When the Toronto Blue Jays acquired Brett Lawrie from the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for Shaun Marcum, most people were aware of how special of a player Lawrie would be. The only question was when he’d be able to illustrate his special talents at the Major League level. On August 5, 2011, that question was answered; Lawrie was recalled.
In just 38 games (149 plate appearances), Lawrie has surpassed his lofty expectations. The third baseman has posted a .303/.378/.629 line with 9 homeruns, 23 RBI, 23 runs, and 7 stolen bases. While Lawrie’s bat always impressed in the Minors, his sensational 14.3 UZR/150 in the field has solidified his “completeness.”
Lawrie’s offensive and defensive outputs are so impressive, that it computes to a 2.6 WAR. That puts the infielder in the same class as Carlos Quentin, Drew Stubbs, and Adam Jones–but in an average of 72% less games than the trio. In fact, if one were to extrapolate his 2.6 WAR over the course of an entire season, Lawrie would be on-pace to post an 11.08 WAR. Mind you, this level of WAR has not been achieved since Barry Bonds‘s 11.9 WAR in 2004.
In terms of peripherals, Lawrie’s .323 BABIP is slightly elevated, but not in gross proportions. The infielder has also exhibited tremendous power, posting a beyond impressive .326 ISO and 18.4% HR/FB. And while Lawrie does own a relatively high 18.1 K%, he’s also just swung at 21.8% of pitches outside the zone–which illustrates an elite understanding of the strike-zone.
Granted, it’s a little premature to take a relatively small sample size and make grandiose comparisons, but Lawrie’s 2.6 WAR in just 38 games does illustrate the type of value he brings to the table on both sides of the ball.