The Diamondbacks didn’t have to wait nearly as long as last year to make their first selection in the draft, ultimately selecting Jesuit Prep shortstop Jordan Lawlar with the 6th overall pick. After the pick was announced, Diamondbacks Amateur Scouting Director Deric Ladnier held a Zoom Conference call with the media to discuss the rationale behind the selection.
Ladnier opened up the conference call talking about Lawlar as the total package as a prospect. This won’t be a transcript of the call, but a summary of what was said with audio embedded down below for you to enjoy.
If the organization was surprised that Lawlar fell right to them at 6
He stated that they had 6-7 players that could be in the mix at the pick and were excited that he was there at 6. Zach Buchanan then asked if Lawlar was rated higher than 6th on their board and Ladnier sidestepped that question by delivering the same answer as the previous question.
Nick Piecoro later asked if the organization was sweating out Lawlar’s availability. Ladnier said they didn’t have an idea of who would go first overall until the pick was in. They weren’t sure how the board would unfold.
On the topic of Lawlar’s Vanderbilt commitment and potential signability concerns
Ladnier says the team has every intention to sign him. The team called him after the selection and they look forward to working with him as soon as possible. My two cents on this issue is he will ultimately sign for full slot at 6 ($5.72MM).
A later question asked on if the McLain situation from three years changed their overall strategy and if the team may instead punt the pick and have 2 picks in the Top 7 next year, but that was shot down quickly. Personally I would rather see the team sign Lawler for whatever it takes because he has the most upside of any player in this draft.
Things that stood out in Lawlar’s game when the team was scouting him
Ladnier said a slam dunk shortstop and then heaped the usual praises before stating he checks all the boxes for them. Ladnier then talked about Lawlar’s strong showcase run the previous summer and fall. Super athlete with a projectable body when he develops man strength. Says the type of tools they’re always looking for.
On if the organization plans to start him at shortstop
Ladnier quickly affirmed that. Lawlar profiles well for any infield position, but obviously him sticking at shortstop is the best possible outcome unless Geraldo Perdomo breaks out.
Concerns about swing and miss potential
The team watched him all the way from the summer. Lawlar started off the season slowly, but turned it on late in which he only struck out once in his final 55 PA. Ladnier said the organization didn’t see much out of his swing that they would consider alarming to them. He also believes Lawlar will develop into a really good hitter and a potential middle of the order hitter while playing SS.
Comparisons to Derek Jeter and Carlos Correa
Ladnier responded what could be the one sound byte of the night, “If he ends up with the tool set of both those players, we made a very good selection.” Ladnier then said he doesn’t like to comp guys as it puts undue pressure on them and wants Lawlar to be himself. If Lawlar ends up anywhere close to Jeter or Correa on the field, it’s Ladnier’s best pick in his career and the D-backs could be contenders with him on the roster.
If the pick impacts the rest of the draft
They’ll see who’s left is on the board and devise strategies based on financial demands.
If it was relaxing to make one pick early on and be done
They’ll be working late to plan out how they handle Day 2, with five picks that could happen before the team picks at 42.
Zack Greinke’s input
Ladnier said that Greinke will make it clear if he thinks the organization made a good pick. If Greinke’s opinion is anywhere close to mine, the text will probably read somewhere close to “Good pick”. More on that story after Day 2?