Pairing Up With Brett Lawrie
At this point Brett Lawrie has a near permanent spot on both the post-hype prospect lists and on the “if-only-he-could-stay-healthy” lists. After playing only 70 games last year, in a third straight year of declining batting average and on base percentage, it is easy to write off Lawrie. But he is back, now with a fresh start in Oakland, at the ripe old age of 25 years old. This “new look” Lawrie comes with new ability courtesy of last year, second base eligibility. Now he is unlikely to keep it going forward given that Oakland employs Marcus Simien and Ben Zobrist, but lets enjoy it while it lasts.
Right off the bat you know that you aren’t getting Lawrie for 162 games without a minor miracle. So the idea is where to value Lawrie based on what he is going to give you over a this games and what a Lawrie+partner will give you. Lets start with where Lawrie’s 2014 numbers ended up among second baseman as well as where his career average would end up.
|Lawrie (70 G)||27||38||12||0||.247|
|Average (86 G)||42||39||11||7||.265|
Right now Lawrie is ranked as Bret’s #16 second baseman for dynasty, and our consensus rankings had him as 14.5th (we forgot him at second base). So right now you are getting a bit below value in just about a year of PAs. As you can see, if Lawrie produces close to what he did last year he is going to give you good power numbers and put you in a good position towards your counting stats. But we are going to need a pair here. The depth of your league will obviously determine the level of the pair. I am going to take these pairings as 70-90, 80-80, 100-60, 120-40 splits to model where you expect your second baseman hybrid to end up (Lawrie’s low is 70 games over a full year, high is 125). Going forward I will be using Lawrie’s per 162 game averages pro-rated to our various models.
Lets start with a 14 team league. Lets go with someone probably a little undervalue and boring who can fit into a versatile role on your team in the 20th ranked second baseman Martin Prado. Prado is fairly boring, over the past 4 seasons he has averaged a .282 average, 70 runs, 67 RBI, 12 HRs, and 7 stolen bases. The stolen bases may be a bit high given the one year he stole 17 so we will bring that stolen base number down to 3 which is closer to his actual output. After hitting in Arizona and Yankee stadium, Prado is now in Miami, so lets call the home runs 10.
The combined player is certainly a Top 10 second baseman going forward, but the more Lawrie you get you have what could be a close to Top 5-7 player at the position.
For a 16 team league you are going to go a bit deeper than Prado, so lets go to second baseman #25, Jonathan Schoop. Much like Prado, Schoop potentially gives you some positional flexibility while he waits his turn. Given Schoop’s short track record and low BABIP, lets turn to ZiPS for where we should be looking for our projection. This gives a batting average around .240, 19 home runs, 2 stolen bases, and 55 runs and RBI. Our franken second baseman gives us a good power output.
Not the greatest player in the world. But you have limited the Schoop batting average damage while keep the power completely intact.
Last scenario is for a 20 team league and involves second baseman #30, DJ LeMahieu. LeMahieu is almost ideal as he is super cheap and complements Lawrie really well. Once again we are going to turn to ZiPS who sees some growth for the big second baseman to the tune of a .284 average, 55 runs, 48 RBI, 5 home runs, and 14 stolen bases.
Outside of the fact that LeMahieu is likely being undervalued, this combination gives a very balanced player with two players at age 26, providing power and speed at a very solid level.
There is always the chance that Lawrie can just be average him
and be well worth a top 10 selection or even higher. Overall the key is to look on the realistic upside of what you can do with your combined value.