While Brett Lawrie has spent most of August making noise with his bat, Toronto's 23-year-old third baseman let his athleticism do the talking on Friday night against Kansas City.
After watching Brett Cecil, on in relief for Mark Buehrle, allow Kansas City to score two runs, cutting Toronto's lead to 3-2 in the eighth inning, Royals designated hitter Billy Butler stepped to the plate with Eric Hosmer on first base and one out.
Facing a 3-2 count and with Hosmer moving on the pitch, Butler hit a bouncer towards Lawrie at third base. Then this happened:
With literally thousands of adjectives I could use to describe that play, three letters are all that is needed to do it justice.
Think about what Lawrie did there.
Not only was he athletic enough to adjust to the bounce, but he processed what was going on quickly enough to know that the only chance he had to get Butler at first base was to grab-and-throw while still in mid-air.
Had he landed and then thrown, there's no way he would have gotten Butler—and Kansas City's rally would have continued. Instead, Sergio Santos got Salvador Perez to ground out to Jose Reyes at shortstop, ending the inning. Toronto held on for a 3-2 win, one that wouldn't have been possible without Lawrie's quick thinking.
This isn't the first time that we've seen Lawrie make incredibly athletic plays in the field this season. We need only look back to Toronto's matchup against the New York Yankees last weekend, a series that saw Lawrie make not one, but two incredible defensive plays:
I'm not ready to anoint Lawrie the best defensive third baseman in baseball just yet—that honor still belongs to Baltimore's Manny Machado.
But Lawrie is giving his fellow youngster a run for his money—and watching the two of them go at it for the title over the next decade is going to make for incredibly entertaining baseball.
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