Grading White Sox newcomers at the season’s quarter-mark
2B BRETT LAWRIE
It’s unfortunate for Brett Lawrie that these grades didn’t come out a week or two sooner. If that were the case, the gritty second baseman would pass with flying colors.
Instead some red flags are beginning to pop up in Lawrie’s game. But it’s not all bad, and recent struggles at the plate haven’t fully diminished what has otherwise been a promising year on both sides of the ball.
Lawrie has a .252/.341/.435 (.777 OPS) line, with 5 home runs and 12 doubles. That production’s not too shabby for a second baseman with a solid glove.
Lawrie has enough pop to do more than just tread water at second base and he can certainly still be an above-replacement player. His .368 BABIP will fall back to earth a bit, but he’s swinging at far less pitches outside of the zone. As a result his walk rate has skyrocketed to 11.4 percent, undeniably the highest rate of his career.
The issue is that his strikeout rate has also spiked. Lawrie is striking out at 32.9 percent clip, which simply isn’t going to cut it.
Over his last 14 games, he’s succumbed to a .188/.220/.333 line and racked up 23 whiffs to just two walks. Hopefully this isn’t a harbinger of things to come because at the start of May, Lawrie looked like he was finally on the verge of his oft-anticipated breakout season.
There’s still time for the storm clouds to clear though. Lawrie has a chance to exceed the 20 home run, 30 double threshold if he can just get back into a groove. The hope is that he can regain the patient approach he found in April, because if he can do that the White Sox just might have another core piece on their hands.
I’m going to give Lawrie a generous grade because I have faith he’ll come to closer to the player he was earlier in the season. He’ll never be the walk machine we got a taste of, but I expect the pop to continue to play at U.S. Cellular Field.
Not to mention, Lawrie’s A-plus energy gives him a nice little curve.
Next: C Dioner Navarro