Brett Lawrie Setting Himself Apart with Toronto Blue Jays

Bleacher ReportContributor IIIAugust 19, 2011

Brett Lawrie in Oakland
Brett Lawrie in Oakland

Brett Lawrie, the Blue Jays' best non-pitching prospect, acquired in the Shaun Marcum trade, has impressed in his brief stint in the majors this month.

Through 13 games with the Blue Jays, Lawrie has posted a slash line of .378/.440/.771 along with three home runs and a stolen base. 

Obviously, any analysis of his season has to be taken with a grain of salt as Lawrie has only 50 plate appearances in the majors, but Lawrie has been able to set himself apart from other rookies in a few key areas in 2011. 

First off, Blue Jays fans should temper some of the high expectations Lawrie has produced after his strong start until he gets some more major league plate appearances.His home-run numbers are somewhat inflated, with a 23.3 percent HR/FB ratio, and his fly-ball rate of 36.1 percent is not overly impressive because 15.4 percent of them have been within the infield.

In terms of batting average, Lawrie has benefited from a .412 BABIP. However, his line-drive rate of 22.2 percent indicates that he has hit the ball well and that not many of his hits have been of a cheap variety.Furthermore, he has yet to record an infield hit since being called up.

Lawrie, who had an 18-percent strikeout rate during his three seasons in the minors, has slightly improved upon those numbers since being called up, with a 16-percent rate. He should be able to improve, considering His 7.8 percent swing-and-miss rate.  

Plate discipline is where Lawrie has set himself apart from other rookies this season. His 10-percent walk rate is above average, but he has only swung at 20 percent of pitches out of the strike zone. For reference, only three players who have had 300 plate appearances have a chase rate under 20 percent, with Bobby Abreu leading baseball with an 18.9-percent rate.

Along with Lawrie's potential speed (he stole 13 bases in Triple-A this year), his above-average range at third base should make him a cornerstone of the Blue Jays for years to come. He has made his fair share of errors this season, but I think he needs more experience at the position as this is only his first professional season there. He already has posted a 1.0 WAR in his 13 games, and he has a 5.0 WAR type of ceiling.