Editor's Note: Mike Diaz recently had a chance to scout Brett Lawrie for us in person. Along with his video, here are his scouting notes:
Lawrie has elite bat speed caused by tremendous strength in his hands and wrists. Lawrie whips the bat through the zone, staying through the baseball while using the whole field. He has an ultra-aggressive attitude, but worked counts well. He worked himself into hitter’s counts, but Mike Montgomery did a great job of keeping him off stride. He was jammed in one at-bat, and then was fooled on an off-speed in another at bat. Even though he is a bit front foot heavy, Lawrie keeps his hands back just fine. He consistently kept his hands inside the baseball during batting practice, showing above average pull-side power.
There is a ton of movement at the plate with Lawrie. He often comes out of his swing, causing his eye level to change, which can lead to problems seeing the ball. He also has a hitch in his load, but he can compensate that movement with his top notch bat speed. With his improved plate discipline to go with plus raw physical tools, Lawrie has a chance to have a special bat.
Everyone knows about Lawrie’s ability to hit a baseball, but questions surround his ability to play defense. Drafted as a catcher, he began his pro career as a second baseman, but has now shifted over to third. I watched and recorded nearly every groundball that he took during batting practice and came away unimpressed.
Lawrie's hands are improving and he has plenty of range to cover ground. His throwing however is less than desirable. At times he looks very awkward throwing the baseball. There are times where Lawrie looks like a natural fielder and then there are times where he looks uncomfortable and awkward on routine groundballs.
Lawrie committed two throwing errors during the game -- quite frankly neither throw was even close. Both throws sailed over the first-baseman’s head leading to extra bases for the base runners. He did, however, show enough arm strength for third base.
Can he get better? Yes, reps will help
Will he be Ryan Zimmerman? No.
The plus for Lawrie is that he in an outstanding athlete that can cover some ground on the infield. I see him as a below-average defensive third baseman that will make a tremendous play one time then botch a routine ground ball the next play. If he is moved to the outfield, Lawrie has plenty of speed and athleticism to make a smooth transition.
I love the way Lawrie plays the game with hustle and intensity. He never gives a pitch away and grinds out every at bat. He showed solid foot speed, as I clocked him at 4.27 from home to first. His overall skill-set gives him a chance to be a well-above-average major league hitter. He is a physical specimen who possesses tremendous raw ability. Whether or not the organization feels that he can remain at third base is the question.
Follow Mike Diaz on Twitter @mikedeez.