Lawlar signs with D-backs, throws 1st pitch

August 1st, 2021

PHOENIX -- Hours before first pitch, D-backs first-round pick was standing in the D-backs’ dugout at Chase Field with his family, fresh off officially signing his contract.

“It’s great," said Lawlar, who was the sixth overall pick in the 2021 MLB Draft. "It’s fun to be on the field. Once you get down here, you realize it’s more of a normal baseball field. But looking from the stands, it’s crazy.”

Lawlar then threw out the first pitch as the D-backs played host to the Dodgers, which was a reminder that while Lawlar’s future might be bright, Arizona’s present is still a struggle.

The Dodgers pounded out 14 hits and scored four runs in the seventh to win, 8-3.

Lawlar was the No. 3 overall prospect in the Draft, according to MLB Pipeline, and he was believed to be even higher on the D-backs' Draft board.

Signing Lawlar would prove to be a little more challenging, as he had committed to Vanderbilt where he planned to major in economics. It was only by offering $6,713,300, well above the $5,742,900 slot value for the pick, that they were able to get a deal done.

The negotiations stretched out with Lawlar saying he did not know for sure that it was going to be done until late Thursday, or early Friday.

"Yeah, the whole time, really, it's been Vanderbilt," Lawlar said. "And just over time, obviously, the Diamondbacks made a great offer and they just kind of showed how much they really wanted me. So that made me really comfortable with this team, and that ended up being the final decision. Vanderbilt's obviously a great program, but I'm ready to get going with the Diamondbacks."

The 19-year-old is regarded as a five-tool prospect after starring for Jesuit Prep in the Dallas area, and he was recently named Texas' Gatorade Baseball Player of the Year.

A right-handed hitter, 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.

"Slam dunk, he can play shortstop," D-backs scouting director Deric Ladnier said the night Lawlar was selected. "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 types 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 was joined by some family members, including his mom, Hope, who recounted the times she placed balls on the tee for him and played catch with him when he was very young.

“It’s amazing," Hope Lawlar said. "It’s a dream come true. He’s worked really hard. He was six years old when he said he wanted to play in MLB, and here we are today. It’s been a lot of hard work and a lot of dedication and a lot of times behind the scenes when the lights and the cameras aren’t on. It’s just to God be the glory, a dream come true. I couldn’t be prouder.”

D-backs manager Torey Lovullo texted back and forth after the Draft with Lawlar, letting him know about the family atmosphere within Arizona’s organization. The two talked more Saturday -- and it was Lovullo who caught Lawlar's first pitch.

"He's a fantastic kid," Lovullo said. "And a fantastic player."