Jordan Lawlar debuts, embraces role in Diamondbacks’ playoff push
Sep 8, 2023, 3:55 PM
(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
Jordan Lawlar, the most-anticipated prospect in the Arizona Diamondbacks farm system since Rookie of the Year favorite Corbin Carroll, had quite the debut on Thursday at Wrigley Field.
The 6-foot-1, 190-pound shortstop recorded his first hit on a ground ball to Cubs third baseman Jeimer Candelario, beating his throw to first base. In the field, Lawler proved why he’s getting comparisons to Hall of Famer Derek Jeter, flashing the leather and looking like a Gold Glove infielder.
“It was amazing, so surreal and definitely one for the memory books,” Lawlar told Arizona Sports’ Wolf & Luke on Friday before his second game in an MLB lineup. “The lights, the fans filling up the stands … the importance of the game as well.”
It’s a bit of a unique situation for Lawlar. Unlike previous seasons, this September isn’t for developing prospects. The 21-year-old was called up in the midst of a pennant race and is expected to contribute to the team’s ultimate goal.
“We’re excited … want to show people what we can do,” Lawlar said. “We’re obviously focused on the goal at hand: winning and making it to the playoffs.”
Lawlar spent the bulk of 2023 in Double-A, batting .263 with 15 home runs before his promotion to Triple-A Reno. Upon arrival, Lawlar raked, only spending three weeks in Reno prior to his promotion to the big leagues. He batted .358 with five homers over 16 Triple-A games.
The former sixth overall selection in 2021 took 10-year veteran Nick Ahmed’s spot on the major league roster, embellishing the new-look D-backs, who have seen numerous prospects promoted in the past year.
Ahmed was the longest-tenured player on the Diamondbacks roster. He made his debut in 2014 and became the team’s primary shortstop, winning Gold Gloves in 2018 and 2019.
Two of the three highest-paid players in the Diamondbacks organization to start this season, Madison Bumgarner ($23 million) and Ahmed ($10.6 million), are no longer with the team.
With veterans Mark Melancon and Evan Longoria expected to become free agents at the end of the season, the Diamondbacks are looking to build around the younger players and using this playoff push to expedite their learning curve.
For Lawlar, having a friend in Carroll helped him push past his nerves to perform during an important month of baseball.
“Corbin said just be myself,” Lawlar said. “So I just have to be myself and try to do anything I can and be ready to help this team win when my name is called.”
The D-backs have 20 games remaining in the season, and with four teams in the mix for the final NL Wild Card spot, there’s a sense of urgency when they lose.
Even if the D-backs don’t lock in a playoff appearance, Lawlar’s highly anticipated promotion gives the Diamondbacks momentum for the future.