Taste of Futures Game motivated Lawrie
Double-A second baseman went 0-for-3 as World's leadoff hitter
ANAHEIM -- When highly touted Brewers prospect Brett Lawrie arrived at the Futures Game in St. Louis a year ago, his heart was pounding with excitement and his mind was racing with thoughts. But with a chance to make a return engagement to the spectacle for the game's top prospects on Sunday in Anaheim, Lawrie was decidedly calmer but no less driven.
After Lawrie emerged from an early season slump in his first season at Double-A Huntsville (Southern League), a second trip to the Futures Game was, in a sense, a reward for responding to some adversity.
"I knew that if I played well, I'd get the opportunity to come again," said Lawrie. "Obviously that wasn't really in my thoughts in the beginning. I just wanted to play good baseball -- just good Double-A baseball. Not having High A experience under my belt, obviously that's the biggest jump in baseball, from A ball to Double-A. I knew I was coming. I just had to stick with it, and I did. I knew I'd get here if I just played well."
He was in the leadoff spot for the World Team in Sunday's contest at Angel Stadium and went 0-for-3. Lawrie is just 20 years old -- the second youngest player in the Southern League.
"Age has never been a factor for me," Lawrie said. "I've always played with older guys. That's kind of always what I've done ever since growing up on the national team and in Canada, always playing with the best competition. That's where I excel, with the older guys. I didn't really play with a lot of guys my age. It's not really a big factor."
The list of recent Brewers position players to play in the Futures Game is an impressive one, considering every single one of them since 2002 has made it to the Major Leagues -- either for Milwaukee or someone else. Bill Hall, Corey Hart, Prince Fielder, Rickie Weeks, Nelson Cruz, Ryan Braun and Matt LaPorta are among the players in that group.
In other words, this could bode very well for Lawrie's prospects.
"It's crossed my mind a couple of times -- just obviously going to the big leagues in general. The question in my mind is, 'When am I going there?'" said Lawrie. "I don't really think about it that much because there's really not that much that I can control. All I can control is just playing every day, playing hard, being seen by the right people and playing the game the right way. Hopefully I get a chance sooner than later."
The second baseman, formerly a catcher, was the 16th overall pick in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft. A right-handed hitter out of British Columbia, Lawrie doesn't lack confidence.
He doesn't know for sure when he will realize his dream of getting to the Majors, but his strong hope is for September. The Brewers have given him no indication. Lawrie hopes to make the decision for them.
"Nope, nobody really says a word, it's kind of just [a case of] you go out there and you play every day. Be seen and not heard and hopefully I get a September callup," Lawrie said. "That was my main goal. If I played hard in Double-A and played well, hopefully I would get that call. I feel like right now, I deserve that. Obviously I've got the rest of the season to keep playing hard and just playing good baseball. If I hold my own the rest of the season and play well and do what I've been doing, hopefully I do get a call."
At the All-Star break, Lawrie, a dynamic offensive player, is hitting .295 with 23 doubles, 11 triples, six homers, 44 RBIs and 24 stolen bases.
As is often the case with top prospects, Lawrie has heard his name in trade rumors, something that will only intensify in the weeks leading up to the July 31 Trade Deadline.
"Once again, [that's] out of my control," Lawrie said. "You hear things floating around. It's out of my control, but I don't want to go anywhere. I want to stay right where I am right now. To have to pack up and on to a whole new team would be something that's not up my alley right now. Maybe further down the road, but for now, I'm good where I am."
When Lawrie made the decision to switch from catcher to second, his main motivation was that he thought it would get him to Milwaukee sooner. That transition has gone smoothly to date.
"Obviously I've worked on it all year, and I've done a good job at it," Lawrie said. "My footwork from around the bag and just everything in general ... I've worked at it, and it's been fun. I feel like a second baseman -- yeah, you can say that."
And as evidenced by his second consecutive Futures Game appearance, you could also say Lawrie's future looks pretty bright.
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.