New Toronto Blue Jays infielder Mark DeRosa sees enormous potential in Brett Lawrie.
DeRosa, who was brought in to provide leadership to the younger players on the Blue Jays, believes Lawrie can be an elite third baseman if he makes a few tweaks to his game.
"He’s got the tools," DeRosa said on Brady & Lang on Sportsnet 590 The Fan Tuesday. "He’s got the passion for the game. It’s all there. It’s just maybe tempering those emotions from time-to-time. Being more cerebral at the plate and thinking the game.
"For a guy like Brett (Lawrie), .270 last year with 11 bombs. I firmly believe he is capable of being a perennial all-star and will hit a lot more homers as he gets older."
The Blue Jays strategically placed DeRosa’s locker beside Lawrie and the two have been closely working together throughout the early portion of Spring Training.
DeRosa has been impressed with Lawrie’s infectious energy and says he can be a necessary sounding board for the young third baseman.
"Managing personalities is one of my strengths," he said. "I like to see guys play well. I like to see guys not waste talent. If I can push them in the right direction and get their true ability to shine through, I want them to know it’s coming from a good place. This year with J.P. (Arencibia) and Brett I (hope) I can say a few things throughout the course of the season that can help them along the way.
The 38-year-old received similar guidance from veteran players when he was coming up with Atlanta Braves early in his career and he wants to fill a similar role with the Blue Jays.
"Walt Weiss was a huge influence as a shortstop. It was huge for me. Chipper Jones played a huge impact (as well)… From an offensive standpoint, (I learned) how to watch video and how to set up (at-bats). Those are the big things I want to help the younger guys with."
The Blue Jays signed the versatile infielder to a one-year deal earlier this winter and he has been pleased with the decision thus far.
"Our starting five is pretty good. My dad always used to say that whenever you’re a free agent and have the opportunity to pick where you play, you follow the pitching. Good things usually happen so that’s what I’ve done here."
DeRosa has spent time with the Braves, Texas Rangers, Chicago Cubs, Cleveland Indians, St. Louis Cardinals, San Francisco Giants and Washington Nationals during his 15 seasons in the majors.