Hehe, this post sucks. It’s gonna suck writing it, and it’s gonna suck reading it. Luckily, most of you schmohawks skip right to the comments to ask me about your teams. This post sucks, because Brett Lawrie has been around more blocks than the skeezehead that you dated briefly after your marriage fell apart. Brett Lawrie is just hot garbage, and there’s a pending lawsuit by actual hot garbage to fine anyone seen calling Lawrie hot garbage, so I’m going to have to lawyer up. Let’s count the ways that Lawrie colossally sucks dog balls. He came up in 2011 and hit 9 homers and stole 7 bases after hitting 18 homers and stealing 13 bases in Triple-A. Looked prime to be a superstar. Then 2012 happened (11 HRs, 13 SBs, .273) and he looked less primed for a breakout and more like a guy that needed to rebound from a sophomore slump in 2013. Then 2013 happened (11 HRs, 9 SBs, .254) and he looked like he fell in love with ‘having 11 homers.’ Lawrie and 11 homers sitting in a tree K-I-S-S-I-N-G. That’s sweet and all, but get a room with 11 homers if you love it so much. Whatever, he was still young and there was always 2014. In 2014, he hit 12 HRs, and 11 homers suddenly got jealous. The Blue Jays said love, peace and hair grease and the documentary about who will be the A’s 2015 reclamation project got a subject to follow. With Lawrie’s career thus far too depressing for Werner Herzog, the documentary never happened, but Lawrie did happen, slightly…Okay, at least he didn’t hit 11 or 12 homers. He hit 16 homers, stole 5 bases and hit .260. Yunel Escobar yawns in the general direction of those numbers, but what if Lawrie has more upside for next year? I mean, he is only going to be 26 years old in 2016. Anyway, what can we expect from Brett Lawrie for 2016 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?
There’s some worrisome trends for Lawrie coming off of last year, which is always a fun way to get into why he’s a sleeper. Hey, I’m just trying to get the bad shizz out of the way. He had his highest strikeout rate last year while chasing more pitches outside of the strike zone than ever before. Hey, he’s more aggressive; that’s a positive spin. Um, yeah, but he also swung at less pitches inside the strike zone. So it’s not aggressive as much as he wasn’t swinging at the right pitches. Maybe this is because it was his first full-time job that he didn’t Mr. Bungle with a slightly too aggressive “Hey, watch me run into a wall” injury. Maybe Beane pulled him aside and said, “B.L., I’m trying to get a sequel of Moneyball going where we completely abandon OBP, so swing at everything, you doofus.” I don’t know, but Lawrie once had a .400+ OBP in the minors, and a .373 OBP in the majors, and had a .299 OBP last year. That’s not good. Thankfully, there are some good things. His line drive rate went up last year, which is good. He’s pulling the ball and going to center more and cutting back on opposite field hits. Opposite field in O.co would’ve been death, so this is another good sign. He’s hitting smarter. He’s also hitting further. In 2013, Lawrie hit his homers on average 395 feet; last year, he hit them 405 feet, which is tied with Miguel Cabrera. Lawrie was top ten for infield hits, which feels slightly fluky, but it does show something. For a guy that once had 30 steals in one year in the minors, he still has speed. Anecdotally, Lawrie feels to me like a guy where everything came easy. I mean, at 21 years old, he destroyed Triple-A. Then, due to injuries and major league pitching, he was humbled. This humbling is less embarrassing than The Iron Sheik humbling him, but no less effective. Now, almost five years later, Lawrie is coming off his best season, and his confidence must be growing. Finally, he’s moving to Cellular. Last year, it ranked 8th for homers; O.co was 27th. Regularly, O.co is bottom five for all parks in homers; Cellular is almost always top ten. Some years, it’s top five. I don’t think we’re going to see a bump all the way to 25 homers, but a 20/15 season feels very possible. For 2016, I’ll give him the projections of 71/20/82/.264/14 with upside for more.