Toronto Blue Jays: Why Brett Lawrie Is the Toronto Blue Jays' X-Factor

Jon ReidCorrespondent IIApril 13, 2013

TORONTO, CANADA - OCTOBER 2:  Brett Lawrie #13 of the Toronto Blue Jays throws out a baserunner in the sixth inning during MLB game action against the Minnesota Twins on October 2, 2012 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

One bad stretch of 10 games for the Toronto Blue Jays and all of a sudden it seems like the sky is falling in Toronto.

Admittedly, Toronto has played some awful baseball to start the 2013 season, but at 4-6, it's not as though Toronto has killed their preseason aspirations of reaching the playoffs for the first time in two decades.

Sluggish starting pitching and a massive injury (h/t ESPN) to their new prized shortstop, Jose Reyes, certainly won't help the matter, but neither spells the end of the season for Toronto just yet.

Especially considering that one of their most talented young players—third baseman Brett Lawrie—is close to returning.

Lawrie, a fan favorite for his ability, effort, and yes, his Canadian citizenship, is actually one of this team's most important players.

He may not lead the team in batting average, stolen bases or home runs, but Lawrie returning will still provide an incredible boost to both the Blue Jays' lineup, and he will also bolster the team's overall defense manning the hot corner.

We've seen a few plays already this season that have had Jays fans shaking their heads from the third base tandem of Mark DeRosa and Maicer Izturis (see: DeRosa's lack of range, or Izturis throwing routine ground balls away).

It's quite simple, really. Lawrie's athleticism cannot be matched by anyone the Jays have at third base.

Then there's what he provides at the plate.

Not only would Lawrie help improve the Jays' lineup with him taking over for Izturis and DeRosa (they're hitting .200 and .211 respectively, while Lawrie hit .273 last year in his first full season), but he'd most likely replace Adam Lind in the six spot of the lineup, which the Jays could really use right now, with Lind hitting a meager .136 at the plate (Lind has already lost his spot as the five hitter to catcher J.P. Arencibia).

Finally, Lawrie's return becomes even more important to this team's success considering the aforementioned injury to star shortstop Jose Reyes.

The longer it takes Brett to re-join the Jays, the more games the Jays will be forced to field a thoroughly unimpressive infield on both offense and defense.

Lawrie's return would also replace some of the speed the Jays lose with Reyes hitting the disabled list.

No one is saying that Lawrie has the speeds or baserunning ability that Reyes does, but he's much faster than DeRosa, who you'd think will be forced to play just about everyday along with Izturis now that two starting infielders are hurt.

Lawrie's energy, effort and, above all, his talent not only make him a promising young third baseman, but also this Toronto Blue Jays' X-Factor.