You’ve heard of legendary MLBbro Boston Red Sox sluggers like Jim Rice and Mo Vaughn. Guys whose games were designed around putting sh*t into the bleachers. Well, top prospect Jeter Downs was recently called up to the majors and could be the next great, Black BoSox rocket launcher. The 23-year-old, drafted in 2017, is finally getting his shot.
Charles Nyonga gives us some intel about the rookie on “Take That.”
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.
Before exploding for 14 hits and seven runs on Saturday night, the Padres offense had been underwhelming.
The absence of Fernando Tatis Jr., for more than one-third of the schedule is a big reason, but that doesn’t explain why a team with so much talent struggled to scratch out only 30 runs over the eight games played prior to Saturday’s breakout.
If they’re going to unseat the Boys in Blue 121 miles up I-5, the Padres have to be able to put crooked digits on the board. LA is second in the NL in runs scored and San Diego likely won’t have a 1.73 team ERA come September.
A big problem for San Diego has been the play of centerfielder Tommy Pham. Playing in all nine games so far, he ranks last or next to last on the team in batting average, on base percentage, runs, hits, and RBIs. He hit into two key double plays on Saturday
Let’s put it like this…He’s neither batting nor pulling his weight right now.
The solution to the Padres’ woes may be a 19-year old who doesn’t have 50 minor league games to his name yet.
Currently working at San Diego’s Alternate Training Site, CJ Abrams is one of the top prospects in baseball for a reason. He came into the season ranked ahead of rookie standout Ke’Bryan Hayes by MLB.com because of his “elite blend of athleticism, speed, and pure hitting ability.”
In 32 games of rookie league ball in 2019, he batted a mere .401 with 23 extra-base hits while grabbing 14 stolen bases. After spending the 2020 season at the alternate site, he showed up and showed out during Spring Training; outplaying some of the veterans who made the Opening Day roster.
“Playing against the higher level, you’re obviously going to get better faster,” Abrams said this Spring. “It’s just a lot of fun playing against good competition.”
Check. Check. Check.
Though he was drafted as a shortstop, Abrams has spent time at second base and in the outfield. With his ability to cover ground, his strong arm, and solid veterans surrounding him, it shouldn’t take long for CJ to make the adjustment.
“We think he’s a shortstop,” said Padres manager Jayce Tingler. “The development of that — what we believe is that shortstops can play other positions.”
So, it already appears that San Diego has some alternate plans for Abrams. With Tatis locked in for the next 14 years, it’s not likely that there will be a hole at short anytime soon.
But there is one in centerfield, right now. If it gets too much larger, CJ Abrams could be a full-time big league bro very soon.