The irresistible rise of Jordan Lawlar continues. The team’s first-round pick in the 2021 draft (picked sixth overall) is reported to be getting his call-up to the major leagues, as the team starts a crucial four-game set against fellow wild-card challengers, the Cubs, in Chicago tomorrow. Nick Piecoro was first with the news, but it has since been confirmed by the likes of John Gambadoro. So, while there is no official word as yet, all signs do seem to indicate that the Lawlar era is about to begin.
Jordan was a consensus top-25 prospect across all of baseball before the season began, and appeared in the All-Star Futures Game for the second consecutive time earlier this year. He will have played only 207 minor league games at the time of his call-up. For comparison, that is sixty-five more than Corbin Carroll, but part of that low number was due to the 2020 minor-league season being entirely wiped out. Lawlar will be close to a year younger then Carroll when he makes his debut, having just turned 21 in July. He’ll become the fifth youngest overall and second youngest position player debutant for Arizona, behind Justin Upton (19), and pitchers Edgar Gonzalez, Byung-Hyun Kim (both 20) and Tyler Skaggs (21).
Lawlar did get off to a slow start this season in Double-A Amarillo, though to be fair, he was more than four years younger than the average player in the league. Through his first 32 games there, he was batting only .162, with a strikeout rate above 30%. But then it was as if a light went on. The rest of the time as a Sod Poodle, he hit .313 and the K’s went down to 16%. That got him a promotion to Reno, and the PCL pushed his numbers to the next level there. He appeared just 16 times there, but a line of .358/.438/.612 for an OPS of 1.049 was deemed good enough for a promotion. Though let us remind ourselves: Kyle Lewis had an OPS of 1.093 over 57 games for the Aces, and couldn’t hit for toffee in the majors.
How the team is going to make room for him remains to be seen. Lawlar is a right-handed bat who has played mostly shortstop this year, so you wonder if the time has come for Nick Ahmed, who had a feeble .560 OPS this season. It would be a sad way for the longest-serving Diamondback to end his time here. However, it’s worth noting Lawlar would NOT be post-season eligible, if Arizona gets there, because he was not on the 40-man roster at the end of August. I also imagine the team will manage Lawlar’s playing-time to ensure he remains rookie eligible for next year, so he can hopefully follow in the footsteps of Carroll, and bring the team the additional draft pick which comes with a Rookie of the Year winner.