27-Year-Old Second Baseman – Free Agent
2018 Fantasy Baseball Outlook
There was no outlook written for Brett Lawrie in 2018. Check out the latest news below for more on his current fantasy value.
Brett Lawrie Contract Information:
Agreed to a one-year, $3.5 million contract with the White Sox in December of 2016, avoiding arbitration.
Lawrie (leg) was released by the White Sox on Friday, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN reports.
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Brett Lawrie: MLB Games Played By Position
Brett Lawrie Split Stats (View Full Split Stats)
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Brett Lawrie Defensive Stats
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Brett Lawrie: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
There was no outlook written for Brett Lawrie.
Following a fantastic rookie debut, Lawrie has remained healthy in just one of five subsequent seasons. He has some speed but doesn't run often these days. His gap power finds the seats enough to get into double-digit home runs, but he hasn't cracked the 20 homer plateau. Whereas he was once a high-contact hitter, his strikeout rate has risen for three consecutive seasons, and he's now a burden in batting average. The White Sox have taken notice and traded for their second baseman of the future and baseball's No. 1 prospect, Yoan Moncada, this offseason. Moncada will likely spend a couple months in the minors, but when he is ready, Lawrie could see his playing time tick down if he is not producing enough to profile at third base or DH. Believers in the pseudoscience around the "Age 27 breakout" theory should make Lawrie a draft day target. Overall, however, he's reserve round material in deep mixed leagues and a backup plan in single-league formats.
Acquired last offseason in the Josh Donaldson trade, Lawrie was able to stay healthy for a whole season in 2015 for the first time in his career, playing in 149 games. Lawrie used that health to provide a solid fantasy season at a middle-infield spot (he was eligible at second and third base in most leagues), hitting .260 with 16 homers. His walk rate, which has never been high, fell to a career-low 4.7% which caused his OBP to fall under .300, a definite black eye on his real-world value. Lawrie dropped off significantly in the second half, hitting .282 in his first 85 games, but only .233 after the All-Star break. The A's decided to flip him to the White Sox in the offseason, and he should benefit from the upgrade in home park, while offering the versatility of carrying eligibility at the keystone and hot corner into the 2016 campaign.
There is a theory that says to pounce on post-hype prospects because that talent can still emerge. But, what if that prospect was overrated to begin with? Lawrie is only 25, but he has had more than 1,400 plate appearances in the major leagues and owns a career slash line of .265/.323/.426 and has had difficulty staying on the field. He is an impatient batter that does not get cheated on his swings, but possesses more gap power than over-the-fence power. Early in his career, he attempted steals, but had a poor conversion rate, so in 2014, he simply gave up trying. He has had reverse splits the last two seasons as he has done quite poorly against lefties while providing nearly all of his production against righties. Lawrie, who was afforded a fresh start after being traded to the A's in November, does qualify at both second and third base, and the numbers play better up the middle than they do at the corner.
While he's mostly lauded for his work with the glove, Lawrie has also shown signs that he can become a very good major league hitter. His .254/.315/.397 slash line in 2013 wasn't particularly impressive, but he continues to make contact (15.4% strikeout rate) and draw a decent number of walks (6.8% walk rate). More disappointing than anything else is the fact that he's hit only 11 home runs in each of the last two seasons, after smashing nine in just 171 plate appearances in 2011. Lawrie still has a chance to find that power, and 20-plus homers would really take his game to the next level. As is, he's one of the better defensive third basemen in the league, with a good enough bat to easily justify a starting spot. There's some serious breakout potential here, and it doesn't hurt that Lawrie will continue to slot into a strong Toronto lineup.
Coming off an impressive debut in 2011, Lawrie was a trendy early-round third base option heading into drafts. Like many before him, Lawrie struggled to make the necessary adjustments in his second big league season, showing little power (11 home runs) and a drop in OBP (.324). Injuries also mounted, and he missed games due to knee, back, calf, and oblique pain, causing some to wonder about his reckless playing style. The jump in groundball percentage (50.2%) is disturbing, but Lawrie should show more power in 2013 and could be an ideal post-hype sleeper, especially with a loaded lineup around him.
Lawrie darn near hit his way onto the Opening Day roster with a torrid spring training but the team opted to send him down to Triple-A to work on his defense at the hot corner. He never stopped hitting, but a broken hand pushed his major league debut back about six weeks before getting the call in August. A fractured finger ended his season in late September but the 21-year-old showed plenty of promise in the 43 games he did play, displaying a nice combination of power and speed in the process. He'll be entrenched as the team's starting third baseman and should provide plenty of offense in his first full year in the bigs.
Lawrie had a solid season in 2010, hitting .285/.346/.449 in 554 at-bats for Double-A Huntsville as a 20-year-old. He only hit eight home runs, but many scouts expect his power to increase as he gets older. His defense at second base is panned by scouts and he could end up as a corner outfielder. Lawrie was traded to Toronto in the offseason for Shaun Marcum, and he should start the season at Triple-A as the Blue Jays try to figure out where they want to eventually work him into their lineup.
While Lawrie's line of .274/.348/.454 at Low-A Wisconsin may not look impressive, keep in mind that the Midwest league favors pitching and that he was a 19-year-old for the entire season. Scouts still rave about his bat speed and while his defense at second base is a work in progress, it looks like it may become adequate in time. The Brewers will likely start Lawrie off at Double-A Huntsville and see how things go from there. His path to the majors is currently blocked by Rickie Weeks, but Weeks is a free agent after the 2011 season and the Brewers would love to have a replacement ready.
Lawrie was taken in the first round of the 2008 draft, but has not yet made his pro debut. He played with the Canadian national team instead, where he played catcher, but he can also play second or third base. The Brewers will try to develop him at catcher and hope that he can move up to the majors in three or four years.