When asked about the first expression of the phrase “don’t shoot the messenger,” many will cite Shakespeare’s use of the idea in Antony and Cleopatra. When Cleopatra is told that Antony has married another woman, she threatens to harm the messenger’s eyes, provoking the following response:

Gracious madam, I that do bring the news made not the match.

However, before that Sophocles used the line, “No one loves the messenger who brings bad news,” and Plutarch gives us the following story in Parallel Lives:

The first messenger that gave notice of Lucullus’s coming was so far from pleasing Tigranes that he had his head cut off for his pains; and no man daring to bring further information, without any intelligence at all, Tigranes sat while war was already blazing around him, giving ear only to those who flattered him.

I favour Plutarch’s early use the most because it speaks to the repercussions of confusing bad news with the person who brings it, and lashing out against an inaccurate target.

In terms of baseball blogging, this relates, not with the possibility of a controversial opinion resulting in decapitation, but far too often with hard work and discovery being dismissed by fans through the unfair categorization of bias or trolling.

In Toronto, this is evident by the way in which any criticism of Blue Jays third baseman Brett Lawrie is deemed treasonous. It shouldn’t be that way. Finding flaws in a players’ game in no way suggests a dislike or disrespect or any other dis directed at the player. Admittedly, I’m much more interested in discovering areas that contradict popular belief rather than confirm it, but that doesn’t make the message I have to deliver any less truthful.

And that message is this: I don’t believe that Brett Lawrie is as good of a baseball player as he is being credited.

That’s not to say that I don’t believe he will be a significant part of his current team’s lineup in the future, or that I fail to see the good in what was probably his best game of the season last night, or that I think the Blue Jays should trade him away immediately, burn his uniform and glove, and wipe all memories of his existence from the fan base with a visit from Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones/Josh Brolin.

I believe he’s been overrated by an audience inundated with his praise from a team broadcaster that wants to develop the idea of a Canadian star attraction on the only Canadian team in baseball, who view his unquestionable drive and effort as though it was skill and accomplishment.

The reality of the situation is this:

Among regular third baseman in the American League, Lawrie has the second worst OPS,  wOBA and wRC+, ahead of only Wilson Betemit, whose 23 games at the hot corner make him a borderline case for inclusion. Across both AL and NL, he has the second worst isolated power and the fourth worst walk rate among those at his position. Offensively, the value resulting from his production in terms of runs is below average.

The real kicker: Pedro Alvarez, the much maligned third baseman for the Pittsburgh Pirates, has a better OPS than Brett Lawrie.

Whenever his offensive struggles are brought up, Lawrie apologists are quick to counter such arguments with mentions of his incredible defensive numbers, most often citing his astronomically high Defensive Runs Saved, which suggests that the third baseman’s defensive abilities have saved his team from 20 runs. As Colin Wyers of Baseball Prospectus shows us, that’s not quite as accurate as we’ve been led to believe.

Mr. Wyers points out one of the limitation of the DRS metric, noting that:

A play is considered “not made” when the fielder doesn’t get a putout or assist on the play AND no other fielder had the first putout, assist or error. For example, if the third baseman fields a groundball towards the third base/shortstop hole, we don’t count this play for or against the shortstop.

And then suggesting that:

In the particular shift the Jays are playing, you may note that Lawrie can get to only balls that have already passed by the other infielders. This is true, but the other infielders are positioned based upon knowing that Lawrie is backing them up in short right field. Those balls that Lawrie is fielding from short right field are not the nearly-certain hits that you would assume from comparing Lawrie to a baseline of all third basemen, most of whom aren’t fielding balls in that position not because of a lack of skill but because they’re standing by third base.

Coming to the following overall conclusion:

Instead of measuring how many additional plays made at the team level the shift is contributing, it’s measuring how many additional plays are contributed to Lawrie by the shift, crediting him for some plays that other fielders would have made in a more traditional defensive alignment.

Note: There’s a lot of content from Mr. Wyers’ post on Baseball Prospectus being included here, but all of his 1,800 words, plus charts and visuals should be read to understand the entire argument, so I’ll link to it again.

Of course, this isn’t to suggest that Lawrie is terrible defensively. Other metrics rank him quite well, just not 20 runs saved well. He’s still delivering on defense. In fact, defense, base running and swagger are the only areas in which he’s contributing. These are areas that typically peak earlier in a player’s career than batting talents, so it makes sense.

However, no matter how much the broadcast crew praises his ability to run out ground balls, the package that the fan base was promised by musical montage promotions before he’d even played a single game has not been delivered. And you know what, that’s okay. Lawrie is only 22 years old. The fact that he’s able to make a contribution at any level at all is impressive, and for the organization, there’s really nothing more to do than let him develop.

There’s no point in sending him down to the Minor Leagues (at least not yet) to work on his swing because a) it’s not as though the club is much of a contender with the team requiring a tremendous amount of good luck to make this a playoff season; and b) it’s not as though a clearly superior option to Lawrie is available anyway.

What Toronto has in Brett Lawrie is a good young player developing, not a wunderkind phenomenon taking the league by storm. You have to live in Anaheim or Washington to see one of those.

Photoshop courtesy of Scott Lewis.

Comments (134)

  1. Why do you hate freedom?

    • We the commentators are the Messengers (bearing news of Parkes’ suckage) and He the blogger is Tigranes who only wants to hear from those who flatter him and would prefer to cut our heads off for being awesome.

  2. He’s the Canadian Tebow!!! Well except with legitimate skills in his sport.
    Tebowing has become a big thing in the States so I say we all start Bretting

    Tebowing is kneling and praying so Bretting would involve 8 Red Bull’s, shirt ripping and a sacrificial virgin????
    Who’s in??

  3. Article summary:

    Brett Lawrie hasn’t had a good offensive start to the season.

    Brett Lawrie is not the 2nd coming of Christ. (Braun?)

    Defensive metrics are flawed.

    He’s not as good as prospects that have always been ranked ahead of him.

    Everyone knows Brett Lawrie gets too much attention… I don’t think everyone, especially who follows this blog, just blindly believes he’s going to be the best player ever. He’s still an exciting young player. Lot’s of great young players aren’t among the league leaders at 22 years old, as you mentioned. This article doesn’t seem nearly as controversial as the introduction presumed it to be.

    • Article summary:

      “Don’t look at me, I voted for Kodos!”

    • Nicely summarized. The most important thing to note: Parkes completely failed to address the topic of the title of his piece, namely what Brett Lawrie offers the team. He merely presented the (small sample) failings of the kid’s start to the season and of DRS as a defensive metric, while getting defensive and slamming Rogers and the fanbase yet again.
      Really not his best work.

    • Agreed! The last line sums up my feelings towards this article perfectly. Kind of a waste of time in my opinion. And why not let the fans get excited, even if it has swelled past statistical evidence?! Jays fans getting over excited about a player is a good problem to have in comparison

  4. We don’t have an Ace, and we don’t have a Wunderkind. We do have a team that’s a helluva lot of fun to watch, and Lawrie’s a huge part of that. I’m ok with fun.

  5. “What Toronto has in Brett Lawrie is a good young player developing, not a wunderkind phenomenon taking the league by storm.”

    But he did that last year, didn’t he?

    I mean, Harper has 109 ABs under his belt, with an .891 OPS. Lawrie finished last year with 150 and a .953 OPS. The same could be said for Trout.

    Are we to assume that neither trout nor Harper will face a development bump once teams and pitchers get a second and third look at them? It’s not like Lawrie wasn’t a highly touted prospect, either. Perhaps not as highly rated, but highly rated nonetheless.

    I get the gist of your article: Lawrie’s not playing as well this year as some talking heads would have you believe – but frankly, that’s to be expected in year 2, isn’t it? I’m no scout, but I am more than content with his defense, and as a learning curve develops he *should* trend upwards at the plate. He should be a cornerstone of the Jays for a long time.

    That’s good enough for me.

    • Harper also had several seasons fewer of pro-ball under his belt and both players have a higher prospect pedigree at a younger age than Lawrie. Not good comps. But you’re right, whay can’t we just enjoy watching him?

  6. You don’t get called a troll for criticizing Lawrie.

    You get called a troll for criticizing (being a dick to, actually) fans for liking Lawrie for any reason other stats.

    • Yeah, sorry Dustin, but people can take fair criticism of Lawrie, it’s the name calling of him that got you painted as a troll regardless of how immature his helmet tossing really was.

      • Especially when the guy he routinely ball washes in Harper (deservingly, I admit) has his own significant history of immaturity during his professional career.

        Harper may not have the guts to blow kisses to pitchers at the MLB level after his home runs, but I have little doubt that another one of his umpire blowups is coming at some point.

  7. I’m sorry I like Brett Lawrie’s intensity and that he makes watching the Jays more enjoyable. I’m sorry, alright?

    • absolutely spot on. From a fan’s perspective – and really, what other perspective matters? – Lawrie is fun to watch. He has the swagger factor, he’s intense, he’s Canadian, he makes some really sweet plays in the field and he gets on base on a fairly regular basis. We’re not World Series contenders and won’t be for at least a coulpe of years – so give me a Lawrie over a boring player with better numbers. I’d take him any day.

  8. YOU MEAN BUCK AND TABBY ARE BIASED? Its almost like they work for the team or something.

  9. Just take a dump on the Canadian flag, why don’t you, you sonofabitch.

  10. A few things:

    Brett Lawrie’s wOBA climbed up to .310 last night. Among qualified hitters at his position, that’s 12th out of 19. Not good certainly, but he hasn’t been completely useless with the bat this season. Despite falling behind in virtually every count with his hacktastic approach, he’s managed to find a way to make enough contact to not be completely useless (unlike, say, the 2012 versions of Lind and Thames). In fact, he’s 5th on the Jays in that category among their regulars (behind Encarnacion, KJ, Bau, and JPA). If he can somehow get back to an approach that’s anywhere close to what we saw in 2011 at some point, we’ll be looking at a pretty good offensive player in his first full season.

    In addition, when a guy is still contributing and on pace for a 5 fWAR season without any patience or power whatsoever, I don’t think that’s too bad at all. He’s providing incredible defensive value for a guy that many said wouldn’t even be able to stay at 3B (including you). Over the last few months, Lawrie has shown that he has the potential to be a great two-way player at a very tough position to fill. That’s a very exciting possibility.

    No, he may not have Bryce Harper’s power or natural ability (few do), but that doesn’t make his game, his potential, and what he’s shown on defense any less impressive.

  11. I don’t think you’re giving some of us within the fanbase enough credit Parkes. Ya – clearly Lawrie isn’t as good as the very best prospects in baseball. I think being in the media and dealing with crazy fans makes you think that we all uniformly believe anything that comes out of Buck Martinez’ mouth. I think Stoeten and yourself stand as proof that there are ALL KINDS of us who can see things in things other than black and white.

    I also think its a little convenient to pick May 30th as the end point to decide whether or not Lawrie is good. He’s had a rough year – but as has been pointed out above – he was actually BETTER than Harper at the same point as Harper is now (which is in no way an argument that things will remain that way). Lawrie was never the top prospect in baseball. He still stands to be very damn good.

    • Still – the rest of the Jays offense has been so shit (save EE and a few others who are coming around) its easy to think Lawrie’s pedestrian numbers are better than they are. I do think that Lawrie’s hype has been overblown and that in the last few weeks some of the shine has started to come off.

  12. I agree with you about Lawrie.

    But I think the reason people want to shoot the messenger is because lately you seem to relish the opportunity to knock him down a peg whenever possible. It’s really tiresome to hear, particularly if you’re someone who happens to follow you on Twitter and listen to the DJF podcast and the Getting Blanked shows, where this sentiment is repeated fairly often (or at least it feels like it). In the span of two weeks this is your 3rd Lawrie-specific article, which is most exposure to Lawrie that I’ve had anywhere apart from Jays broadcasts. The content of the articles might be merited, but when they come from the same person it sounds like a personal vendetta, whether against Lawrie or against people who like Lawrie. It’s a combination of tone, timing (particularly with that post about him screwing up the tag-up rule, which involved a post you made minutes after the game ended, almost as if you couldn’t wait to show everyone how he screwed up) and the fact that you don’t really post about the Jays often, so your Lawrie to Jays articles ratio is fairly high, particularly lately.

    Sure, you’re welcome to post whatever you want, and I think the content is great and brings a dose of reality, but the complaints of “don’t shoot the messenger” are overlooking the fact that over the last two weeks you’ve continuously gone out of his way to be the messenger. Any messenger who does that should expect it.

  13. Fuck off, Parkes.

    And Trout. And Harper. I enjoyed it when Hamels hit him.

  14. My issue with this whole post is that yesterday on the GBPodcast, you said so many things about Trout/Harper, which were the exact SAME things that Buck/Tabby have been saying about Lawrie since coming up. The ball washing wasn’t QUITE as bad, but the whole “will-to-do” bullshit really rubbed me wrong as that’s pretty much exactly what the guys are talking about when talking about Lawrie.

    Drew mentioned “want”, which is something that Lawrie may have a bit too much of according to the Professor of Want, Jason Parks, (I actually believe the tweet was “Is want without grace even want at all?”, feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.) But can anyone say anyone has more “want” than Lawrie (excluding Jose Altuve)? Fucking Harper and Trout are top prospects and have been for some time. Lawrie may not be the most talented guy on the field, but he sure as hell wants to be.

    I truly don’t believe the intent of this post was to get Lawrie fans to stop being Lawrie fans, but I don’t really understand the point was? I’m sure you wrote it to get a rise out of fans (quite obviously it has as evidenced by this comment I’m leaving) but goddamn, can we get more posts about the “good” in baseball, rather than shitting down players necks? I realize that Lawrie comes off as a bit of a (read: total) douchebag, but fuck, if you don’t like him, why write about him? You like a lot of players, can’t you write a post about how great Kinsler is or something rather than something like this? Maybe do a stat learnin’ post explaining not only how the thing is calculated, but why it’s so important.

    I think you’re a better writer than this; I truly hope you can start using your talent and opportunity to put out better content.

    • Bryce Harper comes off in much the same way as Lawrie personality-wise, so it’s odd if that was the reason for Parkes’ dislike of him.

      • agreed. but I really can’t find anything else

      • I don’t think Parkes actually dislikes Lawrie. What he dislikes is people thinking a player is performing better than the numbers actually indicate.

        • What he dislikes is what he thinks is a narrative.

          What he doesn’t realize is that everything is part of a narrative. “Dumb fans fawning over Lawrie because he’s Canadian” is a narrative that he wholeheartedly subscribes and contributes to.

  15. I guess we know which posts illicit the most page views for theScore.com – anything with Lawrie mentioned.
    The article doesn’t add anything to the discussion on Lawries season, PA’s, or even a character assessment. It’s seems to be just existing so that exasperation with the broadcasters can be voiced.
    Link bait it may be, but please – how about you add some conviction to your thoughts, rather than offer a glimpse of controversy in the title and then deliver nothing but another rehash of someone else’s (superior) dissection of the man.
    Don’t be contrarian for the sake of it Mr Parkes, this first year of GB is a chance for you to set a tone for your future works, and this is frankly not very worthwhile.

  16. And this is why stats geeks will always right blogs instead of actually having a meaningful position in MLB…Stats never tell the true story and can be coloured to prove anything..Lawrie is a young player who is one of the top offensive and defensive threats in the leagu and is still developing.

    • Yeah, stats geeks who’ve never played the game will never have important roles in the MLB like Blue Jays General Manager

      • Here’s the point:

        Intangibles on their own don’t tell the whole story. Neither do stats.

        If you’ve ever heard Anthopolous speak, you’ll know he places as much value on “the person” as he does “the numbers’.

      • Except Matt,that the Blue Jays General Manager scouted thousands of games and knows what release points,arm slots.grips,loads really mean.
        Stats geeks tend to read fangraphs and claim to know everything about a ballplayer,Then they demean anybody who disagrees.
        Certain stats can actually contradict conclusions made by other stats.

        Next time you want to get smarmy,give me a call.

        • I actually don’t know many (any?) “stat geeks” who do what you just described.

        • Stats: advanced baseball statistics.
          Geek: a fan of something.

          AA is a stats geek. He is. It’s not a slur. He’s geeky about advanced baseball stats. Stats geeks work in baseball. There are stats geeks working in front offices in Tampa Bay, Oakland, Toronto, all over the league. There are also stats geeks who write blogs, and stats geeks who drive forklifts. Jesus Christ why is this so complicated

          • Matt E

            It’s complicated by stats geeks who tend to use only stats when evaluating and trying to denegrate others as being emotional fools.
            Stats are one of the tools used in evaluations.But they don’t tell you that you can improve a players K rate by adjustng his arm slot or finger pressure.
            Stats geeks tend to look at past performance and say with certainty that the player is shit.Even though minor adjustments may improve that player.
            Bautista.
            AA uses advanced stats along with many other things to evaluate players.
            And has stated so.

          • I’ve been throwing this quote around all week:
            “A statistic to a layman is as wrongly used as a lightpole to a drunk, namely as support rather than for illumination.”

    • come on.. so dumb.

  17. just another Parkes look at me, pay attention to me post. get a life

  18. fuck you Parkes, you fucking mutt

  19. um, obvious post is obvious.

  20. A few thoughts.

    1) You’re right that Lawrie is developing and young, and you’re a little bit dismissive of the fact that he’s exciting. Why do we care if we’re not to be entertained.

    2) I’m going to shoot the messenger on these grounds: Criticizing Buck and Tabby is like shooting fish in a barrel. Pickings too easy for a good writer. E-gads, the hometown broadcast crew is pumping up the hometown team. I’ll bet Michael Kay never hears sharp criticism like this.

    3) I find it odd that we have too small a sample size to properly and fairly critique Snider, and we feel like he’s being jerked around, while it is fair to really judge where Lawrie is at without even a season’s full of plate appearances.

    4) Lawrie is unlikely to be as good as last season’s torrid start suggested, but also unlikely to be as middling as this early season start suggests. His isolated power is way down, and his walks are down, which both seem to be improvable if he works with the hitting coach to play to his strengths. His defense is never going to lack for effort, which will always win you fans – just ask Derek Jeter.

    I don’t care if Brett Lawrie is not the golden god that the RSN broadcast team suggests he is, and you might be doing your readers a disservice by suggesting that there’s this huge buy-in on their part, of what RSN is selling.

    That said, I like Lawrie as a player – maybe not so much as a brash 22-year-old human being – and I think we can be as excited about his potential and his energy as Washington or Anaheim can be about their youngsters. And I think the good news is that this is really just the beginning of the wave of talented youth that AA has assembled.

  21. “Lawrie is only 22 years old.”
    Probably the thing that gets forgotten most when talking about him.

    He’s a rookie. Strip off the tattoos and swagger and Canadian passport and legends and boners and you’ve got a rookie third baseman playing strong defense, hitting for an .816 OPS in his 89 career games. Who wouldn’t take that as a building block on their team?

    • Stop thinking so clearly. You either have to believe that he’s a dink and revel in his struggle – OR – you have to sacrifice small livestock at the feet of his bronze likeness.

    • Yeah, it just seems there should be more focus here on what Lawrie has actually managed to accomplish at such a young age in his MLB career (and the impressiveness of those accomplishments) rather than how he isn’t measuring up to the LeBron James of baseball.

  22. Maybe you could do a little literary review to find where the terms “spoiled child” and “concrete-skulled fuckhead” were first used and let us know how those messengers fared. I suspect Cleopatra would have been far less forgiving than the readers of Getting Blanked and Drunk Jays Fans.

    You and Stoeten need to get over it.

  23. Parkes obviously has it in for the Blue Jays, that being said, Lawrie’s performance last year and subsequent ball-washing all winter raised unrealistic expectations. Thing is he’s the youngest starting 3B in the league by a couple of years. He’s not so good that he’s going to set the world on fire in his first full season; he strikes out too much (although he’s dropped his K% from last season) and walks too little. His power will steadily improve for the rest of the season, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him wOBA of .325 or .330 by the All-Star break. Pretty good for a 22 year old playing a premium defensive position.

  24. Blah blah blah, its the same shit always with you Dustin. Among blue jays this year he has the best AVG, 2nd most Hits, can steal bases, runs everything out, is middle of the pack for SO, and excites the fans. The guy is 22, All he really needs to work on is BB and his maturity.
    The fact that you post a column ripping on the guy after arguably his best games this year makes me want to stop following what The Score, and what you have to say about the blue jays all together.

  25. Brett Lawrie has 363 CAREER plate appearances. Let’s draw a bunch of conclusions! (Both ways)

    • Metrics should only be quoted when they agree with Parkes opinions. Otherwise there is a flaw in the metric.

      Also keep in mind that small sample sizes mean nothing… unless they support the aforementioned opinion of Parkes.

  26. You know, people flipped out on you, Parkes, not because of what you’re saying but how you’re saying it. Your earlier posts about Lawrie were laced with snark, smugness and unnecessary judgement. It made you sound like you were relishing his shortcomings, which is what set the readers of a Jays blog off on you. It was completely predictable.

    And instead of thinking “oh, maybe I should tone down the snark when talking to the hometown crowd” you think “those idiots are just shooting the messenger!”

    To which your natural response is to ripoff the first paragraph of the wikipedia article on the phrase “shooting the messanger” and pretending like you’re familiar with Ancient Greek epics?

    Real smooth.

  27. Your article headline is overrated. Brett Lawrie is not.

  28. I don’t get why you posted this the day after Lawrie basically single handedly massacred the Orioles. I still don’t think you ‘have it in’ for the kid, but you haven’t written one complimentary article about him. Or any other Blue Jays for that matter.
    We have some good players Dustin, and every time Jose Bautista has a slump its not “inevitable regression” and every time Ricky Ro gives up 7 walks he’s not “revealing his true talent level.” You don’t always have to be negative about the Jays to get page views.

    • I also love how on this website defensive statistics are unreliable and limited by small sample sizes when required to fit a narrative, but none of you have any trouble vomiting up Fangraph’s WAR as a measure of players’ value without mentioning that little caveat.
      I’m sorry, I’m still mad that Brett Lawrie isn’t Jesus.

      • Pretty much this. You can’t use WAR as a means of measure a players value in one article and then dismiss one of its inputs in another.

    • I think claiming the Jays’ season is over with 110 games left in it might also qualify there, too.

      • +1 to BFullmer_Fan…that jab towards the Blue Jays pissed me off too.

      • Uhh…..They’d have to go 10 games over .500 to get to the sorta arbitrary magic number of 86!!

        Nothing like that ever happens in baseball. Teams perform to the level expected of them (by Parkes).

        Since that comment…. 3 games over .500!…. PLAYOFFS!!11!

  29. This article is horrible.

    Brett Lawrie is the best rookie prospect we’ve had in a long time. He brings a level of intensity that we have not seen since the days of roberto alomar. This kid is doing great and came into this season in better shape than last. Also, he has a swagger about him that is contagious and has been accepted by the rest of the team. after an gret game, perhaps a little praise would go a long way, especially after the heat he has been taking because of his temper tantrums.

  30. Chad Mottola had him with a great approach last season, and helped him be more passion and have taking pitches. That carried up to the bigs last season.

    I haven’t look at the stats and his swing rate or anything like that, but just from watching games he appears to be less patient. He seems to be more of an aggressive Murphy type hitter, which isn’t working.

    Maybe I’m wrong though, but if I’m right…time to callup Mottola!

  31. Stay off DJF with your Jays hating ways!

    …bully

  32. I can’t help but think that if someone else wrote this post Parkes would tear them up for passing judgment way too early on a barely 22 year old who is obviously still developing into the player he is ultimately going to be.

    • Granted he does say “Lawrie is only 22 years old. The fact that he’s able to make a contribution at any level at all is impressive, and for the organization, there’s really nothing more to do than let him develop.”.
      … but then I ask… what was the point of this post?

  33. Get a haircut you bum.

  34. Just image how all over Lawrie’s knob Parkes would be if Brett played for the Giants…

  35. WHY DO YOU HATE THE TROOPS!?

    Seriously, you may be trying a wee bit hard to be contrarian. Yes, his offense is not great at the 1/3 mark of his age 22 season. He’s still a good bet to re-find his power this year (or next year at the latest). He is (by my eyes) starting to hit more line drives again.

    And yeah, he is fun to watch. I, like you, may have my opinion of him coloured by the fact his off-field personality is a bit immature and db-ish, but games like last night remind me why I love the player.

  36. This is what one could call a flame bait article, and dumb.

  37. This heading should read “What does Dustin Parkes really offer The Score”

    Fucking nothing.

    • Parkes is a good blogger. He’s just stupid once in a while. Who isn’t?

      On the other hand, the Score organization has disappointed me these last few years. Losing personnel, too much WWE coverage (even though it pays the bills, Aftermath is a ridiculous show), the Footy Show guys get absolutely no love (I don’t watch soccer but I’ve learned a lot from KJ and Sharman), Woodbine Racing is a total waste of life, getting Eastbound & Down/Blue Mountain State was pretty sad.

      They lost Cabbie (even though he’s a one-trick pony), Tim and Sid (best sports commentary in Canada), Sirius satellite radio (they had a few good shows), Richard Garner (brilliant host for Drive This!), Tony Ambrogio, Glenn Schiiler (he was their go-to on-field reporter but he was sort of douchey) and probably a lot of others.

      The Drafted people are horrible except Paul Brothers. He is the best one. Furtney was useless and it’s too soon for Jackie Redmond to make a decision. Sansone is annoying and it makes it harder because he’s the boss.

      The “Talent” section of the Score website has no diversity. I’m just pointing it out.

  38. Well clearly Pat Tabler had no idea of this when he had a mouthful of Brett and was slurping his praises last night. Crazy world, when we can’t count on Pat Tabler to be knowledgeable.

  39. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he put up a .850 OPS the rest of the season. Sure, he hasn’t hit that well so far, and the media ball washes. First impressions are powerful, and he made a great one last year. If this had been his first MLB experience this year, the narrative would be woven less. The narrative is largely because of how ridiculously awesome he played offensively last year.

  40. brett lawrie is exciting, something this article is not.

  41. Again, This article heading should read “What Does Dustin Parkes Really Offer The Score?”

    Nooootthhhhiinnggg!!

  42. maybe The Score told him to up his page views or hit the highway?

    Next post will be a Bautista/Roids post or a McGowan contract post or…..

    weak no matter what. weak

  43. Oh dustin, your shit stinks. You must be fed up with your wife getting off to footage of brett. He’s 22, the guy has a huge following and is exciting to watch. Must feel pretty big knocking down a kid playing in the big leagues. I bet when you were 22 you were still reading your harry potter books. At 22 he has an entire city in his corner. Pick your battles.

  44. agreed, these articles are getting just tiring to read, i think I’ll stop.

  45. Funny the only defense people seem to be showing is “he’s 22″, which was noted in the article. That doesn’t make the rest any less true at the moment.

    • Well being 22 might be the only defense but its a pretty damn good one. Most hitters peak in their mid twenties. The fact that you are not understanding these 2 crucial points tells me that you really do not know anything about hitting.

    • actually the most commonly offered defense has been that his sample size thus far in the majors has been too small to be throwing around rate stats such as wOBA etc, especially given his young age, and using them as a basis for comparison with players with much larger statistical histories and and more established tendencies.
      Also that Parkes seems to have made a habit of cherry picking stats where it suits the narrative he wants to peddle.
      And that Parkes is being unnecessarily disagreeable to the point where even people who agree with him to an extent cannot defend his approach and many of his points any more (i.e. the messenger is telling the king to fuck off you stupid fucking retard before mentioning that there is an army on its way… hence the constant attacks on said messenger.)

  46. every time he lays a turd like this, he tries to barf up 4 or 5 useless posts to bump these down the totem pole

  47. I’m fine with the criticisms of Lawrie, he’s as much fair game as anyone else in the league. My issue is with all the ball-washing Buck and Tabs are giving the kid, it’s like listening to Hawk Harrelson’s homerism. I don’t care if Lawrie is Canadian, Russian or a goddamn Iranian Islamo-fascist, so long as he produces and contributes for the team.

    I’m sick and tired of Rogers shoving the “Brett Lawrie is Captain Canada” routine down our throats and topping it off with Buck and Tabs putting this kid on a fucking pedestal like he’s some kind of future Hall of Famer. With all the ball-washing and ego-stroking given to Lawrie, how long before he becomes the next Barry Bonds? In that I mean how long is it before it all becomes “the Brett Lawrie Show” and the kid’s ego is bigger than the Yankee’s payroll?

    • I’m the Ottawa Guy! Stop Stealing My Bit!
      And, really and truly, why can’t we all just get along and hate on the people we all agree are at fault here:
      Rogers
      we can’t blame the kid for their marketing department’s use of him as a mascot. It’s not his damn fault.
      The reality is he’s a talented, young, hotheaded kid. He’s got a very high ceiling, at a position where talent is at a premium, and is at the beginning of what looks, at the moment, to be a promising career.
      Fuck the Rogers propaganda for blowing him up into a parody of himself, but just because that bullshit is thrown in your face on a daily basis doesn’t mean that there’s a need to DENIGRATE his legitimate performances early in his career to balance it. Praise and criticism don’t balance each other out, and I don’t see why certain people feel it is their holy mission to deflate any semblance of optimism the fanbase has any way they can. Especially as its often these same writers who criticize the fans for not going out to games, and for showing no support for the team.
      Which is it? you can’t have it both ways. Let the fans get excited about something for fuck sakes. Not everyone is happy just to peruse the BP leader boards and cheer for the team with the highest wOBA or best playoff odds for the rest of the season.

  48. Active roster only, Blue Jays leaders in OPS since opening day 2011…

    Bautista 984
    Encarnacion 820
    Lawrie 816
    Johnson 783
    Escobar 742

    (Clearly, Lawrie’s contribution with the glove vaults him past Edwin into the number two slot.)

    And WAR leaders over the same period…

    Bautista 9.2
    Escobar 5.1
    Lawrie 4.2
    Encarnacion 2.7
    Johnson 2.5

    (Escobar beats Lawrie here only because of playing time.)

    So what we have here is a 22 year old who has been either 2nd or 3rd most valuable player on the team over the past 1.33 seasons.

    Your criticism of Brett Lawrie is truly bizarre.

  49. I think that as little as we might/should disregard a coach’s influence on a player, Lawrie became a much more patient and a much better hitter under Chad Motolla’s tutelage in Las Vegas. There are some players that benefit from being more aggressive, as Colby Rasmus’ most recent string of success would indicate (albeit a small sample size), but I don’t think Lawrie is one of them. I feel that a patient Lawrie is a better Lawrie, but I don’t know if it’s a coaching decision to make him more aggressive or a conscious decision on the part of Lawrie (perhaps believing his own hype too much and abandoning the approach that made him a very good hitter last year – something that seems to have affected Jose Bautista as well this year).

    If he displays more patience at the plate – and the same goes for Bautista, Johnson, Escobar and others (Thames and Lind), they’ll be better. The approach of Dwayne Murphy, which seems to be “a walk ISN’T as good as a hit”, isn’t conducive to that.

  50. Man after you guys sold your souls to the score you’ve been nothing but a bunch of pessimistic assholes. I remember reading the independent djf and you guys would be defending JP riccardi half the time from the likes of Richard Griffin. Now when the team has a legit shot to make the playoffs you have gone negative.
    Case in point, you guys have had a hard-on for Travis Snider for 4 years even though the man has spend half that time failing in the big leagues. But brett lawrie does the same thing at a much more premium defensive position and you post shit like this.
    It’s like you guys only have the ability to write about a losing team, maybe it’s because you are losers yourselves.

  51. All that glisters is not gold. No shit Parkes.

    Lawrie is 22 and holding his own defensively. Sure, his OPS is not commensurate with that of a typical first division corner infielder, but there is time for Lawrie to make the adjustments. Those sweet meatballs are not coming his way and Lawrie needs to be more selective. Give Lawrie some time will ya?

    “How poor are they that have not patience!
    What wound did ever heal but by degrees?
    Thou know’st we work by wit, and not by witchcraft;
    And wit depends on dilatory time

    Impatience is the undoing of many of Shakespeare’s characters. Let’s not get carried away by suggesting that he be sent down to the minors to work on his swing, were it not for the two qualifiers in your conclusion.

    All in all, this whole piece is much ado about nothing.

  52. Couldnt this have all been answered in four words? Highly caffenated Maple boner

  53. Honestly this continuous unwarranted bashing on Lawrie from Parkes is beyond ridiculous. Basically you are using data only from this season and labeling a player as over-rated.

    As someone mentioned lets use all the PA he has accumulated so far:
    .816 OPS / .358 wOBA /126 WRC+ as a 22 years old. And don’t use that ridiculous excuse that those stats are skewed by last year because if you are going to bash on a player for using 2 months of 2012 then you should also accept that he had an incredible 171 PA in 2011. And its that point that really annoys me, you ignore those PA. ESPN did an article over the winter looking at just how good Lawrie was over those 171 PA and the list they came up with of players who did similar things was incredible.

    Furthermore this was not a AAAA low ceiling player who fluked those 171 PA. He came with a pedigree. Here is what John Sickels said about him last year, ” I am convinced that Brett Lawrie has everything needed to be a superstar”. He had him ranked as the 5th best prospect in baseball in 2011. He was also the only pundit that predicted he would be a good defender with experience. Keith Law had him at 11 in June last year. So this kid was an elite prospect.

    Educated Toronto fans think he has tremendous upside not because of some ridiculous allegiance to Canada, they think he has tremendous upside because he does. Last night was a pretty good example of why everyone thinks so highly of him. His struggles this year are mainly because you know these are professional pitchers who have made adjustments. Lawrie has to adjust to them, and I think he will make them.

    Also as a side note neither Trout or Harper had the kind of production that Lawrie did last year. Now I am not saying that he is as good as them, but Trout and Harper (like Lawrie) are going to go through a period of adjustment and will also look dumb at the plate because this is the Major Leagues and pitchers tend to make young hitters look bad no matter how good they are.

    Lets use some context when we talk about Lawrie. This is a talented kid playing a premium position and has a chance to be special. Your articles on Lawrie do not reflect that of a writer and more of a person who is simply using a main stream blog to get a rise out of Jays fans.

  54. Enough, Parkes. This is getting fucking embarrassing.

  55. If you’re not careful Parkes, you’re going to become the Damien Cox of bloggers.

  56. This post is a cry for help.

  57. Parkes your stuff is getting insufferable. Quoting Shakespeare and calling out fans of the team for having high expectations for the best prospect we’ve seen in ages? I get that your success hinges upon drawing interest to your blog but your strategy to increase readership by pissing off the Blue Jays fanbase is puzzling to say the least and certainly not prudent long term.

    Newsflash: We’re not all morons who accept Buck and Tabler’s ballwashing as gospel. The majority of commenting on DJF is proof of that. Hopefully smart enough to recognize that your recent Lawrie bashing is nothing but a weak attempt to increase pageviews.
    “Instead of measuring how many additional plays made at the team level the shift is contributing, it’s measuring how many additional plays are contributed to Lawrie by the shift, crediting him for some plays that other fielders would have made in a more traditional defensive alignment.”
    Great point…however in common sense terms, Lawrie is doing what’s being asked of him. Farrell is putting the shift on and he’s making the plays he’s supposed to…isn’t that the whole f’n point?

  58. Indeed, I think you are just trolling at this point. Why do you want us to be the sad, pathetic Jays fans from the last ten years.

    Parkes, you have not lived up to expectations.

  59. no one has even addressed, what to me, was the best argument: lawrie may be yet another blue jay (YABJ) who fails to meet the fans’ expectations AAAAaaaaaaaaaaand, that right now may in fact be the most oportune time to deal him. but people who’ve been suffering for 18 years (…and let’s be honest, most of you here probably stopped caring about the jays for an extended period of time, or are too young to even have been to a game during 92/93) so desperately want him to be “the one” that all you have to do is look at the volume of comments and critical article about lawrie generates to see how the fans are just that: unable to separate their beliefs from the reality.

    lawrie lit up aaa last year…but so has any half-decent player in the jays system since moving to vegas. why is lawrie special and JPA, cooper, snider, thames, gomes, can only muster one player between them that is considered a major league regular? there’s a reason that the brewers traded him, and it isn’t entirely because “some of these guys got a bad attitude, skip”

    anyway – as much as i’ll believe it when i see it with lawrie et al. this isn’t the best written piece for a lot of the reasons people have alread pointed out. it reads as a troll post, imo. mission accomplished…you…raisin-testicled ninny (!)(?)

  60. The only places where people seem to be obsessed with Lawrie’s citizenship are the DJF site and the Sportsnet broadcast booth. That’s it. Anyone else I know who follows the game simply sees Lawrie as an exciting young player, who’s still very much in a work in progress. I wish you guys (and Pat and Tabby) would just shut the fuck up already about what country issued his passport. Who the fuck cares?

  61. Jesus Christ, Parkes.

    Yes, he’s definitely overrated by casual fans.

    But he’s also only twenty- fucking-one!

  62. leave it up to the jersey-over-dress-shirt wearin’ parkes for a wonder piece like this

    now can someone please explain to me WHAT THE FUCK was the point of this post?

  63. Probably worth noting that UZR, which ignores defensive shifts entirely by eliminating them from the equation still loves his glove, and fWAR (which uses uzr as it’s defensive metric) ranks Lawrie as the second most valuable player on the team to date behind Kelly Johnson.

    The fact is, he’s at 1.5 fwar on the season when his 94 wrc+ has been what we’d probably deem quite disappointing. That really should be viewed as more impressive to us than anything, as it’s a tremendous amount of value from a 22 year old who is likely currently underperforming. zips, for example, forcasts a .347 woba on him for the rest of the year, and a 4.8 war season. From a 22 year old that would be pretty fucking incredible, definitely not something to sneeze at.

    Not really trying to lambaste you for constantly trying to bring people back down to earth on their praise of Lawrie, Parkes . I get that you’re trying to add some reason to the hype machine behind everyones favourite maple syrup wunderkind , but let’s not act as though we merely have decent player here. Lawrie isn’t Harper or Trout, but he’s basically in the tier directly below that in the land of young MLB talent. It’s silly to get annoyed at people for being excited about that, it’s been a good long while since the jays had a player this talented debut for them.

    • “Lawrie isn’t Harper or Trout, but he’s basically in the tier directly below that in the land of young MLB talent.” I could agree with this, and I don’t think that anything I wrote above counters that thought.

  64. Thank you Parkes, this needed to be said. However you know the reaction from the fanbase will be a little on the strong side. Good for you.

  65. great.. so what are we supposed to do about it. complain about the ball washing that Buck and Pat give Lawrie every time he makes a great play. Well I have noticed a bit of favoritism when it comes to Lawrie.. and you can’t blame the team for playing the Canadian Kid card. There are a lot of people who know about baseball but don’t give a damned about the stats, and those people will shell out the money to see the Canadian Kid. It might be wrong, but it is what it is.

  66. Everybody please refrain from responding the idiocy of this article. Parkes is a tool that’ s just trying to stir the pot and get everyone fired up. There’s no logic in this article whatsoever so let’s just forget about it and move on. For all the people in the media that dickride on Lawrie, nobody out there mentions him in their work more than Parkes.

  67. You are so desperate for pageviews its pathetic.

  68. The only conclusion I can draw about this post is either that Parkes is fed up with Jays fans worshipping Lawrie when he hasn’t yet lived up to expectations based on his potential.

    Or,

    Parkes needs to draw more traffic to thescore.com to boost revenue in a time of economic uncertainty.

  69. Lawrie is a Ty Cobb, a Pete Rose, a George Brett kind of player, i think Parkes hates him because he is a shitty writer who is jealous of anyone who is a better writer, your articles have as much power as Al Newman had lol

  70. And just for the fucking record, Buck Martinez is 100% right when he boasts about Lawrie. It is a fact that no 3b in the game has the range to make the play he made in the 9th last night. Go fuck yourself parkes, saying you can write a good article is like saying that Our mayor ain’t a fat bastard!

  71. While i agree that Lawrie is overhyped for sure, i love how this two minute video from last night dispells eveything in this post:

    http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=21876709&c_id=mlb

  72. Fire this clown writer.

  73. why compare a new player to others that have been in the league – in some cases, for quite some time. wouldn’t it have made some sense to show the numbers of the best players in that position when they were starting there. Wouldn’t that be the best comparison?

  74. troll troll troll your boat

    parkes you have officially switched from elf to troll

  75. the fact lawrie is canadian has nothign to do with why i like him. If he were an american born player, and played with as much intesity as he does now, i would still like him just as much. Him being canadian is just that extra icing swirl on those hostess cake things!

  76. Every knows he needs to hit for more power, and he’s young at a pretty new position. Naturally defense a work in progress. There’s not much insight here, just some cherry picked stats.

  77. this article doesn’t make any sense . and I’m not even a brett lawrie fan

    to say that fan overrate him and use only his current stats is pretty pointless.

    fans of every team overrate and like players based on more then what they have done or what they are currently doing. Baseball is a game of projections, and people are projecting him to be good, which i dont think anyone can deny at this point, so why is that wrong?

    Trout struggled last year.. would it have been fair to write this same article about the hype he was coming with. Or how about how much hype matt weiters came up with..
    its all based on projections, none of it is based on who the player is in that first year or two. Sure lawrie wont be a trout, but to say that he’s overhyped is pointless, right now regardless of what team he was on, the fans would be equally as excited about the future of their 3B position.

    You essentially wrote this article as a troll job to get back at all the fan backlash when you wrote about the helmet toss. pretty petty journalism if you ask me.

  78. Whatever buddy! He is the real deal! I watch him every day and this kid can play

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