There is no doubt Brett Lawrie can hit. He hits so well that he's the rarest of Canadian sub-species: a right handed-hitting professional baseball player.
His hitting got him drafted 16th in the 2008 MLB draft, the highest ever for a Canadian position player and made him marketable enough that the Toronto Blue Jays are working on a trade that would bring him back to Canada for Shaun Marcum, their 2010 opening day starter, even though Lawrie has yet to take a swing in the major leagues.
But can he hit the best his sister has to offer?
Danielle Lawrie's been called the Stephen Strasburg of women's fastpitch and enjoys embarrassing unsuspecting sports writers. Fearless with a mound presence in the spirit of Nolan Ryan, she pitched for Canada at the 2008 Olympics. In their relative fields, Danielle is one for the ages. Brett is a mere prospect.
In a story that appeared in the Seattle Times, Danielle confirmed that as per their father's wishes, they've never faced off against each other:
"My dad is not really a fan of that. Not now, anyways," Danielle said "He doesn't think it's necessary, because either way, it's going to be a lose-lose. I strike him out, and he's super-pissed, or he gets a hit off me, and I'm really upset. So we'll just leave it at a mystery until the day it comes about."
But each is confident in their ability to get in the other's kitchen, so to speak.
"I want to (face him), because I really don't think he would hit it," Danielle said.
"I'd get in there and just hack it," countered Brett. "I know if I were to even relatively catch one, I'd take it out. I mean, it's only a 200-foot fence. But I don't think I'd be able to catch up to the first few, so we'd have to see what happens."
Danielle was twice the NCAA player-of-the-year and in 2009 she led UW to a national championship and compiled the following totals: a W-L of 42-8, a 0.97 earned-run average and 521 strikeouts; she also hit clean-up. There are some who think she's the most dominant athlete to compete in Seattle sports, Ken Griffey jr. and Gary Payton included.
Even her mother, Cheryl, can see the fear she inspires on the mound. "She has the tendency to intimidate," she said.
Lawrie comes advertised as having exceptional power and athleticism -- he has a 46-inch vertical jump and at 6-feet can dunk a basketball -- and received a reported $1.7-million signing bonus.
Danielle played in the Natiional Pro Fastpitch League, a fledling loop with a $100,000 salary cap for a 20-player roster.
"She's an absolute stud," said former Seattle Mariner star Jay Buhner, whose daughter plays competitive softball. "That's the only bad thing about Danielle Lawrie. She is basically the cream of the crop, and there's no well-paying professional softball. She's the millionaire of softball. A multi-, multimillion dollar type gal, if there was a league like that. Too bad there isn't."
Alas, the Jays will have to make do with her kid brother.
More on Brett Lawrie:
• He was the youngest player on Canada's Olympic team in Beijing in 2008. He marched in the opening ceremonies with Danielle, a member of the national softball team.
• He was rated 81st overall in Baseball America's top-100 prospects in 2009. He improved to 59th in 2010
• He showed his promise in AA this past summer as he led the Southern League in hits (158), triples (16), total bases (250), runs (tied for first, 90) and extra-base hits (tied for first, 60). He was named to both the midseason and postseason all-star teams and participated in the All-Star Futures Game for the World Team for the second straight year.
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