Originally posted on Baseball Professor  |  Last updated 2/13/13
High expectations doomed Brett Lawrie in 2012. While there were definitely positives to be taken from his first full season in the majors, most expected him to be a borderline 20/20 candidate after hitting nine homers and stealing seven bases in a 43-game audition in 2011.I was among those who were let down by Lawrie, but while the power numbers weren’t there — his .132 ISO was T-108th of 143 batters with at least 500 PA — he did manage to score 73 runs, steal 13 bases, and bat .273 in his first season. Peripherally speaking, Lawrie’s 20.0% line drive rate and 16.0% strikeout rate were pretty stellar too for a player with so little experience.What really ate into his numbers last year was his 1.69 GB:FB ratio. Grounders are generally preferable to fly balls when it comes to batting average, but it’s hard to hit doubles, triples, and homers off ground balls. He performed much better in this regard in 2011, so we’ll have to see if this is a trend that corrects itself early in 2013.At a GlanceStrengths: potential Neutral: R, HR, RBI, SB, BA, OBP, SLG, OPSWeaknesses: nonePlayer ComparisonsBest-case scenario: Hanley Ramirez (LAD) Likely scenario: Ben Zobrist (TB), Aaron Hill (ARI), Brandon Phillips (CIN)Worst-case scenario: Kyle Seager (SEA)Brett Lawrie 2013 Fantasy ProjectionLawrie would have been a heck of a lot more valuable batting second behind Jose Reyes and in front of Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion, but alas, Melky Cabrera is the perfect number two hitter. That will push Lawrie behind the heart of the lineup, like to the six-slot after Colby Rasmus. As such he won’t have a lot of talent ready to drive him in, so his overall run total will probably be compromised.The good news is I expect a great rebound in the power categories. Like I said in the intro, Lawrie’s homers and RBI will likely come down to his ability to put the ball in the air, and I’d be mildly surprised if we don’t get at least 18 homers from Lawrie in a full season of at-bats this year. He’s already shown us he can run enough to make an impact in steals, stealing 19 bases in 2009, 30 in 2010, and 20 in 2011, and 13 last year.For those of you in keeper leagues, Lawrie has the chance to one day mature into a 25-homer, 15-steal player with plenty of run and RBI potential depending on lineup slot and I think we’ll start seeing that kind of production as soon as 2014. Be bullish on him, especially if you’re in a league that allows you to keep him at the same dollar value or draft round as this year when his stock is down.
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