Player Profile: Brett Lawrie
I like to think of fantasy baseball as a microcosm of the stock market. It’s a small economy that fits into your computer. You check the stat ticker on the bottom of the television screen, much like traders check the DOW. You buy low. You sell high.
Staying with this metaphor, would you ever put a large sum of your money in a relatively unknown stock that yes, has had some immediate success, but has only been around for a few weeks? Let’s call this product The Lawriemower. It’s from Canada. Customer reviews say it works great for the first, oh, hour or so, but then it slowly loses steam, stops cutting grass, and finally one of the blades breaks and it becomes unusable. Would you put all your faith in this product? No? You wouldn’t?
Then why are all of you so freaking high on Brett Lawrie? Let’s talk this out. I’m sorry for saying freaking. I didn’t mean to scare you.
Lawrie made his debut on August 5th last year, and it was as if Tiffany came out of retirement and was giving the fantasy community bedroom eyes while singing I Think We’re Alone Now. The dude’s slash line for the season looked like this: 26/9/25/7/.293! And he did that in 150 ABs. All everyone could think was how cute Lawrie would look on the cover of Tiger Beat. Nobody cared that he only hit .245 in September, collecting only 15 hits in 18 games. Or that his OPS dipped .252 points after August. Or that he had two significant hand injuries (broken hand, finger) in 2011, one of which ended his season. All everyone could hear was, “I think we’re alone now, The beating of our hearts is the only sound.”
I think Lawrie will be a fine player, someday. That could happen as early as this season, but the biggest problem with drafting a largely unproven rookie so high is that he has to meet expectations, and because he’s unproven, you’re taking a stab in the dark. Most websites and experts have Lawrie ranked in the Top-50 overall, and by taking him that early you’re not going to get your money’s worth. Even a semi-subpar season from Lawrie would crush you, because he’s going to be your 4th or 5th pick. You’re taking on more risk than possible reward.
Think about what his ceiling is for 2012. Now think about what his floor is. At best, he’s Ben Zobrist. At worst? Pedro Alvarez.
It’s simple economics: putting money in the Lawriemower, a greatly inflated stock, will limit your ability to be successful in the fantasy baseball economy, especially if, and when, he doesn’t perform better than his draft day ticket price.
American novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne once said, “Religion and art spring from the same root and are close kin. Economics and art are strangers” (and you have to listen to Hawthorne, because he was born on the 4th of July). I would suggest you don’t get too cute. Lawrie becomes a worth while pick in the seventh or eighth round in a ten team, 5×5 league.
Brian’s Prediction: 75, 19, 80, 12, .260