22-year-old Brett Lawrie did it again Sunday, going 3-for-3 against the Braves to raise his average to .579.
Toronto’s third baseman is 11-for-19 and has already collected five doubles this spring.
Lawrie was one of the AL’s best hitters after debuting at the tender age of 21 last August, batting .293/.373/.580 with nine homers and 25 RBI in 43 games. He ended up with 150 at-bats, so he won’t be eligible for Rookie of the Year honors this season. Perhaps he’ll just set his sights on the MVP award instead.
The Jays’ plan is to hit Lawrie seventh initially, with Adam Lind, Edwin Encarnacion and Colby Rasmus likely to follow No. 3 hitter Jose Bautista. Still, it’s worth wondering how long that will last. Everyone in that group of candidates to bat behind Bautista has significant upside, but Lawrie’s potential probably dwarfs them all.
Free agent left-hander Wade Miley is among several offseason targets for the Twins, according to a report from Darren Wolfson of KSTP. Miley’s $12 million option was declined by the Orioles back in November, and while he’s expected to attract another major league deal in 2018, he hasn’t exactly been highly sought after this offseason.
The 31-year-old lefty finished his second campaign with the Orioles in 2017, producing an 8-15 record in 32 starts and ranking second-to-last among all AL starters with a 5.61 ERA, 5.3 BB/9 and 8.1 SO/9 in 157 1/3 innings. Even taking Miley’s undeniable durability into account — he remained healthy for the bulk of the season and completed his sixth straight year with 30+ starts — his declining value and career-worst numbers may lower his price tag as the 2018 season approaches.
Wolfson notes that the Twins have engaged in “regular dialogue” with Miley’s agent this winter, but he’s far from the only starting pitcher they have their eye on. Right-handers Yu Darvish, Lance Lynn, Alex Cobb and Chris Tillman are still on their radar, among several others, and club owner Jim Pohlad said Saturday that he was “totally on board” with the idea of signing a big-name free agent like Darvish or another available starter. “There are some interesting names and some interesting opportunities there,” Pohlad told a crowd at TwinsFest. “I’m as intrigued by it as anybody and attracted to it as anybody.”