Every once in awhile a player comes along to a sports team that captures the imagination and attention of the fan base. Whether it is their work ethic, their talent, their charisma or their energy….people rally around that player.
Since my favorite baseball team has moved to Washington, being a good Canadian boy I had to cheer for the only team remaining in Canada, the Toronto Blue Jays. Now even though I have been an Expos fan, I have followed and cheered for the Jays as long as I did the Expos. I just pledged myself to the underdog of the two teams and now have been forced to admit to myself that I needed to leave the Expos behind. I had to embrace the fact that I was now a Blue Jays fan.
Something happened last season that has me more invested in the Blue Jays and the baseball season than I have been for a few years, the chance to see what Brett Lawrie can do over a full Major League season. There is something about the kid that caught my eye, his energy and competitive drive is second to none in baseball right now.
When he was called up last season to play third base for the Blue Jays, the former Milwaukee Brewers prospect had an immediate impact on the team, and in a good way. In only 43 games with the Jays he hit .293, with 9 home runs, 25 runs batted in and also stole 7 bases. Lawrie displayed an ability to not just play a great defensive game at third but he also delivered a few key hits in clutch moments to win games for the team.
Over a full 162 game season, Lawrie’s statistics would have averaged out to a .293 average, 34 home runs, 94 runs batted in and 26 stolen bases. One of the strength’s of his offensive game is that Lawrie will use all parts of the field to hit the ball and does possess power to hit the ball out of the park as well to all areas.
The energy and intensity that Brett Lawrie plays the game is unmatched in Major League Baseball. I have witnessed team mates reluctantly celebrate a home run or game changing play with him as he “high fives” and “fist bumps” with enough force to break his team mates hands or fingers at the very least.
In the next few seasons we will witness Brett Lawrie develop into the perfect number 3 hitter for the Blue Jays. His potential will be reached and his average season will see him post atleast a .300 average, 30 home runs, 100 runs batted in and 30 stolen bases. His ability to hit the ball to all fields will make his bat irreplaceable and his strong arm and great defense at third will see him as one of the best in the league.
The Blue Jays have a few young players that are going to be the foundation for the team for many years and this young gun is one of the foundation pieces. I know one thing for sure, it is going to be a fun and very exciting ride to follow Lawrie as his career unfolds.