawrie– among them an attempted explanation of how the Milwaukee organization soured on his brash personality, and a dubious listing of the 13 players who, at age 21 or younger, OPS’d (in must larger sample sizes, most time) as high or higher than Lawrie’s .963 last year, which comprises eleven men enshrined in Cooperstown (Mel Ott shows up twice!), Albert Pujols, and “Hal Trosky, whose spectacular career path was cut short by migraines.”

Most interesting of all, however, are the plaudits reserved for the Jays young third baseman by Stark and the people he spoke to for the lengthy feature.

“Wow,” said one longtime scout.

“Oh my God,” said another.

“Speed, power, attitude, hustle — and he’s got every intangible you could ever want in a player,” said another.

“He’s going to be a great offensive force,” said yet another. “And defensively, I don’t know what quality you’d want in a third baseman that he doesn’t have.”

And then you run across Blue Jays broadcaster Buck Martinez, a man who has seen many a ballyhooed young player hit the radar screen in his 45 years in professional baseball. But want to know where Brett Lawrie ranks? Here were the first words out of Buck Martinez’s mouth when we asked him about the new third baseman in Toronto:

“He’s got more ability than George Brett, and I was George’s roommate in Kansas City,” Martinez said. “Now obviously, he doesn’t have 3,000 hits or batting titles or an MVP award, so he’s got a long ways to go. But he runs and he plays with the same kind of intensity as George did. And that’s as high a compliment as I could pay any player.”

Oh, and there’s more.

Stark himself says Lawrie’s is “another name that should never again be left off your handy dandy list of Baseball’s Brightest Phenoms.”

Jays manager John Farrell says that he’s “part of the heartbeat of this team,” noting that “Leadership, to me, doesn’t have an age.”

“In time,” Farrell says, “as long as health is on his side, he’s going to put himself in position for everybody to take notice of who Brett Lawrie is.”

Even Lawrie himself seems to understand that he’s got something special.

“It felt like I was trying to be changed,” he says of his time in the Brewers organization, “like they were trying to change me, like I was the same as everybody else. I’m not the same as everybody else. I’m Brett Lawrie. It’s like, everyone’s different. You can’t try and make everyone be the same.”

Stark writes:

Asked if the success he had surprised him in any way, Lawrie replied, almost casually: “Not really, because I just knew that it’s baseball. I wasn’t worried about who was throwing against me or whether we were playing the Yankees. It wasn’t about that. It was like, ‘We’re playing in a big league stadium. We’re playing on TV. Let’s go have some fun.’ And that’s what it was about to me. It was, like, let’s go play.”

Asked again if he’d ever wondered, just a little, whether he could do what he did at that level, Lawrie responded, remarkably matter-of-factly: “No. I’ve always known that I could play up there. It was just about me getting the opportunity to. I’ve never questioned myself about playing at the big league level because all I’ve ever wanted to do my whole life is play against the best. And when I get put up against the best, I turn on my jets.”

Holy fuck yes.

Comments (82)

  1. Man, I hope some of that Fuck Yeah I’m Great attitude rubs off on the other young guys. Jerkball all the way.

  2. ‘Holy fuck yes’

    gold.

  3. This guy in combination with Bautista could be so fucking potent. I really hope Farell doesn’t waste him in the 6 hole so that Lindy McFucking sucks can protect Joey Bats batting clean up.

    • Agreed. Lawrie getting the extra 100 plate appearances from being in the top half of the batting order would go a lot further than #GoneWithTheLind flailing at breaking pitches.

      I’m a believer in the righty-lefty-righty line-up, but you generally have to put your 2 best hitters back-to-back.

  4. The 1st thing I’d ask myself after reading that is, the guy who ok’d that trade, is he still with the Brewers?
    The secong thing would be, when you know what he can do physically, and when you read this: “all I’ve ever wanted to do my whole life is play against the best.”, what more do you need to know?

    • Doug Melvin and Gord Ash, if I’m not mistaken, are both still there…

    • Hindsight is 20/20. The Brewers knew they needed to win now since there is no way Prince was staying. Marcum had a great season…..until the playoffs. When the trade happened, none of us knew how good Lawrie would be right away.

  5. Maybe we should just stop slavering over the kid and let him develop. As of right now he’s a rookie. I think he’s terrific but I’m very leery of putting all these expectations on him. Articles like this are not gonna help. Remember all the ballyhoo when Joba Chamberlain came up? This kind of pressure at this stage of the game can have a bad effect. I’m thrilled we have him. I think he’s very talented. But let’s not talk about Brett Lawrie and The Hall of Fame in the same paragraph just yet.

  6. Dont compare Lawrie to Joba, Joba was part or the Yankees so he got his shit beyond overhyped. But for an article like this to come from a non maple dick source is very impressive.

    • Agreed, but I would also note that Joba turned out to be good, not great. ie He’s no Nolan Ryan. There’s also a huge problem in anything but the widest perspective comparing pitchers to position players.

  7. Brett Lawrie just slept with your sister in the back of his pickup truck. After he was finished, he left her by the side of the highway in Barrie, and she had to hitchhike home. Are you angry or proud? … Proud. That’s how fucking awesome Brett Lawrie is.

  8. I have Lawrie hitting third in front of Bautista in 2K12 and he’s well on his way to Cooperstown. So there’s that.

    Holy fuck yes seconded to him saying that when he plays against the best he turns on his jets. I imagine his next words were: “Yaaaaaaa let’s do keg stands!” and then ran around the room giving everyone exploding fist-bumps but a little too hard.

  9. That’s quite a ballwashing.

  10. Am I seeing things, or did Stark write that whole thing without mentioning once that Lawrie is Canadian?

  11. “I’m not the same as everybody else. I’m Brett Mother Fuckin Lawrie.”

  12. George Brett Lawrie.

  13. I can’t believe no one has said this yet…

    Nails much?

  14. I think Lawrie is gonna be an amazing player…but I’m feeling a let down coming on.

    People are making him out as the best 3B in baseball already. I think he can be the best 3B within the next 3 years, but not next year.

    Even last year Lawrie started to slow down off his crazy pace. In September he only had an .804 OPS. I know, .804 is still really fucking awesome, but still…

  15. Wow, finally some actual praise for Lawrie from the GB/DJF group, without a single snarky fuckin Maple Dick comment.

    Holy fuck yes.

  16. /warmandfuzzy

  17. My wife hates the cocky SOB which tells me he is something special. She only hates the good players.

    • I know what you mean.

      Love this quote: «I’m not the same as everybody else. I’m Brett Lawrie»

      Lawrie has a shit load of want in his game.

  18. This was obviously a huge story. It required Stoeten posting on a Sunday!

  19. I fear Brett Lawrie.

  20. So do I…

  21. I am doing my best to not get caught up in this hype. I want to. I really do. But I don’t want to be let down if he is not Jesus.

  22. Someone showed me this last night…
    Might be old news…

    http://deadspin.com/5825255/colby-rasmus-is-thrilled-that-obama-isnt-president-in-canada

  23. You have to think that if Lawrie starts the season like gangbusters then he deserves consideration to hit in the 3 hole and push Bautista to 4.

    And yes that was a very penis-polishing article. The thing I like the most about Lawrie is the intensity he brings to the dugout. The Jays have been lacking that energy since VW became our ‘captain’

    • From all my years playing sports I have never noticed a positive correlation between the energy/intensity of the captain and team success. In fact, if I’ve noticed a correlation it would actually be the opposite.

  24. Stark hit on by far the most important attribute for a manager. And that is to allow each player the opportunity to hit his potential regardless of personality type.

    It’s difficult to quantify and is not as easily observable as in-game management, but it has a far greater impact on a franchise.

    The best in-game manager is going to add how many extra wins a yr? Maybe a handful if everything goes right. The manager (and organization) that allows talent to emerge is way ahead of the game.

    Exhibit A is Yunel Escobar.

    Exhibits B and C could very well be Brett Lawrie and Colby Rasmus.

  25. Any streams for the game today?

  26. What do you guys know about McGowan? Left the game, foot, not under his own power.

    • Not good imo…sets him back as far as stretching out (Wilner) which is true. I think this is the door opening for Drabek to step right in.

  27. I just wanted to put this out there. Brett Lawrie is fucking awesome. Laffey fucking sucks and the jays would be stupid to allow him to make the team. Jojo 2.0

  28. Speaking of the “fuck yeah!” attitude rubbing off, how about a gigantic FUCK YEAH for Henderson Alvarez?

    Five innings, one hit, TWENTY FIVE pitches, all strikes. That sure got the attention of my maple boner. 25 pitches in 5 IP?

  29. Mcgowans injury is actually quite serious. Plantar Fasciitis (sp?) can linger the whole season and can affect his pitching. I dont understand why he is even being considered for the rotation. He should be in the bullpen. No way his shoulder holds up for 150 + IP. Just put Drabek in his place and have Hutch in the minors for backup.

    • The Jays figured he be able to recover better when he starts rather than relieving. Less wear and tear on the arm.

  30. stark’s stat comparison borders on ridiculous when you consider nearly every player had more than double the ABs of lawrie

    sill good article with a grain of salt

  31. This George Brett fella must’ve been pretty good. I had no idea he was being compared to Brett Lawrie

  32. [...] The Blue Jays sent Travis Snider to Triple-A over the weekend, opting to start the season with Eric Thames in left field.  Which is too bad, because a left field of Snider, seen here in this photo from our friends at The Score, and a center field of Colby Rasmus, seen here in this NotGraphs post, would have been all sorts of 1970s hair-tastic. At least you’ll probably get to see Brett Lawrie play third base before he’s enshrined in the Hall of Fame. [...]

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