Brett Lawrie: Now in the Majors, Eh?

The Toronto Blue Jays promoted third basemen Brett Lawrie from Triple-A Las Vegas yesterday, putting a Larry Walker sized weight on the Canadian born 21 year old’s shoulders. That isn’t to say he’ll be expected to be as good as Walker. He just happens to be the best Candian born player to debut for a Canadian team since Walker with the Expos in 1989.

Not only does Lawrie have the pressure of being the home country kid, he also was the main piece the Blue Jays got in return for trading Shaun Marcum to the Brewers. Marcum was a fan favorite and has continued to put up excellent numbers (3.66 xFIP) for his new team. Lawrie won’t be tarred and feathered if he has a sub-par two months, but he does have lofty expectations bestowed upon him. That being said, what can we expect from him going forward?

Looking at Lawrie’s .353/.415/.661 line at Triple-A without any context makes it seem far more impressive than it is, despite being young for the level. The Jays Triple-A affiliate plays in Las Vegas, one of the best hitters’ parks in the minors. It has a 115 HR park factor for right handed hitters. That’s basically the equivalent of Yankee Stadium to left handed batters. He had a .308 ISO at Vegas, and no matter how good of a hitter’s park Rogers Centre is he won’t come close to that figure. Being that he is just 21 years old I’m not comfortable telling you to take his A (.362 wOBA) and AA (.361) numbers as an indication of his true talent level. That said, he likely falls between those two numbers and his current .459 wOBA. Kids, especially top prospects, can improve greatly in a short period of time.

Lawrie had a preseason ZiPS projection of .254/.309/.400. If his current numbers were factored into that I imagine that triple slash line would improve. Currently the American League average is .256/.322/.401. That should be easily attainable for Lawrie. Third base hasn’t been a very deep position this season so any added production is welcomed. He’s almost certainly an instant upgrade over players like Casey McGehee (all three homer games aside), Danny Valencia or Placido Polanco. Jose Bautista will be shifting back to right field, with Eric Thames moving to left.

The call up of Lawrie means the demotion of Travis Snider. For all his minor league success – he has SMASHED Triple-A pitching – he hasn’t been able to figure it out in the major leagues. He has a career slash line of .248/.307/.423 in 877 plate appearances. His power is vanished, dropping from a .208 ISO in 2010 to just .123 this season. Hopefully, for his sake and Toronto’s, he’s able to figure things out back in Las Vegas.

Print This Post

Erik writes for DraysBay and has also written for Bloomberg Sports. Follow him on Twitter @ehahmann.

16 Responses to “Brett Lawrie: Now in the Majors, Eh?”

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
  1. I have to disagree about his true talent level.

    His park adjusted wOBA this year is 0.447.

    His GB, LD, FB %’s of;

    38.1. 32.8, 19.7 look to play very well in Rogers. Alot of his HR’s will turn into doubles and triples at the Major league level though.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  2. Brendan says:

    He is 2nd base eligible in yahoo leagues. That obviously adds to his value.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Dr. Strangelove says:

      He is also eligible at 2B in ESPN leagues. He looks like a must add for anyone without an elite 2B. I’m banking on him beating out the ZIPS projection and being in a very good lineup will give a slight Rs bonus but obviously being in the AL East doesn’t help.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Kris says:

      But what are the chances he’ll retain 2B eligibility next season? The Jays seem intent on keeping him at 3B. As a 2B he’s got a ton of value, but as a 3B where does he stand?

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  3. Shaun Catron says:

    + playing games at Rogers Centre (very RHB friendly, it almost made Aaron Hill look servicable for a few years)

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  4. tdotsports1 says:

    Lawrie worked the count, and got an RBI single in his first big league at-bat! Full report at my blog!

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  5. Bobby Yost says:

    Where can I find park factors for major(and minor) broken down by handedness?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  6. Blueyays says:

    His MLEs are from this year’s AAA performance are actually much better: .280/.333/.503. And that’s Park-Adjusted.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  7. opisgod says:

    Shaun Marcum still a excellent pitcher? xFIP across the league has dropped, his -rate is only 96, down from 89 last year even though its actually a better raw number. Even then, he struggles to average 6 innings and has fallen off considerably since NL hitters have gotten used to him.


    Vote -1 Vote +1