So what comes next for Justin Lawrence? After all, he’s drawing plenty of attention right now and he’s thrown just 35 pitches for the Rockies.
Lawrence has already dealt with plenty of attention before making the big league roster, including the effects of a suspension that cost him the 2020 season. However, as Rockies assistant general manager for player development and farm director Zach Wilson told us in an exclusive interview, “When you’re throwing from below three quarters, sometimes sidearm, at 99 with sink, and then you mix in a sweeping slider that sweeps across the plate, it makes for a very uncomfortable at-bat, particularly for a right-handed hitter.”
At present, Lawrence is an unknown to opposing hitters, although it’s safe to say that the San Francisco Giants (who open a three-game series at Coors Field on Monday night) and the teams that follow on Colorado’s schedule will have plenty of video to watch to try to prepare for what he brings to the mound.
Control has been a question mark for the former 12th-round pick as he advanced to the higher levels of the minors in 2019 (his only season he has pitched above Double-A prior to making his MLB debut). He walked nine in 10.1 innings of work at Triple-A Albuquerque to start the season, causing him to slide back to Double-A Hartford, where he walked 20 in 26.2 innings. His overall walks per nine innings in 2019 stood at 7.05, a sharp increase from the 4.47 he saw at Class A Lancaster in 2018.
If Lawrence can harness his pitches (as he has shown he can do in his first two outings, walking just the first batter he ever faced), he can be a very effective weapon for the Rockies. Time will certainly tell but, so far, the Justin Lawrence Experience has been a success for the Rockies and an eye-opener for fans.