Sox see 'high, high ceiling' for Lawrie's bat

'I don't think he's even touched his potential,' Steverson says of second baseman

Sox see 'high, high ceiling' for Lawrie's bat

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The first 2016 White Sox Cactus League home run came off Brett Lawrie's bat Friday afternoon against the Indians.

In the mind of White Sox hitting coach Todd Steverson, the words "home run" and "Lawrie" could be linked up quite a few times in the upcoming season.

White Sox Spring Training info

"He's got some of the most raw power that I don't think anybody really knows about," said Steverson of the White Sox second baseman. "You got to harness it a little bit, and he's not looking to hit the homers per se. He's going to hit a few this year and you will go, 'Really? He killed that ball.'"

Lawrie reached career-highs with 16 homers and 29 doubles over a career-high 602 plate appearances for the A's in '15. As he builds up that "history," as Steverson likes to say, Lawrie has a chance to be an offensive force if he stays healthy.

But hitting home runs doesn't interest the 26-year-old as much as becoming a complete hitter.

"You have to put the ball in play, take your at-bats seriously and not try to go deep every time," Lawrie said. "If you become a hitter first and then all of a sudden, homers will start going. You are so locked in to hitting you are trying to hit it on the screws. When you ultimately hit it on the screws, good things will happen."

"To have a second baseman that can potentially throw out 15, 20 of them, you don't have that all around the game right now," Steverson said. "I don't think he's even touched his potential yet of what he can be. I've watched him through the years in there, and he stays on the field, he has a high, high ceiling."

Lawrie brings energy to camp

Steverson became familiar with Lawrie from across the field as the hitting coach for Triple-A Sacramento in 2011, when Lawrie was playing for Triple-A Las Vegas. So he understands Lawrie's pure talent, as well as that untapped power.

Even with Steverson's words of praise, Lawrie is sticking to a philosophy shown by the entire team through the start of camp. Individual numbers will come as a result of a team-first attitude.

"It's all about pushing runs across the plate. We can't do that individually. We have to do that as a group," Lawrie said. "The more runs we push across the plate, the better off as a team we are going to be.

"We are not always waiting for that big homer. Score early and often, and our team is a lot better off for it. Then seventh, eighth and ninth inning, drop a big homer and then it's game over. We'll do the little things first and then worry about big things later.

"[Homers] will be where [they are] at the end of the year," Lawrie said. "Just focus on getting in the box, having good at-bats and moving the runners when you get the opportunity. But mostly, playing the game within the game."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.