- Full name Brett Russell Lawrie
- Born 01/18/1990 in Langley, BC, Canada
- Profile Ht.: 6'0" / Wt.: 210 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- School Brookswood Secondary
- Debut 08/05/2011
Drafted in the 1st round (16th overall) by the Milwaukee Brewers in 2008 (signed for $1,700,000).
View Draft ReportScouts debate whether Lawrie is the best Canadian hitting prospect since Justin Morneau or Larry Walker, but he's definitely created buzz in a draft relatively short on high school bats, drawing some comparisons to Craig Biggio. If he had a more defined position, he would be a cinch first-round pick. Signed by Arizona State, Lawrie has too much present hitting ability to wind up in college. One scout compared him to Marlins slugger Dan Uggla for his strength, power and muscular, mature build, and several scouts have graded Lawrie's power as above-average if not 70 on the 20-80 scale. He's not just strong but also has a keen eye, offensive instincts, aggressiveness and quick wrists that drive the bat through the hitting zone. On a spring trip with his Canadian travel teams (Langley, B.C., Blaze and the Canadian junior national team), Lawrie went 21-for-30 against extended spring training and college teams, including 14 extra-base hits. He hit doubles off Kyle Davies and Luke Hochevar in a game against the Royals' extended spring team. Several scouts summed up his offensive approach by describing him as "fearless." He's also athletic with above-average speed (6.75 seconds in the 60). Defense is Lawrie's shortcoming; he plays infield and catcher and also has seen time in the outfield, where one scout described him as "disinterested." He's shown the tools to catch, as he's built for the position at 6 feet and 200 pounds, and he has an average arm at the least. However, his bat might be too advanced for him to take the time to learn such a valuable defensive position, and some scouts doubt that he'd have the temperament to handle it anyway.
Organization Prospect Rankings
Lawrie became the highest-drafted Canadian hitter ever when the Brewers selected him 16th overall in 2008. He agreed to try catching after signing for $1.7 million, but before he made his pro debut he asked to move to second base, which he thought would provide a quicker path to Milwaukee. A member of Canada's 2008 Olympic team and 2009 World Baseball Classic club, he led the Double-A Southern League in runs (90), hits (158), triples (16) and total bases (250) last year despite being the second-youngest regular in the circuit. The Brewers had discussed using Lawrie to find some pitching help, and in December they sent him to the Blue Jays for Shaun Marcum. Lawrie has very strong hands and a quick bat, allowing him to wait on pitches and drive the ball to all fields. He's not a prolific home run hitter but piles up extra-base hits by shooting the ball into the gaps. He needs to balance his aggressiveness with more plate discipline, however. Though he stole 30 bases in 2010, he was caught 13 times and his speed is just average. Lawrie has smoothed out some of his rough edges in the field but still must work on making his hands softer, as evidenced by the 25 errors he committed in 131 games at second base last year. He has solid arm strength but may not have the first-step quickness to remain at second, where he's now blocked by Aaron Hill in Toronto. Lawrie won't have to be a Gold Glove defender because his bat will get him to the big leagues and keep him there. If he has to move to an outfield corner, he'll still provide enough offense to profile as a quality regular. He'll spend 2010 in Triple-A.
After the Brewers signed him for $1.7 million as the 16th pick in the 2008 draft--making him the highest-drafted Canadian hitter ever--Lawrie planned on becoming a fulltime catcher. He later changed his mind and asked to move to second base. He didn't make his pro debut in 2008 because he saw action with Canada's junior and Olympic teams. He returned to international play at the World Cup in 2009. Lawrie is an aggressive hitter with good pop. He made the adjustment to pro ball easily because he used wood bats regularly as an amateur. With strong hands and the quickest bat in the system, he drives the ball to all fields. He's more athletic than his stocky build would indicate, which is why Milwaukee agreed to let him play second base. He has average speed and good arm strength. He needs to show more interest in defense if he's going to stay at second base and become a player in the mold of Jeff Kent. Lawrie improved as the season progressed but will have to work to make his hands softer and his footwork smoother. Lawrie will get to the big leagues quicker now than he would have as a catcher, but some scouts think he's destined for an outfield corner. He has a potent bat that should profile at just about any position. Though he jumped to Double-A Huntsville last summer to prepare for the World Cup, he could open 2010 in high Class A.
The Brewers made Lawrie the highest drafted position player ever out of Canada when they selected him 16th overall last June. He had committed to playing for his country at the World Junior Championships in July, then unexpectedly was added to the Olympic roster as well. Signed for $1.7 million, he has yet to make his pro debut. Lawrie is an exceptional hitter, especially for his age, with a quick bat, aggressive nature and burgeoning power. The fact that he used wood bats while touring with Canada's national teams made his offensive exploits all the more impressive. He has committed to the idea of catching, where his bat would stand out the most and he could take advantage of his arm strength. His agility and drive to succeed will help him behind the plate. His speed and athleticism are above-average. Lawrie has no clear position, having seen time at catcher, third base and the outfield. He had a reputation for being disinterested in the defensive side of the game as an amateur, but he has risen to the challenge of catching. Brewers scouts still talk about the day Lawrie belted five home runs in a doubleheader against Seattle's Dominican extended spring training team. His bat is advanced enough for him to make his debut at Milwaukee's new low Class A Wisconsin affiliate, but the progress he makes defensively will dictate how quickly he advances. He should hit enough to be a big league regular at any position.
Minor League Top Prospects
When you combine an environment that heavily favors hitters and a player with exceptional hitting ability and aggression, you get Lawrie's season. A pair of hand injuries were the only things to slow him. He hit .353/.415/.661 in the PCL despite missing six weeks after a pitch broke his left hand, and his rousing .293/.373/.580 big league debut ended when he fractured his right middle finger. Lawrie has great strength, enabling him to drive the ball with authority. He has a lot of noise in the load to his swing, but his fast hands and tremendous bat speed allow him to overcome it. His physical ability and all-fields approach mean he'll hit for average, and he gave a taste of his power when he hit a 423-foot walkoff home run Sept. 5 against the Red Sox. Signed as a catcher and shifted to second base im 2009, Lawrie moved to third base after coming to the Blue Jays in the Shaun Marcum trade. He was an adequate defender and showed enough arm strength for the hot corner, but he still may wind up on an outfield corner. He's an average runner with a nose for stealing bases.
After debuting in the SL as a 19-year-old last August, Lawrie spent all of 2010 in Huntsville. He didn't disappoint, leading the league in runs (90), hits (158), triples (16), total bases (250) and comparisons to Dan Uggla (countless). Like Uggla, Lawrie is a strong, aggressive hitter with a big swing. He has a quick bat that stays in the hitting zone for a long time, and balls carry well off his bat. While he's prone to chasing pitches out of the zone, he also has shown the ability to make adjustments during at-bats and series. He stole 30 bases this year, but he also was caught 13 times and his speed is only average. Lawrie's offense is well ahead of his defense at this point. He made 25 errors this year and still needs to improve his hands and footwork around second base. Many scouts believe he'll land on an outfield corner, where he'd have average range and arm strength.
The highest drafted position player (16th overall) ever out of Canada, Lawrie reached Double-A as a 19-year-old in his first pro season, then helped his nation win a bronze medal at the World Cup. Most of Lawrie's value comes from his offense. He has strong hands and exceptional bat speed, and while his swing is a bit long, his bat stays in the zone for a long time. Using an open stance and diving into pitches, he drives the ball to all fields. He's a more disciplined hitter than most teenagers, and he has average speed and some instincts on the bases. Lawrie never has shown much interest in defense, and he gave up on catching before the season. If he works, he could be a second baseman in the style of Dan Uggla, but his hands are rough and his footwork isn't smooth. He has the arm strength to play right field, and his bat will profile there.
Top 100 Rankings
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Batting Prospect in the Pacific Coast League in 2011
- Rated Best Power Hitter in the Milwaukee Brewers in 2010
- Rated Best Hitter for Average in the Milwaukee Brewers in 2010
- Rated Best Power Hitter in the Milwaukee Brewers in 2009