Edwin Encarnacion To Open Year At 3B: Brett Lawrie Joins All Fantasy Radars

Wasn’t Edwin Encarnacion supposed to be sharing time at 1B and DH with Adam Lind?  Well scratch that!  According to MLBs Gregor Chisholm (via Twitter), the team has now decided that Jose Bautista will be their full-time right fielder.  That means that Encarnacion will be their Opening Day third baseman and sends shockwaves up and down the Blue Jays roster…

Or does it?  While the defensive setup may be different, is it that meaningful?  So, there isn’t a spot in the outfield for either Travis Snider or Juan Rivera, but assuming that they are healthy (Snider did leave yesterday’s game for precautionary reasons) the odd man out will likely be the designated hitter.

Nothing changes…  At least on the surface.  So what does this actually mean?  If Encarnacion fails (or some would say when he fails considering his history), a path has been cleared for Brett Lawrie to reach the Major Leagues in 2011.

The biggest change since I originally discussed him (click here to view my original report on him) is obviously his locale, as he was traded to Toronto in the offseason in exchange for Shaun Marcum.  He also has moved across the diamond, now looking like the Blue Jays third baseman of the future (and the future could come sooner than you think) instead of waiting for Rickie Weeks to disappear at second base. 

Let me just give the highlights of my concerns for Lawrie that I have previously discussed:

  • Plate Discipline – He had a 21.3% strikeout rate and 7.8% walk rate at Double-A (both numbers could regress in the upper levels)
  • Facing Righties – He hit .266 with a .415 SLG against righties ‘ 10 (against lefties he hit .336 with a .546 SLG

Still, with power potential (36 doubles, 16 triples and 8 home runs in ’10) and speed (30 SB), there is an awful lot to like.  Now with the opportunity to call Toronto home, where the majority of the lineup excelled in ’10, things look even better.

Yes, there is reason to be concerned, but there is also an awful lot to like.  The Blue Jays have potentially cleared the way for him in ’11 (if Bautista was at 3B there was little chance he arrived), so he should be on everyone’s radar, especially those in long-term keeper leagues.  With his potential, he’s worth stashing immediately as it wouldn’t be surprising to see him reach the Majors by June (assuming he delivers at Triple-A).

What are your thoughts?  When do you think he will reach the Major Leagues?  How do you think he will produce?

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4 comments

  1. Nick Tenaglia says:

    Ah, my dream come true… also with Lawrie moving to the PCL, I see no problem with him mashing the ball early on in the season

  2. rob says:

    Edwin is a great fielder except for the throwing to 1B part, i think/hope this means Lawrie is 6-8 weeks away from being called up.

    • Nick Tenaglia says:

      Actually I expect Lawrie to get called up July 22. I think Lawrie will get more seasoning at AAA than we all want to have happen. His defense, despite all the great reviews in Spring Training, is going to be the main thing the team keeps their eyes on. Also, even with a hot start out of the gate Toronto will be cautious with Lawrie. He has a track record of being (whats the right word here…) “immature.” Because he has had so many recent changes (Team, position, League etc) he will be super-juiced to go out and there and impress the pants off everyone. But after May and into June he may start getting some of those personal issues cropping up again, which is what Toronto might be weary of – so they will probably wait until July.

      The reason I pick July 22 is because the Jays have a 3-game set in Texas starting on the 22nd. And its the only time in July they get anywhere near Vegas. So simply due to proximity will they choose to bring him in on that date.

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