Fantasy baseball News & Notes: Lawrie's still-untapped potential
In our daily fantasy baseball news and notes column, we'll be discussing hot topics in the fantasy baseball world, as well as offering up tidbits of information to help you set your lineup. Comments are welcome below.
Brett Lawrie is the odd man out in baseball. Just about every major prospect that's been called up over the last few years has panned out, whether it's Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, Yasiel Puig, Yoenis Cespedes or Yu Darvish, and even the players for whom the jury is still out (Wil Myers, Billy Hamilton, Jed Gyoroko) at least appear that they could blossom into superstars at some point. But not Lawrie. After a blistering start to his career in 2011, when he posted 9 homers, 7 steals and 25 RBI while batting .293 over 43 games, Lawrie has been a spectacular disappointment. In 125 games in 2012, he only mustered 11 homers and 13 steals. The next year: 11 homers and 9 steals, while seeing his average drop to .254.
And now, 11 games into 2014, Lawrie has been horrendous. He's batting .100 and was hitting eighth in the Blue Jays' lineup yesterday in between Ryan Goins and Colby Rasmus.
Is Lawrie's fantasy value salvageable at this point? That's a relevant question given that he's being cut from a ton of fantasy teams these days, and if he hasn't been annexed in your league, it sure wouldn't be that hard to put in a trade for him right now.
At the moment, Lawrie is only worth owning if you're capable of ignoring how poor he's been these last three seasons. Bad play aside, he still possess considerable upside, not the least of which is his dual eligibility at second and third base. He's only 24 years old, and though his performance hasn't been moving in the right direction lately, much of that has to do with injuries. In 2011, his season ended prematurely when he broke his right middle finger; in 2012, he went on the DL with an oblique injury; in 2013, he missed a month and a half with a sprained ankle.
Lawrie is supposedly healthy now, but you wouldn't really know it. He appears indecisive at the plate, and the Blue Jays -- a team vying to do something in the American League East this year -- aren't in a position where they can justify batting him any higher than sixth, especially when Jose Reyes comes back. If he doesn't make a dramatic turnaround, there's no guarantee he'll even continue to get regular playing time.
However, I do think he has a place on fantasy rosters. If you're the type of owner who likes to have a large bench of offensive players, who likes to stockpile prospects on the chance that one of them could be the real deal, you should kick the tires on Lawrie, as he'd be a fantasy beast if he could ever play like he did in 2011 over the course of a full season. For everyone else, there's very little appeal in owning a guy who flat-out can't hit right now. If you don't want to drop him, at the very least, find a replacement and bench him.
For Your Consideration
● Koji Uehara was held out of Friday's game with a shoulder stiffness, allowing Edward Mujica to come in and record his first save of the year. John Farrell called the move "precautionary" and said that Uehara is merely day-to-day for now, and Uehara's owners have to be hoping it never leaves the day-to-day stage, because Mujica is a legitimate closer who could run with the job if he was given enough time. Uehara was so incredible last year that he should have all the leverage necessary to retain the closer's job when he's healthy. Still, so long as he's out, Mujica makes for an an excellent speculation grab.
● Scott Feldman was terrific yet again, allowing no runs and only two hits in seven innings against the Rangers. Remarkably, Feldman has given up just one run and seven hits in 20.2 innings this season, which is insane considering he only has seven strikeouts. A low-strikeout guy pitching for a hideous offense in a brutal hitter's park doesn't exactly project to be a fantasy godsend, and yet, it's hard to turn a blind eye to a 0.44 ERA and 0.73 WHIP. Who knows how long this can last (and for what it's worth, Feldman did have a six-game stretch last year where he only allowed six runs), but you might as well roll with him while he's going like this, especially since the pitiful Royals are next on the docket for him.
● Mark Reynolds hit a home run yesterday and has been getting near regular at-bats for the Brew Crew at first base. Reynolds is an intriguing player when he gets hot, but he's pretty much incapable of sustaining a streak for long, and he's in a light platoon with Lyle Overbay. He has absolutely no ceiling or upside, and you can surely do better in standard leagues, especially at first base.
● Hector Rondon got an 11th inning save for the Cubbies yesterday. Rondon, who possesses a pretty lively fastball, is probably best suited for the closer's role, ahead of Jose Veras and Pedro Strop. But Veras has the vote of confidence from the manager, and there's no indication yet that Rondon's save was anything more than an extra innings aberration. He's not worth an add at the moment, but he could be down the line if he can continue to pitch well and if Veras keeps struggling.
You can follow David Pincus on Twitter @Reetae_.