Brett Lawrie is a hot button player in fantasy baseball. He has been since he burst on the major league scene with a .293 average, nine homers and seven steals in just 43 games as a rookie (2011). Since that time he’s been roundly viewed as a disappointment as injury after injury has stalled his progress. Will the talented player that Lawrie is ever fully emerge in the big leagues or will he forever be doomed by expectations that had him penned as a future All-Star?
Brett Lawrie is a six foot tall, 220 lbs bundle of energy. He can’t sit still, is aggressive on the field, and never seems to be satisfied as he boasts a bravado that leads to him being seen as arrogant by many. Given that he was ranked as the 40th best prospect in baseball by Baseball America during his last minor league season (2011), it is obvious that the bravado was supported by immense talent. Over 340 minor league games Lawrie hit .294, got on base at a .361 clip and posted a .489 SLG. Those numbers don’t tell the whole story though. In 2011 he appeared in 73 games between High-A ball and Triple-A and to say that he mashed would be an understatement. In 73 games he hit .347 with a 1.060 OPS as he blasted 18 long balls, stole 13 bases, scored 64 times and drove in 62 runs… in 73 games remember. Clearly he didn’t need much more seasoning, not after tearing up big league pitchers in his 43 cup of coffee in 2011.
Heading into the 2012 season some in the fantasy community were ready to knight Lawrie as a top-5 third baseman and a top-40 player overall after just 43 games of big league experience (that’s true, even though I was never in that group. You know who you are). That projection proved to be far too aggressive. Lawrie was solid hitting .273 with 11 homer and 13 steals, he even scored 73 runs, but for those expecting greatness this just wasn’t close to being good enough. Hampering Lawrie’s outlook was the fact that injuries, partly due to his all out style of play, caused him to make it out onto the field for just 125 games.
The 2013 season was even worse. The sky-high expectations were muted, but his performance dipped from ’12, and the injuries once again held him down. Lawrie appeared in a mere 107 games hitting just .254 with 11 homers and nine steals while crossing home plate 41 times. As a result of two moderate seasons and being three years removed from the hype Lawrie’s value is at an all-time low in the fantasy game.
Let’s break down Lawrie.