The surprising Arizona Diamondbacks currently sit at (71-68) and just 1.5 games out of the final wildcard spot in the National League. The influx of young talent the D-Backs have had this season is definitely a huge reason for their rise in a season most considered would be a rebuilding one.
Led by the quartet of Christian Walker, Ketel Marte, Corbin Carroll and Lourdes Gurriel Jr, who’ve combined for 97 home runs and 299 RBI, the Diamondbacks find themselves with a real shot at playing baseball in October.
While the team is playing well and in the thick of postseason baseball, the club’s No.1 prospect and MLBs No.10 overall prospect according to MLB, Jordan Lawlar got the call to the big club on Wednesday.
He’s been knocking the tape off the ball since his call up to Triple-A Reno in mid-August.
On Tuesday, Lawlar, MLBs third-ranked shortstop, had his first multi-HR game.
For his first dinger, Lawlar hit a moonshot that traveled 395 feet to left field on a hit that reached 102.3 MPH off his bat. His second deep shot came off a sinker that Lawlar deftly planted into centerfield for a solo HR.
Following his great performance at the plate, an elated Lawlar told reporters this.
“It’s pretty cool to go up there and know you’re swinging a good bat.”
Known for his all-around skill set on the diamond, Lawlar has also shown the knack for hitting the long ball as well.
After hitting 16 Bro bombs across 100 games during his four minor league stops in 2022, the 2021 No.6 overall selection out of Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas, has hit 20 homers in 2023. That includes five in just 16 games at the Triple-A level.
“It’s been a step up, for sure,” Lawlar said. But it’s been solid. It’s been fun to go out there and face a better caliber of pitching — more in command for sure — and there’s definitely some guys up here with some better stuff up here. It’s just fun to come to the field every night and know I have to compete and put my best foot forward to succeed.”
Lawlar’s slash line with Double-A Amarillo was .263/.366/.474 in 89 games, and during his call up to the Pacific League, he didn’t missed a beat, despite facing much tougher pitching nightly.
He was hitting .358 with a 1.050 OPS since arriving in Reno, while showing his versatility at different positions.
Lawlar Gets The Call Up
With the Diamondbacks comfortable with the sweet-fielding Geraldo Perdomo playing well at shortstop, the club has begun to use Lawlar at third base in an attempt to have him play a little of both at the major league level.
So expect to see him moving around the diamond with the big club.
With veteran Evan Longoria holding down “the hot corner,” now, and a free agent after this season, Lawlar is auditioning for a full-time role in 2024.
It’s something that Lawlar is definitely adjusting to, but also something he’s willing to do for the advancement of the team as they push towards the the playoffs in the “Valley of the Sun.”
The Arizona Diamondbacks are currently in the rebuilding phase, as they look to continue to add quality pieces to their roster, while developing the ones they already have. One of those pieces is shortstop Jordan Lawlar who was taken sixth overall in the 2021 MLB Draft. The rangy-but-compact prospect stands six-foot-two with a short, compact, powerful swing.
His approach at the plate is reminiscent of baseball Hall of Famer and former New York Yankees legend Derek Jeter. Lawlar’s athleticism stands out, but it’s his aptitude and approach that had Diamondbacks farm system director Josh Barfield already calling the young Lawlar the best base stealer in the D-Backs organization.
Lawlar is on the fast track and he’s only 20 years old. He’s considered one of the most talented prospects in all of baseball. He ranks as Arizona’s No.2 prospect, and MLB Pipeline’s No.11 ranked prospect.
Arizona Diamondbacks Have Talented Young Nucleus Brewing
‘King’ Jordan Lawlar, Corbin Carroll, Alek Thomas and Druw Jones give the D-Backs a very talented nucleus of players for their future.
Jordan Lawlar will be starting the 2023 season with the Amarillo Sod Poodles. The infielder played in the Futures Game this past season. pic.twitter.com/1R2UoD5N71
Lawlar was the 2021 Gatorade Texas High School Player of the Year, and he’s already made it to the Double-A ranks in two short seasons. Armed with a compact right-handed swing, and the innate ability to recognize pitches, Lawlar is able to produce a solid average and high walk rates. Same as Jeter did when he first arrived back in 1996, winning Rookie of the Year honors.
Some of Lawlar’s other strengths give off strong “Jeter” vibes; his batting eye, mannerism, approach and potential to be great, and the relentless work he’s put into reaching baseball God-like status before ever stepping on an MLB field. His fielding is super solid at shortstop, and he understands angles and ball pursuit. Lawlar has struggled with his footwork at times, committing 29 errors in 87 games last season, which amounts to one every three games, but his bat more than makes up for that.
Diamondbacks quality control coordinator recently told “The Athletic,” this about his star pupil.
In an effort to fix the error issue, Lawlar was in Arizona in mid-January working with infield coach Tony Perezchica and former Gold Glove shortstop Nick Ahmed. It was all about the fundamentals with them, and Lawlar definitely bought in. Perezchica says it’s about doing the basic stuff first and the rest will take care of itself.
“It’s just the basics for him,” Perezchica says. “But for a player with Lawlar’s physical gifts, “the basics are going to be huge.”
As for Lawlar, he wants to be the best and he’s going to continue to strive just for that.
“I want to be the best player,” Lawlar said. “And you can’t be the best player if you’re making errors and you’re not playing elite defense.”
Once Lawlar gets better on defense, the call-up will happen in a matter of time, and it’s highly plausible it happens in 2023.
When the Arizona Diamondbacks made Jordan Lawlar the No.6 overall pick in the 2021 MLB Draft, they did so with the belief he’d be their shortstop of the future.
In his rookie season, the dynamic Lawlar has shown exactly why he was highly sought after coming out of Dallas Jesuit High School. In eight games this season with the Visalia Rawhide, an affiliate of the D-Backs since 2007, Lawlar has shined.
The 6-foot-2 and 190 pounder is batting an insane .405 with 13 hits, three home runs, seven RBI and six stolen bases. He gets on base at a .511 clip and slugs .703.
It’s still early in his development as the Rawhide is the first stop for Arizona Diamondbacks prospects once drafted.
But it’s also an early indication of the type of talent Lawlar possesses and gives the D-Back an extremely bright outlook of his future. He seems to be the goods.
Here’s what Lawler had to say prior to beginning the season earlier this month…
“I got drafted last summer so I’m finally excited to put the jersey on and start putting up some numbers in front of these fans. Coming out of Dallas, Texas I played some pretty good high school baseball down there.
Texas is definitely one of the top states for that, I’m proud to say it. And, yeah, just growing up around those coaches, those players, I was definitely in that winning environment and playing baseball every day, every summer, everything. I’m ready to get out there and show what that has done for my life, and my career.”
Lawlar Looks To Follow Nick Ahmed: He’s The Future
The Diamondbacks joined MLB as an expansion franchise in 1998 and haven’t had a ton of success outside of their magical 2001 World Series win over the New York Yankees.
That team was led by K-Kings Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling, along with sluggers Matt Williams and Luis Gonzalez. While they’ve had some really good players in their organization at many different positions including shortstop (Tony Womack, Craig Counsell, and Stephen Drew) Nick Ahmed is the probably the franchise’s greatest shortstop, but he’s 32.
Meaning, Lawlar was drafted to eventually replace him. Sort of like Barry Larkin, being drafted to replaced Dave Concepcion in Cincinnati. No we’re not saying either Ahmed or Lawlar are on that level, but the example fits what the D-Backs have in mind.
Lawlar Turned Down Vanderbilt: D-Backs Showed Him The Money
Upon finishing high school Lawlar was slated to attend baseball powerhouse Vanderbilt, a team that has played in the last two College World Series, led by the arms of Jack Leiter (No.2 overall pick by the Rangers) and Kumar Rocker (No.10 overall pick by the Mets).
They were two of seven players from that team drafted. So Lawlar, really had the best of both worlds at his disposal, but at the end of the day money talks.
His $6.7M bonus was the third-highest given to any position player in the 2021 draft. Plus the opportunity to go against other future big leaguers daily had to weigh in the decision to sign with the D-Backs right away and not go to school.
God is good! I want to thank my mom, Hope, my family, my coaches, advisors and all who’ve been part of my journey to now. Love you guys. Huge thank you to the Diamondback organization for this opportunity. Let’s do this! #RattleOn 📸: @Dbackspic.twitter.com/OHyxz5GXU2
Lawlar has all the tools, and says he models his game after Yankees Hall of Famer Derek Jeter.
The wiry, strong, high-impact player also mentioned Twins shortstop Carlos Correa and defensive wiz in the hole Andrelton Simmons of the Cubs. For flare, style and pop he said he loves Fernando Tatis Jr., the do-it-all star of the San Diego Padres.
Keep an eye out for Lawler, he’s an MLBbro that is quickly rising through the minors and on a collision course with The Show.
Each year hundreds of amateur ball players wait to hear their names called in the Major League Baseball draft.
Sunday, the first round of the draft was held, ushering in the first wave of this next generation of stars hoping to emerge.
Some will go on to greatness, others obscurity. But, in this moment, all that lies ahead is potential.
A number of young men joined the ranks of soon-to-be MLBbros, with rounds 2-10 starting on Monday afternoon at 1:00 pm ET, and rounds 11-20 starting at noon on Wednesday.
Jordan Lawlar, SS, Jesuit HS (TX)
Jordan Lawlar, a 6’2” shortstop out of Texas, was rated as the third overall prospect in the MLB.com prospect rankings, but just as top prospect Marcelo Mayer was taken later than he expected, Lawlar lasted until the sixth pick, where he was taken by the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Lawlar had been the top ranked high school player in his class since 2020, and posted a .430 average over 64 high school games. This past season, 12 of his 34 hits went for extra bases, showing off his speed. Lawlar stole 27 bases in 28 games, and has great range as a middle infielder.
He’s been most often compared to current All-Star Carlos Correa and Hall of Famer Derek Jeter.
Arizona may have the worst record in the National League, but they just picked up possibly the best player in the draft.
Kumar Rocker, RHP, Vanderbilt
It wasn’t that long ago that Rocker was being hailed as a potential number one overall pick. The 2021 season at Vanderbilt didn’t go according to plan, with scouts worrying about inconsistent velocity, and ending with a Game 3 loss to Mississippi State in the College World Series.
Instead, Rocker was a surprise selection by the New York Mets at 10.
Rocker doesn’t have to be Jacob DeGrom to be an instant contributor for a Mets staff that has used 14 different starting pitchers this season.
Listed at 6’5” and 245 lbs, he’s built to eat innings and strike out batters, tying for the NCAA Division I lead in strikeouts with 179 in 122 innings. His top two pitchers are his fastball and his slider, but he will have to improve his control and sharpen his secondary pitchers.
With fellow MLBbros Taijuan Walker and Marcus Stroman already making major contributions this season; Rocker could give the Mets an unprecedented three Black starters in its rotation.
Harry Ford, C, North Cobb HS (GA)
Ford became the fifth catcher from the state fo Georgia to be taken in the first round in the past eight drafts when the Seattle Mariners took him with the 12th pick.
The Mariners have been consistent in their acquisition and development of Black talent over recent years, and Ford should only add to that mix.
The 5’10”, 200 pound prospect has been solid on the backstop, but could be moved to the infield or outfield as his career progresses.
While the glove is nice, Ford is a first-round selection because of his bat. Swinging from the right side of the plate, he generates incredible bat speed for his age and can crush quality pitches as well as mistakes.
Ford’s immediate future will be determined by his discipline at the plate as much as his ability behind it.
Kahlil Watson, SS, Wake Forest HS (NC)
Though he entered the draft as a top-five prospect, shortstop Kahlil Watson fell all the way to 16th and into the arms of the Miami Marlins.
Perhaps Marlins CEO Derek Jeter knows a thing or two about identifying middle infield talent. He’s already been a mentor to Jazz Chisholm, and now he has the ultra-athletic Watson in the fold.
Watson has a similar build to Chisholm, checking in at 5’9” and 178 pounds. He has power for a middle infielder and pairs good plate discipline with consistent contact.
His speed is more than adequate and Watson could be another of the young players who helps bring the stolen base back to the game. Though he has played shortstop throughout his high school career, Watson is talented enough to play any number of positions.
After being taken this late in the first round, Watson could end up being the steal of the draft.
Jay Allen, OF, John Carroll Catholic HS (FL)
The Cincinnati Reds used the 30th pick of the first round on outfielder Jay Allen. There is no doubting the raw talent that Allen has to work with. He was a three sport star for John Carroll, playing football and basketball as well as dominating on the diamond.
He’s already committed to the University of Florida on a baseball-only scholarship, but after being taken in the first round, he could be willing to reconsider that choice.
His six-foot, three-inch frame should add muscle as Allen matures, and scouts view him as a potential power-hitting right fielder for years to come.
The Reds have a hitter friendly park and Allen has time to develop. This could be a very solid match between player and organization.
Black Prospects Remaining in the MLB.com Top 100
36) Jaden Hill, RHP, LSU
44) James Wood, OF, IMG Academy (FL)
52) Christian Franklin, OF, Arkansas
66) Braden Montgomery, OF/RHP, Madison Central (MS)