he True Fans Bleed Blue and Orange: Mets Sign Ex-Padre Brian Lawrenceh

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Mets Sign Ex-Padre Brian Lawrence

Brian Lawrence hasn't pitched in the big leagues since 2005 due to injury. The six foot right hander, with the exception of his last year in the big leagues, has been mildly successful with the Padres. From 2001-2004 Lawrence compiled a record of 41-46 with a 3.91 era while pitching for a Padre team that averaged 74 victories a year during that same span. Lawrence had proven he was a serious major league pitcher, until 2005 came. In 2005 Lawrence went a dreadful 7-15 with a 4.83 era.
That off-season Lawrence was dealt for Vinny Castilla of the Nationals. Lawrence followed up his bad luck with a torn labrum and rotator cuff that didn't even allow him to pitch in 2006. However, before the season Baseball Prospectus saw a potential decline in Lawrence's ability to get outs. Said BP:
His decline accelerated in 2005, as Lawrence was torched like a Parisian sedan by hitters all over the league. He's always been a trapeze artist, relying on form, control, and mechanics, and his effectiveness has depended on his ability to spot his slider to perfection. meanwhile, his peripherals continue to decay. He'll benefit from Washington's defense and soggy, boggy RFK, but those effects will only serve to disguise a pitcher on his way out.

Well, at least we know a little bit more about Lawrence. Obviously he is a control pitcher who doesn't have the greatest of stuff, although judging by his numbers before 2005 he can be successful. Lawrence, like most control pitchers, does not strike out a lot of batters and he will rely on the Mets solid defense to help him out of some jams. Lawrence has had a problem retiring left handed batters during his career. Over his career lefties have hit .299 against Lawrence, as opposed to the .245 that righties hit. If Lawrence doesn't eventually get promoted to start a game for the Mets he may turn out to be useful in the bullpen as a longman, or as a situational righty should Joe Smith not be available that night. Lawrence also has a tremendous career era at Shea Stadium. His .81 era and .90 WHIP in three starts at Shea is more than impressive. His three starts included a complete game shutout that Lawrence threw three years ago.
Lawrence is at least healthy to pitch again, although he hasn't been too successful thus far in the minors. He was invited to Rockies major league camp, which he posted a 4.50 era in 14 innings. Lawrence struck out nine and walked three during spring training, which is an encouraging sign that he still has control of his pitches. Lawrence did not make the team out of spring training, and started the season pitching for the Colorado Springs Sky Sox (AAA). Lawrence was roughed up, badly. In his three starts his era was a sky-scraping 8.69. Ironically Lawrence does have one complete game this year. His numbers that game? 7 ip, (I assume it was cut short) 12 hits, and 10 earned runs. In Lawrence's last appearance on April 15th he allowed six runs over six innings, leading to his release by the Rockies. Lawrence allowed three home runs in his three starts, and allowed AAA hitters to hit .376 off of him. Looks like BP was right.


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