Eno Sarris

Baseball Daily Dose

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Is Lawrie's Lumber Ready?

Friday, August 05, 2011


Brett Lawrie is finally a big leaguer. The new third baseman for the Blue Jays was called up Thursday afternoon, with Travis Snider (and his bag full of strikeouts) headed back the other direction. Lawrie will be the everyday third baseman, most likely, as the team tries to appraise what they have for the future. Jose Bautista moves back to the outfield, meaning Eric Thames and Rajai Davis will share right field for the forseeable future and the hot Edwin Encarnacion is safe at DH.

How will Lawrie do? Who knows. But he was more highly ranked as a prospect coming into the season than Jason Kipnis and had flawless minor league statistics. He probably doesn't have the power that he showed in Triple-A in the Blue Jays organization -- his .666 slugging percentage there was inflated by the homer-happy home park -- but he does have above-average power. He doesn't have Desmond Jennings' speed, but he stole 30 bases in a full year at Double-A last year. He doesn't walk at an elite rate, but he was above average for his minor league career. And lastly, he doesn't avoid the strikeout like a champ, but it doesn't look like it will be a problem in the major leagues either.

At his peak, Lawrie should be a .280/.350/.450+ type of player with 20/20 upside. At 21 and getting his first taste of the big leagues, it's a lot to ask of him to hit like that right away. But that's tasty ability, and players looking for upside at second or third base should pick him up for their bench right away.

* The doctor had good news for many stars yesterday, but the tea leaves are harder to read today. Johan Santana had to check back in with team doctors and the worst was feared. The diagnoses was that he has simple shoulder fatigue and will resume his throwing program in a week. Still, having a surgery in common with Chien-Ming Wang and Chad Pennington is not good. Starting him any any fantasy league this year will come with risk, even if he does come back.

Shin-Soo Choo took a successful round of batting practice and should be back in 15 days according to his manager. That's unmitigated good news. Hanley Ramirez did not return immediately from his sprained shoulder, but that wasn't so much of a surprise. Paul Konerko, however, did finally return, at DH. Looks like he's feeling better after getting hit by a pitch earlier this week. Carlos Gonzalez seemed ready to go, but then some bad weather delayed his rehab. Might be Sunday for his return now. Ike Davis is headed to New York to find out more about his left ankle. It's go-or-no time for him. Justin Morneau will begin his rehab assignment Friday. Stephen Strasburg threw a successful bullpen and will be headed to his rehab assignment this Sunday! They will take it slow though.

* Pitching news! Joel Pineiro is headed to the bullpen after losing his control and ground-ball ability. Scott Baker said that his surgically-repaired elbow is not 100%. Uh-oh. Justin Masterson can handle a team with a bunch of good left-handed hitters. Or so six innings with nine strikeouts and three runs against Boston would suggest. Maybe Dan Haren can handle a second half. He held the Twins to one run in eight innings with six strikeouts in August! Madison Bumgarner might have lost, but he struck out nine in eight innings and only gave up eight baserunners. That was a good day.

Alexi Ogando held the Tigers to two runs in 6 1/3, and struck out seven. It's no surprise that he walked none, as he has excellent control. Perhaps the predicted regression, based on his ground-ball rates and repertoire, isn't coming. Ivan Nova only gave up one run in 7 2/3 innings -- with ten strikeouts. Who's going to the pen there? Erik Bedard gave up three runs in five innings (with five strikeouts), and in front of that Boston team, that should be good enough most days. Philip Humber gave up four runs in 6 1/3 innings which is really not that surprising. Bench him against any tough matchups if you can.

* The bulls in the pen deserve some attention. Ryan Madson is on paternity leave but might be back for the weekend, so Brad Lidge might not have much time in the sun. Koji Uehara pitched in the seventh inning for the Rangers, Mike Adams took the eighth, and Neftali Feliz struck out two, walked none, and nailed down the save. Color this analyst surprised. Uehara could still take this job, but Adams is slightly ahead if Feliz falters again. Carlos Marmol got a save against the Pirates. Yay! Fernando Salas got another save. Are we really worried about him any more?

National League Quick Hits: That was a triple shy of a cycle for Troy Tulowitzki, by the way … Derrek Lee is day-to-day with a sore hand … David Freese was hit in the head in Thursday's game and has a mild concussion … Righty Hunter Pence hit a homer off a lefty, which is his best addition to the lefty-laden Philly lineup … Yadier Molina got a five game suspension for his flying spittle and won't appeal, so Gerald Laird come on down … Ryan Doumit is back, and starting, so he could be short-term replacement in fantasy leagues … Jose Tabata (quad) should run the bases Thursday … James McDonald gave up four runs in seven innings with three strikeouts, which isn't great. obviously … Mark DeRosa is up to back up first base and Brandon Belt is back down to the major leagues (sigh) … Kyle Lohse only lasted three innings (ten baserunners), but he's really not that good anyway … Esmil Rogers struck out six ad walked two, so giving up one run in 5 2/3 innings was a believable result against the Nationals.

American League Quick Hits: Carlos Santana had three hits (one a home run) there really isn't a reason not to like him … It looks like Trayvon Robinson will be called up shortly to Seattle, but it's hard to tell if his power will translate and how much contact he will make, so be cautious … Francisco Liriano gave up seven runs in five innings, so the five strikeouts and two walks weren't that exciting … Adam Dunn hit his eleventh home run … Carlos Carrasco began serving his six-game suspension … Carlos Villanueva has reduced arm speed and velocity (perhaps due to a three-year high in innings pitched) and was sent for an MRI … Robinson Chirinos followed up his first major league home run (and four RBI night) Wednesday with a game-winning walk-off hit in the 12th inning on Thursday … Chris Tillman looks like the Saturday starter for the Orioles … Jack Cust was released … On Thursday, Ryan Kalish will play in his first game since injuring his shoulder in April.


Eno Sarris is an editor and writer at FanGraphs.com. You can find his work gathered in one place at and enosarris.com. Follow his misadventures in writing on Twitter as well.
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