Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Brett Lawrie Hot at Dish, Hot at Hot Corner

Though he continues to knock off rust after being waylayed for six weeks with a broken hand,  Blue Jays third base prospect Brett Lawrie is quickly rounding out not only with his bat but even his glove.

The 21-year-old former first-round draft pick returned to the Las Vegas 51s last week and quickly put up a 9-19 streak,  raising his Triple A batting average to .352,  with a .412 onbase percentage and .655 slugging with 16 homers in 261 atbats.  He also has stolen 14 bags.

Questions persist about his defensive play at third base,  as he has 14 errors,  but many came early in the season. Now he is beginning to look pretty flashy around the bag,  and at any rate he probably could not do much worse than Blue Jays potential starting third baseman Edwin Encarnacion,  a 29-year-old veteran who is anything but a defensive whiz.

After showing flashes of brilliance during spring training,  Lawrie,  a former catcher and second baseman,  continues to demonstrate major league readiness in the field,  as he barehanded a hard-hit grounder last week to keep it from going for extra bases,  then fielded another tricky bounce to help turn a 5-4 double play.

Meanwhile, fans are becoming inpatient,  especially after the Blue Jays made it clear the team is in no hurry to call him to Toronto.

"I've just got to keep playing, and hopefully I'll get an opportunity,"  Lawrie told The Las Vegas Review Journal.