MLB Today: When Will Brett Lawrie Explode?
John Farrell has dumped Adam Lind down the batting order.
The Toronto Blue Jays continue to play well lately, but with both the Rays and Orioles rolling, they have now fallen three back of Tampa Bay and two and a half games behind Baltimore in the AL East. On the plus side, the Yanks have been spinning their wheels, allowing Toronto to slide into third place, a half game ahead of New York.
On Monday, Brett Lawrie doubled for the second straight game, but we’re still waiting to see the youngster go on a real tear and start to live up to the lofty expectations. He’s not piling up runs the way he did as a rookie, nor is he being nearly as productive. Lawrie’s BA is down slightly, but nothing to get overly worried about, but the real item that jumps out from his line is the slugging percentage.
After putting up a whopping .580 mark in 150 at-bats last year, Lawrie is only slugging .400 this season. He’s been better with the glove than anticipated and continues to exhibit all-out hustle that makes him a joy to watch, but we’re wondering what happened to that pop he flashed last season.
Are any of you Lawrie owners worried about your boy’s pedestrian slugging through the first few weeks of the season?
- Still in Toronto, struggling Adam Lind was finally demoted by Manager John Farrell on Wednesday, dropping from the clean-up slot to eighth in the Jay batting order. He immediately responded with two hits, including a two-run homer. Heading into the season, we ranked Lind as a Top 20 first baseman, but so far he hasn’t even ranked among the top 40 at the position, batting under .200 with very little extra-base pop. Ten RBI in 28 games out of a dude that has mostly batted fourth? That ain’t gunna cut it. Small wonder that Lind has been winding up on waiver wires in mixed leagues. Keep an eye on him, though. If this demotion spurs him, Lind will soon be put back into a more prominent batting spot and will again be a useful Fantasy asset.
- We’ve got to give props to Reds’ starter Johnny Cueto. Heading into the season, we expected him to be a Top 40 starting pitcher, but he’s probably been among the top five hurlers through the first month and change. When we ranked him, we talked about his low BABIP last year, anticipating regression there, but shockingly, there has been barely any slide in that department. The results – after Cueto’s seven shutout frames Wednesday to nearly match Zack Greinke – have been phenomenal, as he’s given up more than one earned run just once all season. We still find it hard to believe his BABIP won’t head north at some point, so if you’re looking for a sell-high candidate, Cueto is your man.
- Another player who has vastly outperformed our expectations in the early going is Tampa Bay outfielder Matt Joyce. We ranked Joyce as the 56th-best Fantasy outfielder heading into the season, but he has delivered at a top 20 level so far. He spanked a three-run dinger in the ninth to propel the Rays over the Yanks Wednesday (even though he hurt his ankle on the swing), part of a two-hit night – his second multi-hit effort in the past three games. Joyce is hitting for a higher average than ever before despite the fact he’s been more aggressive at the plate (his 3.95 P/PPA is a career low). The big difference for Joyce this season, however, is his work against southpaws. Last year, he hit just .217 against them; so far this season, he’s batting .250, and that’s good enough to ensure he won’t wind up as a platoon dude and will continue to enjoy full-time duty.
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