Saturday, September 3, 2011

Just how good is Brett Lawrie?

We’ve discussed the Blue Jays’ marquee player trade with Milwaukee during the last off-season a few times since Late Innings came to the internet back in late February. Mostly the discussion was based around: is he ready for The Show and can the team live with more errors from the left side of the infield? This was back in the days of Edwin Encarnacion holding down the hot corner and we all know how that went.

However, the Jays’ brain trust decided their blue chip prospect required more work learning his new position despite some pretty solid numbers he put up in Spring Training. In Las Vegas, he lit up the night with his dazzling presence at the plate, some solid play at 3rd base (after an error-filled start to the AAA season, mostly caused by the hard infield). It looked as if he was ready for The Show. Then Lawrie got plunked on the hand by a pitch with some broken bones resulting. That took well over a month to heal. Once back on the field in Vegas, he took up where he left off, batting in the high .300s and making all the plays. Finally, Lawrie could be denied no longer and (sounding reluctant to do it) the Jays brought him up.

So what’s the kid from Langley, BC done since his call up on August 5th? He’s only led all 2011 rookies with a .330 average, 17 extra base hits (including 4 triples and 7 HR), 20 RBIs in only 27 games, stolen 4 bases, and made some dazzling plays at the hot corner. Not only that, he’s been able to delivered in the clutch, most recently in Baltimore on September first when his two-run blast provided a come-from-behind win for his team. In other words, the kid has delivered a pretty convincing impression of an all-star.

As the days go on and the hits pile up, the media (at least in Canada) has been taking more notice of the Jays’ young phenom. The attention ratcheting up hasn’t seemed to make a dent in the manner in which he goes about his business. It’s all about the team, he repeatedly insists. “I’m just playing the game and having fun, and just competing.” He also apparently brings an exciting electricity to the dugout and club house.

It’s a pretty heady situation for Jays fans. If this is what the kid is really all about and he’s still wet behind the ears, what can we expect in future seasons? Our all-star right fielder (Bautista) is now back where he belongs, the team has someone who should be a fixture at third for many years, and when they finally move him up in the line-up to one of the power slots, he should be able to deliver even more RBIs and highlight reel moments for the faithful.

From where I’m sitting, the kid from Langley, BC is the real deal and could very likely go on to become the best player Canada has ever produced.


Larry Toman said...

I could not agree with you more.He is an incredible talent that is bringing something very special to the Jays. His intensity, drive and emotion are very special qualities that are much needed for our team. He is very young, but at the same time, very skilled. This is a forward looking time for our jays, and I think the future looks bright.Great read, Rick. Thanks and cheers.

Will Braund said...

Well said Rick. It's great that Toronto fans have two players to cheer about but also to believe in after all these years. Lawrie continued his magical start with an extra inning walk off blast against the Bosox today. He appears to be quite the spark, and that's a rare commodity in modern baseball. I guess it's time I compared him to other rookie phenoms of the past. And I see that Jesus Montero, the Yankees' number one prospect, got going with two homers today.

Rick Blechta said...

And just to prove my point, Mssr. Lawrie hit a walk-off homer yesterday in the 11th after a fantastic pitchers' duel with the Red Sox.

The kid can do it all. Just hope this is the harbinger of many great seasons to come. Lawrie is just a flat-out exciting player.