Versatility could be key for 2 top prospects

February 28th, 2024

This story was excerpted from Steve Gilbert’s D-backs Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

D-backs prospects and were both drafted as shortstops, and that’s been their primary position coming up through Arizona's system.

Lawlar, the team’s No. 1-ranked prospect per MLB Pipeline, reached the big leagues last September, and though he played sparingly, he got to be part of the team’s playoff push and postseason run. Alexander, ranked No. 15, spent last year with Triple-A Reno.

Both are in big league camp this year, and with the D-backs' starting infield all but set, it seems that both will open the year in Reno.

Your first thought might be which player will have to move off of shortstop, but it likely won’t be as simple as that. The answer might be that they both end up playing multiple positions, though Lawlar will likely primarily play short.

Having the pair able to play third base, short and second base accomplishes a pair of objectives.

One, it gives them each more of a chance to make the jump to the big leagues because it opens avenues outside of shortstop, where Geraldo Perdomo established himself last year. It also provides the D-backs with some much-needed insurance should something happen to starting second baseman Ketel Marte or veteran third baseman Eugenio Suárez.

“Both of these guys have to be able to support the team,” D-backs GM Mike Hazen said. “If something happens in camp, if there's an opportunity on the roster, or even beyond that if they both start [the season] at Triple-A.”

Alexander, who was taken in the 11th round of the 2018 Draft, has already moved around in his Minor League career, playing both second and third in addition to shortstop.

Lawlar, meanwhile, has only played one game at third base since being selected in the first round of the 2021 Draft. Hazen said that the organization would like to see Lawlar, who played just 16 games in Triple-A, get more experienced at shortstop at that level, but they want to keep their options open with him at other positions if needed