Lawrie, Rizzo escape disasters as MLB's call-up season arrives
You have to give corner-infield slugging prospects Anthony Rizzo and Brett Lawrie a hand for their monster first two months in Triple-A.
No, seriously, give them a hand. They hurt one of theirs Tuesday night.
As the calendar turns to June, two of the hottest prospects in fantasy both go down on the eve of June 1 ... in the same game, Tucson at Las Vegas, no less. We had listed these two scorching hot hitters as expected call-ups this month. In fact, we guaranteed Rizzo would be coming.
It could take some more time now. Thankfully -- as in time -- it could be days, not weeks.
The Padres' Rizzo left the game in the sixth inning after aggravating a bruise on his left (throwing) hand. That was just five innings after Blue Jays prospect Lawrie was taken out of the game for X-rays after getting hit by a pitch on his left hand in the first inning. He suffered only a bruise.
You can imagine the prospect hounds were gasping with excitement when these two standouts both left the same game early. It had to be a call-up, right? It wound up being bad news for injury.
The bad news wasn't all bad, though, since these injuries weren't serious.
There had been reports Lawrie (LOR-y), still just 21 years old, was going to get the call for his major-league debut Friday at Baltimore. And Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos said before Tuesday night's game that Lawrie's call-up announcement was a function of "just a decision we need to make."
Read: Who do we cut to bring up this potential Canadian gold mine?
"He's really done everything that we've asked," Anthopoulos told Sportsnet.ca before the game.
In contrast, the Blue Jays' incumbent third basemen have done nothing asked. Before Tuesday's loss, Edwin Encarnacion, Jayson Nix, John McDonald, Mike McCoy and Chris Woodward combined to hit a big-league worst .179, with four home runs (tied for 11th), 11 doubles (tied for 13th), 19 RBI (21st) and 18 runs (26th) at third base, according to Sportsnet.ca.
Lawrie's call-up is coming "sooner than later," according to the GM, because of his improved plate discipline.
"He's consciously made an adjustment to his approach," Anthopoulos told Sportsnet.ca. "I wanted to make sure is he doing it for a week, two weeks, three weeks, is this cemented? I'm starting to believe now it's become part of his game.
"He's not a finished product, he's 21, but a month of a certain approach at the plate and now we're getting to the end of the other month of what we hope is his approach going forward.
"I get excited when I read 'Laid off sliders.'"
Lawrie has mashed to the tune of a .354 average, 15 homers, 49 RBI, 51 runs, 11 steals, a .415 on-base percentage and a .677 slugging percentage. Those numbers make him the Albert Pujols -- no, Jose
"I was hoping he was going to force our hand and he's starting to," Anthopoulos said. "So he's very much in the conversation right now, he's becoming more prominent. ...
"He's done very, very well."
Anthopoulos' optimism was tested in the first inning Tuesday night, but when Lawrie's X-rays came back negative, no one was as excited as Lawrie himself.
"Just a BRUISE !!! #yaaaaabudddddy," he posted his Twitter feed (
"I appreciate everyones support , thank you to my fans , friends and family ! #bestpossiblenews."
No, Brett, the best possible news is yet to come. Friday. Applause.
Rizzo's situation is a bit less optimistic, but his injury appears to be just as minor. Reports said Rizzo merely aggravated an existing bruise of his hand when he turned to watch the ball while running to home and the umpire's chest protector.
The injury gives the Padres some more time to suppress an irresistible talent. There is the belief he would have been up already if Super 2 still wasn't in the vernacular of small-budget teams.
"Your knee-jerk reaction is they're screwing the kid," San Diego-based agent Barry Axelrod told the
"It's not an issue that's crushing to anybody. It's not an issue that anybody's going to go out on strike over."
Rizzo, a slick fielder by all accounts, is hitting even more impressively than Lawrie. The 21-year old sits at .371-15-60-41-5 (.452-.720) in 186 Triple-A at-bats.
"We do want him to continue to get at-bats against lefties," San Diego GM Jed Hoyer told the
Rizzo has gone .324-1-9-6-3 (.385-.500) against lefties in 34 at-bats.
Apparently, point proven.
The only thing truly left is patience.
We listed 10 players we expected to see in the majors this June in the past two weeks, and one name not mentioned was that of Kyle Gibson. That wasn't an oversight as much as he is No. 10b.
Gibson is coming off his best outing in Triple-A, taking a perfect game into the seventh inning before allowing a pair of runs on three hits and a walk in 7 2/3. Of his 23 outs record, 10 came by way of strikeout -- a season-high.
Gibson is now 3-3 with a 3.60 ERA, .233 batting-average against and 59 strikeouts in 55 Triple-A innings. The most impressive statistic, though, is the merely 11 walks in 10 starts.
That is one serious strike-thrower. No one in the strike-throwing Twins rotation is pitching this well right now. Logically, the 23-year-old Gibson must be on the verge of a call -- especially with Francisco Liriano (shoulder) and Kevin Slowey (shoulder) both on the DL and Brian Duensing pitching like ... well, dung.
While Lawrie and Rizzo are the most-added minor-leaguers in fantasy right now, Gibson is flying -- pitching -- under the radar. He is the flier to take if you cannot get one of our premium top 10 June guys: