Fantasy Baseball

Brett Lawrie is a Heartbreaker

Brett Lawrie

Sometimes, we fall in love with players and create unrealistic expectations. For many, Brett Lawrie is one of these players, and he may be breaking your heart.  He may have even broken your heart in 2012.  But as he takes a seat on the disabled list with a sprained ankle, now could be the time to let Lawrie back into your life.

Brett Lawrie was called up to the major leagues during the 2011 season.  In 43 games, he impressed us by hitting 9 homers, stealing 7 bags, and hitting a cool .293 with an OBP of .373.  Heading into 2012, some labeled Lawrie as a top 5 third baseman.  And although he didn’t have a bad season, he failed to live up to expectations.  Now in 2013, he is struggling, hitting .209 with 5 homers and 2 stolen bases in 153 plate appearances.  Lawrie is not off to a good start, but let’s see if there is a glimmer of hope.

In Lawrie’s first two seasons, he managed to strikeout about 17% of the time.  This falls in line with his minor league numbers.  This season, his strikeout rate is 23.5%.  His swing percentages, including his O-Swing%, don’t seem to be out of character or out of line.  Lawrie’s contact rates are much lower than they were in 2012, but they aren’t that far off when compared to his successful 2011 season.  He even has a lower IFFB% than he did in 2011.

When you consider Lawrie’s history with whiffs and that he has dealt with health issues this season (rib injury), one should be optimistic that his K-rate will lower, and his contact rate will rise.

There is a concern, however, when you look at Lawrie’s batted ball results.  He is continuing a trend from last season that involved hitting too many groundballs.  Lawrie also needs to hit more line drives this season, but that hasn’t been a worrisome trend.  Although groundballs will help his BABIP, it could prevent Lawrie from reaching his home run potential.

In fact, despite his tremendous struggles, Lawrie’s ISO is actually higher than it was last season.  ISO helps us measure a hitter’s raw power and an average ISO is considered .145.  Lawrie’s current ISO is .165.  His average fly ball distance is 284.11 feet.  It is too early to judge his power, but all this seems promising.  If he can hit a few more flyballs, it looks like Lawrie is capable of launching 25 homers in a full season.

There is no doubt Brett Lawrie is in a funk, and being on the DL only adds fuel to the fire of a disgruntled Lawrie owner.  But this may be the chance to buy low and allow him back onto your roster and into your heart.  He is still capable of delivering a solid batting average with 10 to 12 homers and about 10 stolen bases.  In deeper leagues where you may need a 3B or a CI, Brett Lawrie is someone to take a chance on at a safe price.

Thanks to and for the data.

Written exclusively for by Richard Migliorisi

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  1. madden_curser
    May 31, 2013 at 3:08 pm — Reply

    I moved Manny Machado into my line-up at 3rd and have been holding Lawrie as my DH, He was my 9th round pick, so I was hesitant to cut him. It was almost a relief he went on the DL. Would be nice if he came back rested and with a vengeance. I need to see something more between now and the ASB…

    • May 31, 2013 at 5:46 pm — Reply

      I was thinking this as I was writing the article. We don’t always know the bumps and bruises these players get throughout the season. A DL stint might allow him to heal other minor injuries along with his ankle sprain.

      Hopefully it also allows him to clear his mind and relax. Even work on his swing if possible. And of course come back physically healthy and at or close to full strength.

      Hopefully you have a DL slot open. You shouldn’t cut him at this point.

  2. gifratt
    June 1, 2013 at 6:15 am — Reply

    I’ve given up on Lawire. I just don’t see it. There are so many other options out there that are better. I would not be surprised given Toronto’s history that he sent down > He is so lost right now I think that would be the best thing. Launch him to the waiver wire!!!

    • June 1, 2013 at 10:15 am — Reply

      You shouldn’t usually cut an above average investment this early in the season unless they sustained a very length injury. Madden_curser mentioned he selected Lawrie in the 9th round.

      There are exceptions when it comes to leagues, including shallowness or the lack of roster spots. But under normal circumstances, hang onto lawrie. Obviously if you are in a league with real good options out there, you may want to pull the trigger, but I doubt most leagues at this point have those options.

      You made an above average investment. If you don’t want Lawrie, try to find a trade partner that is having trouble with 3B/CI and see if you can do a sell low/buy low sort of deal. I am sure the guy hanging onto BJ Upton wouldn’t mind taking a chance on lawrie if he needed CI/3B help and you needed OF help.

      And there are still some Lawrie believers out there. If you want to gamble on a SP target, maybe someone like Josh Johnson is possible. Guys under-performing and/or have injuries/injury concerns could be some realistic targets in trades for Lawrie.

      The article isn’t meant for you to think Lawrie busts out and gives you a 25 and 20 season. I think expectations were too high, too soon for Lawrie. Last season he didn’t perform awful considering it was his first full season, yet everyone was disappointed.

      The big concern was his lack of power and health in 2012. There is a continuation of that now, but his ISO has been slightly above average this season, so we should wait and see if that continues to develop.

      I think for deeper leagues and dynasty leagues, he is a reasonable buy low option. He could still give you 10 and 10 after he comes back from injury, and that works in some leagues. He also has legit 20/20 upside for the future, and his upside is one of the main reasons we are talking about him.

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