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Blue Jays top prospect Brett Lawrie on verge of call up

Aug 2, 2011, 10:47 AM EDT

Brett Lawrie spring training Reuters

Brett Lawrie was seemingly days away from being called up in late May when a broken hand suffered at Triple-A sidelined him for two months.

Now he’s back and has resumed crushing the ball, leading to speculation that the Blue Jays are once again on the verge of calling up their top prospect.

When the call-up comes Lawrie will take over as Toronto’s starting third baseman, shifting Jose Bautista back to the outfield and likely sending a current regular to the minors (Travis Snider, Eric Thames) or waiver wire (Edwin Encarnacion).

Lawrie, a 2008 first-round pick acquired from the Brewers in a deal for Shaun Marcum this winter, is hitting .352 with 18 homers, 24 doubles, and 12 steals in 67 games at Triple-A as a 21-year-old.

There are questions about his defense at third base, but Lawrie projects as a middle-of-the-order impact bat and based on various articles in Toronto newspapers today he might be in the majors by week’s end.

  1. dodger88 - Aug 2, 2011 at 10:59 AM

    Snider and Thames have upside so they would be wise to designate Encarnacion for assignment. I doubt anyone picks him up but even if they lose him and determine later that Lawrie is not ready I’d like to think they can pick up a replacement level 3B somewhere.

  2. trevorb06 - Aug 2, 2011 at 11:00 AM

    That’ll be an interesting set up in the OF. Colby, Snider, Thames and Bautista (assuming they waiver Edwin, which I don’t see why they wouldn’t)

  3. proudlycanadian - Aug 2, 2011 at 11:01 AM

    Edwin Encarnacion is not part of the future and might be waived. Another possibility is Aaron Hill. Lawrie played second base last year and might replace the struggling Hill.

    • dodger88 - Aug 2, 2011 at 11:06 AM

      As much as Hill has struggled, he still has more potential than Encarnacion. The latter should go first.

    • FC - Aug 2, 2011 at 11:13 AM

      Edwin should go, mainly because his glove is suspect, and I don’t see him as a long term DH solution.

    • proudlycanadian - Aug 2, 2011 at 11:28 AM

      I would prefer that both Hill and Encarnacion go. I would like to have Cooper called up as well. Cooper also has great numbers at Triple A. The outfield would be Snider, Rasmus and Thames. The infield would be Bautista, Escobar, Lawrie, Lind and Arencibia with Cooper as the DH and occasional first baseman. That is the probable line up for 2012, so why not get a start on next year.

      • saucepaws - Aug 2, 2011 at 12:30 PM

        ” The outfield would be Snider, Rasmus and Thames. The infield would be Bautista, Escobar, Lawrie, Lind and Arencibia with Cooper as the DH and occasional first baseman. That is the probable line up for 2012, so why not get a start on next year.”

        That statement is just flatout incorrect. Bautista at 3B was always just a temporary move . He’ll go back to RF once Lawrie comes up.

        Why would they spend all spring and summer getting Lawrie used to 3B only to move him back to 2B AFTER they call him up to the bigs? It makes no sense proudly and won’t happen.

        Also, where did you get the info that had Cooper included in the “likely” lineup for next year?

      • spudchukar - Aug 2, 2011 at 2:28 PM

        3 lefty swingers in the outfield is doubtful. Bautista is too good of a defender to DH him. Since Thames and Snider are both young look for A.A. to swap one of them.

      • Kevin S. - Aug 2, 2011 at 4:55 PM

        What does it matter if the outfield is all lefties?

      • Mark - Aug 2, 2011 at 5:54 PM

        You need to get over this notion that Lawrie will ever play 2B. It’s just not going to happen without crippling the pitching staff.

        Second of all Cooper isn’t a major league guy. He looks like one in that ballpark, but so would I. Jays need to find a new 2B next year, keep Bautista in RF, Snider in LF and Thames can DH. Again, this is why Encarnacion comes in handy, because his RH bat can sub in vs the lefties for Lind/Thames/Snider. Even Rasmus, if you believe that Snider can play CF (but why he would, with Davis on the team, is another story).

  4. cur68 - Aug 2, 2011 at 11:03 AM

    I wish they’d get this over with, already. Like, before the kid gets hit again. He’s a magnet for getting beaned. It’ll contribute to getting on base a lot, though. A market inefficiency in guys who get plunked will be the new efficiency.

    As for who to demote/waive, well it should be Encarnacion, IMO. Pity they didn’t deal him for a bullpen pitcher before the trade deadline. Still, I wouldn’t be surprised if Snider is demoted again, because EE has been just a monster at the plate and with the glove the last little while and ET has been hitting a quite a bit better than Snider. I bet that decision will be made after the Beaver Men have it out for a couple of 3 with the Hated Ray Men (spits). No matter which way it goes, the Men of Beaverton will improve, IMO.

    2 games above .500: will the Hated Rays stand in the way of remaining above it for the Men of Over Under? Probably, but lets see if Thames, Snider and EE decide to play like their jobs depended on it and do something about that.

    • The Rabbit - Aug 2, 2011 at 1:58 PM

      Hi cur,
      I’m familiar with the offensive stats and “potential” (I hate that word) of all the players named; however, I don’t watch them enough to have a handle on their defensive abilities.
      Your opinion would be appreciated…..and anyone else who follows the Jays on a regular basis, feel free to add your thoughts.

      • cur68 - Aug 2, 2011 at 2:45 PM

        Rabbit; Thames is pretty good as a fielder. About par with Snider. Neither guy seems destined for Devon White type fielding, but they’re young and motivated, so perhaps they’ll come on in time. They got legs, hustle and seem determined. I can’t recall too many bad routes and I do think they have good enough arms. Neither guy possesses the cannon Jose Bautista uses for a throwing arm, but they are not Jonny Damon either. Thames gives better interviews than Snider and grows a better set of face whiskers, too. By far the more dynamic to watch. I like Snider well enough, but he’s kinda boring and his mustache, well, I don’t know why he bothered. I’ve got more bum-fluff than he’s got lip hair, if you’ll pardon the expression.

        Edwin Encarnacion on the in-field, oy, oy, oy, what can I say? He started out in the early part the season over at third. He played third so well the non-hitting Nix brother, Jayson, enjoyed most of half a season in the bigs in spite of underperforming Bob Uecker at the plate. EE was not exactly settin’ the world afire over there if you take my meaning. Now he can play him some short, 2nd and 1st base, but he did all about as well as he played him some 3rd. He might have stayed in the line up but for the fact he wasn’t hitting much either, hence Nix, who could at least field a ball and throw it to 1st.

        EE got benched was slagged in the TO press, and by me. He must have heard it all because he worked his arse off. He kind of showed his willingness to try new stuff when, to get his first homer of the year, he borrowed Ricky Romero’s bat and blasted one (the mojo is strong with Ricky R, innit?). Anyhow, after the benching Jose Bautista made a project of the kid, practicing up his fielding at game speed and, of course, encouraging him to swing hard at strikes. And lo, EE did improve. He looked spectacular at third against the Rangers last week.

        For the last month and half, playing part time, DHing and filling in for injuries etc, EE has made a case for himself as come-back Jay of the season. I like his grit, hustle, determination and willingness to work at what he’s poor at. Guy’s got him some potential.

      • The Rabbit - Aug 2, 2011 at 3:36 PM

        LOL Thanks for your insight regarding the “kids”. Good facial hair is one of those intangible requirements so Thames may be the one to watch.
        IIRC, although EE didn’t hit for average last year, he did have a few power surges. I think he’s 28, though, and should be approaching “prime” anytime soon. I knew he would never be confused with Brooks Robinson at 3rd, but if he could sing like Smokey, he’d be worth keeping.
        Speaking of music, due to circumstances beyond my control, I didn’t get to go to the Montreal Jazz Festival this year. By any chance, did you get there?

      • Mark - Aug 2, 2011 at 5:54 PM

        Thames is nowhere near the defender Snider is. Less range and Snider has a much stronger arm.

      • cur68 - Aug 3, 2011 at 1:25 AM

        Mark: that’s your opinion. Mine’s different. I see them as about the same as far as defenders.

        Rabbit: Alas, no music fest for me. I’m lost in thesis hell and have been for the past 2 months. My bibliography alone is consuming days of work at the moment. Sorry for the late reply. My 2 year old nephew developed a heck of nose bleed and I was dealing with it, then i had to go and help his dad build the little devil a swing set. I could do with some music…

  5. Mark - Aug 2, 2011 at 11:14 AM

    If they’re going to DFA anybody it should be Teahen, and not Encarnacion. Yes, Teahen has the 4-5M contract, but Encarnacion can actually hit, as he’s posted an 800+ OPS since the beginning of May. Not to mention that it’s better for the Jays to have a RHB on the bench, since their 1B, and LF/DH options include Snider/Thames/Lind. All LH bats. I know Encarnacion can’t play OF, but my point is more if Thames/Snider gets benched for a day you can always put Encarnacion in the DH spot.

    Or maybe they should demote a BP arm, because there’s no point in having a 12 man staff. Especially when you consider the redundant roles of Trever Miller and Will Ledezma.

    Putting Litsch back in the rotation and Villaneuva to the BP would also be a good move.

    The simple solution is to demote/waive Encarnacion, but it’s not the right move.

    • proudlycanadian - Aug 2, 2011 at 11:31 AM

      Unfortunately, Teahen still has another year on his contract, but Encarnacion only has 2 months left. Dropping a bull pen arm is a viable alternative.

    • Mark - Aug 2, 2011 at 2:52 PM

      And unfortunately Teahen is a black hole of a roster spot so either way the money is a sunk cost. Better to get the guy who’s actually going to perform, no?

      • Kevin S. - Aug 2, 2011 at 7:14 PM

        I think AA has established that there is no such thing as a sunk cost for him.

  6. FC - Aug 2, 2011 at 11:16 AM

    ET has been hitting a quite a bit better than Snider.

    I know the Jays were desperate for some hitting consistency, but I hadn’t realized they brought in an alien to hit for them. I guess he’s better than Roger, but if they’re going to bring some old but still good off-world talent they should pursue ALF in the waiver wire.

    • cur68 - Aug 2, 2011 at 11:24 AM

      Naw, ALF can’t hit the inside pitch and has Adam Dunn-like numbers against lefties. Stick with ET: that glowing finger will come in handy for night games. Or something.

  7. seanmk - Aug 2, 2011 at 11:47 AM

    #yabuddy

  8. marshmallowsnake - Aug 2, 2011 at 11:58 AM

    He looks like a big dude in that picture…

    • marshmallowsnake - Aug 2, 2011 at 12:24 PM

      Should I have said Monster? Thanks for the thumbs down coward.

  9. dirtyharry1971 - Aug 2, 2011 at 11:07 PM

    Cool time for the latest bluejay BUST!! This guy has Snider written all over him. Snider was supposed to have all this power and hit for average, well he does neither 3 years later and keeps getting bounced back to the minor leagues and will never make it except maybe with the jays.

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