It was early in the season when I posted a “what up with Brett Lawrie” thing which was promptly shit on. It was still early and he is still very young were two very common (and completely fair) counterpoints.

Nearly two months later, Lawrie’s numbers still lag behind the expectations/wishcasting of a desperate fanbase. Where is the power? Why so many groundballs? Can you go a little easier on the caught stealing, bruh? At no point should this concern be confused with disappointment but…his persistent struggles remain a little puzzling.

Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus turned the old Bob Elliott classic “turn some quotes from scouts into a column trick” this morning, with most attention given to minor leaguers (with an assist from DJF’s own Bradly Ankrom!)

There is one nugget on a big leaguer at the end…the starting third baseman for your Toronto Blue Jays, Brett Lawrie.

After quoting Lawrie’s quizzical slash line (.279/.327/.382!), Goldstein gets into the good stuff.

“He’s a piece of work. The guy has one gear, and it’s full and it’s constant,” said an NL scout doing advance work. “He’s just so intense, and it leads to some good things, but also bad things like chasing balls out of the zone. How do you calm a guy like that down? Do you calm a guy like that down? Because it might take something away from him. Still, he might be overloading himself and you have to wonder if it’s affecting his game, and then it’s a problem.”

The pitch f/x numbers on Lawrie are rather telling: more offspeed stuff and chasing more pitches outside the strikezone. Lawrie is doing himself no favours, expanding his zone and swinging at more pitches that he, frankly, shouldn’t.

How many times have we mentioned/fawned over the quote from last season, where the braintrust told him to take more pitches and he did without question. If it was so simple then it would terrific if he could flip that switch again, wouldn’t it?

Comments (73)

  1. i’ll calm him down. first thing’s first – never exercise.

  2. There was plenty of chatter late last season about Lawrie’s propensity to chase low and away stuff. The book was already out then.

    On a good day, Lawrie can foul off some nasty stuff out of the zone with his plate coverage and great batspeed, but on bad days, he looks very ordinary.

    Bautista learned the value of taking walks when he was slotted into the leadoff position a few years ago (and before he became the HR mashing Bautista). Lawrie should do the same. Eventually, he’ll get some better pitches to hit.

    • Bautista has had a consistently good eye throughout his career. I don’tthink he learned it while hitting leadoff a few years ago.

  3. Hasn’t he walked more since he has batted lead off?

  4. He can’t lay-off up and in fast balls.

    • There are a lot of batters I would say that can’t lay off that pitch. If you manage to turn on it, you can wave it goodbye, it’s hard to pass that up sometimes, especially if a pitcher throws you a meatball.

  5. How dare anybody criticize The Brett Lawrie. The Brett Lawrie is above criticism.

  6. Can he possibly even live past 40? I can’t picture a middle aged Brett Lawrie.

  7. There’s another thing the scout is saying here. Something that isn’t in the minds of the people who are camped in the Sportsnet circle jerk mentioning how great Lawrie is every 6 seconds and how he can do no wrong. HE’S 22 YEARS OLD!!! That means he’s a young player with room to grow. It’s very very rare in baseball that a Bryce Harper or Mike Trout comes up at a young age and just blows everyone away, especially as a teenager in Harper’s case. This is a young team that’s growing and can learn from mistakes, and Lawrie is one of them. The helmet thing was a good learning experience for him, and it’s good that it happened this year instead of when he’s an established player so he can adjust himself and learn what he did wrong and why he can’t do it again. Just let him grow and make mistakes and learn from them. I know the maple dicks won’t understand how to do that, but it’s too bad for them. Stop drinking the Sportsnet Canadian hero kool-aid and be a realist for a change: he’s young with miles of room to grow as a player, and it’s all a process. There will (hopefully) be a day very soon where the bell goes off and everything just clicks into place, but it hasn’t happened yet. Instead, he’s a normal 22 year old ball player with great talent and showing great signs for the future, but is still learning on the fly, despite the masturbatory Lawrie material Sportsnet throws at us. Sorry maple dicks, you’ll just have to deal with that.

  8. Flat out.

  9. Before he got called up last season, didn’t management tell Lawrie to start walking more and then… he just started walking more?

    While I expected more from Lawrie this season, I wasn’t expecting him to be great. He’s 22 and in his second season.

  10. How is this a story? Just another guy telling us he is intense. Tell us all something we didnt know. It’s not like he got to Toronto and became “INTENSE TO THE EXTREME”

  11. “The pitch f/x numbers on Lawrie are rather telling: more offspeed stuff and fewer pitches in the strikezone. ”

    Perhaps I’m reading something backwards. I assume when you said he’s seeing fewer pitches in the strike zone, you were referring to his Zone% (“The overall percentage of pitches a batter sees inside the strike zone”) from Fangraphs. In 2011 this was 48.1%. 2012 has it at 52.3%.

    Wouldn’t this mean he’s seeing MORE pitches in the strike zone? Forgive me if I’m misreading something here.

  12. ^

    Well said.

    Also note a 19 year old kid from Langley has way less professional development than a prodigy from California. Brett still went through a baseball factory, but I’m sure its worlds apart from what Harper and most prodigy kids go through in the states.

    Lawrie’s biggest fault seemed to be being too good last year, he set up unrealistic expectations that nobody projected when he was in the minors. He’s only played in 105 games!!

    If somebody asked in may 2011 if you would view a 285/345/460 as a good projection for a rookie year for Brett while playing great defense, I’m sure people would think that was too much to ask.

    • the simple truth is that ESPN article about Lawrie in the spring made everyone go nuts, especially since he was BEASTMODE 200% hitting .500 with 3 homers or whatever he had this spring, he looked incredible, and only 10 other players were as good at starting their career at his age and they’re all hall of famers.. thats hard to ignore, even now when he looks like crap and has hit maybe 20 balls out of the infield this year, its still hard to doubt that Lawrie will be very, very good at some point.

      I’ll go on record as saying that despite how bad he’s been this year, he will be a legit MVP candidate at least once in his career.

  13. someone posted this in the other thread. its great! thought it shouldn’t be buried:

    http://www.sportsnet.ca/baseball/2012/06/14/grange_jays_assessing_anthopoulos/

  14. There were a couple games recently where it looked like he was starting to drive the ball a little better. I think moving to the leadoff spot has certainly helped to re-focus him on getting on base. On some level I think – just wait.

    Two months is certainly long enough to see a trend in his approach. He hasn’t driven the ball with the same kind of frequency this season, but I can’t convince myself to get too worked up about it. He just LOOKS like he’s going to start getting results – and even though that is normally a terribly cliche way to judge a ball player, I can’t help but think that over the back half of the season it is very likely that he starts mashing again. Whether that will lead to 25-30 HRs – I sincerely doubt it.. but if he can get on base and start to drive the ball to the gaps more often I’ll still be stoked on his first full season.

  15. Yeah, I think the fact that he’s 22 is the big caveat to any of these comments about his intensity/playing speed. He still has less than a full MLB season under his belt, so it’s pretty hard to say that he’ll never learn to have more plate discipline and awareness on the basepaths. Also, although I can’t look it up right now, I would guess that at least part of the higher swing rate on off-speed/out of the strike zone stuff is owing to seeing more of it now that he has been through the league a few times.

  16. His swing looks more loopy and inside out at times. I like the short direct powerful hack he was putting on ball last year. Just growing pains, I’m sure.

  17. I think, maybe counterintuitively, the move to leadoff will unlock a lot of that power. Baseball is a game where if you try TOO hard to hit for power, you almost never do. Putting him in leadoff and just allowing him to try to simply make contact will do wonders, I think.

    We know he’s very strong, with a lot of bat speed. He doesn’t NEED to try to mash to really mash. If he just goes up there looking for a pitch to hit, HR’s and XBH are going to come naturally.

  18. Is hockey finished yet?

  19. Off topic:

    The FSL has entered its all star break… one has to assume Snider will be moved somewhere else to play, right? No more games for Dunedin until Monday.

  20. HERE’S A SLASH LINE THAT MATTERS: 1000% AGGRO/FULLY DIMED/BEING THE MOTHERFUCKING WOLF. #CHUGLIFE #ONELIFE #ONESPEED

  21. Just sounds like a lot of clown questions to me, bro.

  22. I am in love with Mike Wilner.

  23. Brett continues to press himself at the plate. He takes way to many first pitch strikes down the middle, which are probably the best pitches he is going to see. Sometimes we as ball players are taught to take a pitch or two at the plate, but, my theory is to take a pitch or two from the on-deck circle and be ready when you enter the batters box to rip it into the stands. It looks to be a routine he has grown up with. His play in the field is stellar as he is blessed with great athleticism and the range equal to or better than all who guard the hot corner. On occasion his hyper tension hurts him on the base-paths, making poor decisions at critical times. He’s still shitting green and as a rookie he deserves patience from all who support him, me being one. The talent is there but he needs to harness that energy better and bring it down a notch. I’m sure his numbers will come around at the plate eventually. Be patient grasshopper……….

  24. Less Red Bull.

  25. Someone should tell him it’s baseball, not UFC.

    • YOU WANT CALM? COOL. FIELD A TEAM OF HIPPIE PUSSY YOGA FUCKS & SEE HOW YOUR SQUAD DOES. DOWNWARD DOG YOUR WAY TO LAST PLACE, IDIOTS.

  26. A Wolf may need to have his head read…….Hmmmmm, pretty sure of it actually…..Gedder done now before it’s toooo late !!!!

    • BRAIN SCAN COMPLETE. RESULTS: 1000% AGGRO. 1000% DIMED. IMAGE SHOWED THE HULK AND A TIMBER WOLF STANDING OVER LARRY’S MANGLED BODY #OWNED

  27. hehehehehehe

  28. How to calm Lawrie down:

    No more free RedBull in the clubhouse.

    • WRONG! MORE REDBULL IN THE CLUBHOUSE! LESS PUSSIES ON THE TEAM. MORE AGGRO. GRIP. RIP. GET DIMED. YUNEL SPENDING MORE TIME IN THE CAGE, LESS TIME ON POST GAME OUTFITS! ITS FUCKING SIMPLE. WHEN YOU’RE ROCKING A LONG SLEEVED BUTTON UP AFTER A BALLGAME, THERE ARE 2 RULES. AFTER A LOSS: POP TWO BUTTONS. AFTER A FUCKING WIN: POP FOUR. #STYLE

  29. He has had a few funny caught stealings, a bad call on one and overslid the bag recently. The speed is there either way so I think he just has to get used to big leaguers being a little better overall at preventing steals than he faced in the minors.

    And the bat will come around. He has lead the team in average a lot of the year. Now the team is atrocious, but still…. the (barely) sophomore player who didn’t even spend terribly long in the minors is our best option at leadoff (IMO) and has lead in average a chunk of the year.

    Could be a lot worse.

  30. At the end of last season i said that Lawrie would hit .270/.320/ with 20-25 homeruns. sure theres a bit less power then we were hoping but it will come in time. this is essentially a rookie season and its not gonna be great the whole way through.

  31. how has no one mentioned his ridiculously noisy hands!?!?!?!

    The dude’s timing is completely off because he drops his hands 6inches when he should be driving forward every damn time!!!!!!

  32. you guys are fuckin funny……..even when u arent trying to be..that is a compliment btw

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