SS Lawlar 'checks all the boxes' for D-backs

July 12th, 2021

PHOENIX -- As the 2021 MLB Draft started and the picks began rolling in, those in the D-backs' Draft room liked what they were seeing -- high school shortstop Jordan Lawlar was still there.

With all the uncertainty at the top of this year's Draft, the D-backs had identified six or seven players they wanted with their No. 6 overall selection, and while no one with the organization would say it, Lawlar ranked higher than sixth on their board.

The D-backs nabbed Lawlar, who was the No. 3 overall prospect in the Draft according to MLB Pipeline, with their pick and were thrilled to be able to do so.

"I came into this Draft not really knowing what teams were going to do," D-backs scouting director Deric Ladnier said. "We were excited that he was there for us at six, there's no doubt."

Lawlar, who turns 19 on Saturday, is regarded as a five-tool prospect and was recently named Texas' Gatorade Baseball Player of the Year after starring for Jesuit Prep in the Dallas area.

The right-handed-hitting Lawlar uses a patient approach and often attacks the gaps with a compact swing. Given his impressive bat speed and 6-foot-2 frame, he figures to develop more power as he continues to add strength.

Defensively, he has plenty of range, quick hands and a plus arm -- a combo that will undoubtedly keep him at shortstop at the next level. Lawlar also has plus speed that will benefit him both in the field and on the basepaths.

"Slam dunk he can play shortstop," Ladnier said. "I mean, just electric tools -- really good feet, really good hands, really good arm. Good range, good instincts, ability to steal bases, ability to hit for power. He checks all the boxes, quite frankly, and just a wonderful human being. He's just a super athlete with a projectable body. And all of those things that he possesses are the type of tools that we as evaluators, we're always looking for when we go to the ballpark and we could pretty much walk out of the ballpark and check every box, which doesn't happen a lot."

Lawlar has committed to play at Vanderbilt, but the D-backs seem confident that they will be able to sign him. The slot value for the No. 6 pick is $5,742,900 and the D-backs have an overall bonus pool of $11,271,900 for their selections this year.

"We've had discussions with them," Ladnier said. "And we were able to talk to him after our pick was over and he was excited about the opportunity to hopefully get out here and start his career. I mean, obviously, there's always different choices that players have to make, that's their own personal decision. But, you know, we selected this player with every intent of getting him on the field and getting in a uniform to where he could start his development process."

Lawlar has drawn comparisons to shortstop Bobby Witt Jr., who was taken with the No. 2 overall pick by the Royals in 2019. Some scouts see Lawlar as a more polished hitter at this stage in his career than Witt was.

Other scouts have likened him to Astros shortstop Carlos Correa or former Yankees great Derek Jeter for some of his movements defensively and at the plate.

Ladnier has heard those comparisons, but he is hesitant to put them on his picks because of the pressure it can place on the draftee.

"I'll say this: If he ends up with the toolset of both those players, we made a very, very good selection," Ladnier said with a smile. "I want him to be Jordan Lawlar is who I want him to be. And I think with the toolsets that you just talked about, if he does become a combination of both those guys, it'll be one of my better picks as a scouting director."