Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Lawrie Switches to Second

One of the Brewers best young catching prospects has now become one of the Brewers best young prospects at second base. Milwaukee's first-round draft choice of 2008, Brett Lawrie, has requested the position switch after playing through an instructional league last fall.

Lawrie doesn't seem to be joking around about his intentions to get to the big leagues as fast as possible. He has noted that there's a lot more preparation into making the big leagues as a catcher, and despite how much he loves the position, the 19 year-old Canadian sees a quicker jump to the bigs as an infielder. And with few real good second basemen in the Brewers system plus the struggles of Rickie Weeks, Lawrie sees this to be the easier competition than the likes of catchers Angel Salome and Jonathan Lucroy.

I don't really think the competition has anything to do with it though. Personally, I think this is the case of a young kid wanting to have as long of a career as possible, and sees more benefit in playing the infield than roughing up his knees behind home plate. You shouldn't really make position switches based on the players in front of you in the organization, in my opinion, especially for as green as Lawrie is.

Realistically, his shot to the bigs as a catcher could be just as even as a second basemen. You never know how the personnel at either position will shape out or who might move positions (I still see either Hardy or Escobar at second after we finally give up on Rickie). I say you just play your hardest at your position, and eventually you will either make the majors with the team who's organization you belong to, or you will get traded and start for another team.

I'm not saying this is a bad move. The kid is a talented ball-player and I think he'll excel at whichever position he plays. I just think he'd rather play second base than play catcher, even though he entered the draft as a catcher because he figured he'd get drafted higher as one. I don't know how the Brewers front office feels about the move, but I'd be kind of pissed if I thought I was getting a player at one position only to find out I'm getting him at another. If the Brewers wanted a second basemen, they would have drafted one.

Reading this over, I feel I'm coming off anti-Lawrie a bit, even though that isn't my intention. I just feel he may have pulled a fast one on the Brewers. We'll see in a couple years though, I guess.

Lawrie will leave minor-league camp in a couple of days to go play for Team Canada in the World Baseball Classic. Meanwhile, the big league club he aspires to one day be a part of start their exhibition season on Wednesday, as the Brewers take on the Oakland A's.


Anonymous said...

Lawrie was drafted with the knowledge he could play C, 2nd, or OF much like a Craig Biggio type. Obviously draft wise he had more value as a catcher, but he was drafted with because of his ability to play multiple positions and his extensive experience and success with wooden bats and time on the Canadian national team. I don't think this is too much of a strain on the Brewers org, especially with how deep the Brewers catching corps is.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the insite Winks. I am now very anti-Lawrie. I don't get why we don't move Hardy to Third in Bill Hall's absence and bring Escobar up right away. Any thoughts Fred and Winks...and Jonk who always loves to chime in??????

Winks said...

I guess my main point is that just because Lawrie moved to 2nd doesn't mean that he'll make it to the bigs right away. I still personally think he would benefit the Brewers more as a catcher. But again, we won't know for years.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous - I just don't think you are going to see alot of shifting around before the season starts. The only way Hardy ever shifts to 3rd is if it is deemed that is his future position for good.

I think 3rd will be Counsell and Lamb getting the bulk of at bats until Hall comes back.

I would be very, very surprised to see Escobar up to start the season. I'm also not totally ready to give up on Bill Hall yet. Lets see if this eye surgery helps him out at the plate maybe giving him some confidence to go with a better batters eye, much the way its improved kendall's throwing accuracy and ability to throw out runners.

Anonymous said...

It was Brett Lawrie's lack of a set position that got him bumped down in the draft order. He's top 10 talent draft wise. He was a steal for the Brewers. The Brewers knew he also had experience at 3B & 2B, which happen to be two positions they still desperately seek to fill long term. Of all the 2008 draftees, Baseball America rated Lawrie #3 in strike zone judgment. Plus the kid has some power in the bat.

Could Brett Lawrie be the next Chase Utley? Only time will tell. I'm not just being over dramatic here ... he's already cracked Baseball America's top 100 prospect list & he hasn't even debuted at low-A Wisconsin yet.

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