September 27, 2022

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Lawlar stays hot, racks up 3 hits

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Welcome to the D-backs prospect update, where you’ll find news, promotions and standout performances, all year long.

Lawlar stays hot, goes deep (April 13)
Jordan Lawlar is on fire. After racking up four hits Tuesday, the 2021 first-round pick wasted no time continuing his streak as he went yard in his first at-bat Wednesday. The homer, Lawlar’s second of the season, was a preview of things to come as the 19-year-old went on to collect two more hits and also steal a base. Lawlar is off to a fast start in his first professional season, slashing .500/.538/.792 through five games. — William Boor

Lawlar collects four hits and steals a bag (April 12)
It’s been a long wait for Jordan Lawlar and D-backs fans alike. The sixth overall pick of the 2021 Draft, Lawlar only took five at-bats last year before a shoulder injury cut his debut short. Well, in 2022, he’s healthy and ready to start raking. Arizona’s No. 3 prospect has hit in each of his first four games and has now recorded three straight multihit efforts after a 4-for-6 day at the dish with a double, an RBI and a stolen base in Single-A Visalia’s 10-3 win.

Batting out of the two-hole, the 19-year-old bounced a ball back to the pitcher for an infield single on the very first pitch he saw and shook off a strikeout in his next at-bat to drive in the Rawhide’s seventh run of the game with a double to right off a 3-2 pitch in the fourth. He promptly showed off his 60-grade speed by swiping third base, and he came around to score on a base knock from the very next batter. He singled to right field two more times to complete his day. The shortstop is now hitting .440 with a 1.121 OPS, three RBIs, three runs scored and two stolen bases through his first four games. –Stephanie Sheehan

Albright deals in season debut (April 10)
Making his first start of 2022, D-backs No. 28 prospect Luke Albright was terrific for High-A Hillsboro. The right-hander tossed six shutout innings, allowing just three hits and notching six strikeouts to match a personal best in his short career.

The D-backs selected Albright in the sixth round out of Kent State last year and had him make his pro debut with Low-A Visalia. There, he posted a 2-0 record and 3.47 ERA in six outings, striking out 22 batters in 23 1/3 innings. — Tyler Maun

Top prospects off to fast starts (April 8)
Corbin Carroll and Jordan Lawlar, the D-backs Nos. 2 and 3 prospects, wasted no time showing why they are so highly regarded as each went yard on Opening Night. Carroll, who was making his Double-A Amarillo debut, went deep to left in the fifth inning as part of a multihit effort.

Lawlar, the sixth overall pick from last year’s Draft, was making his full-season debut and promptly made his presence felt. The 19-year-old worked a full count in his first at-bat and then went deep to left-center. — William Boor

Lawlar makes first Cactus League start (April 2)
Jordan Lawlar, the D-backs’ No. 3 prospect and the No. 23 overall prospect in baseball, per MLB Pipeline, made his first Cactus League start of the spring in an 8-4 win over the White Sox at Salt River Fields. The shortstop batted in the No. 8 hole and went 1-for-4 with a third-inning RBI single. He scored a run in the second after reaching base via a passed ball on a strikeout. Lawlar was picked off first base following his lone hit, though, and he also made a throwing error in the second. The 19-year-old’s only previous Cactus League experience came on March 27, when he went 0-for-1 with a groundout against the Rockies.

“He was a little bit nervous today,” manager Torey Lovullo said. “I could tell from the look on his face a couple times that he was in a relaxed state, but looked a little bit anxious and excited. We want to get through those early times with him. He’s a special player, special talent, that has a lot of work to do to get to where he wants to get to. He got picked off at first base, he had a high throw, right? All those little things, very common for a young player. He plays well above his age, it’s hard to believe he’s 19.” — Jake Rill

Thomas sent to Minors camp (March 31)
Center fielder Alek Thomas, ranked as the D-backs’ No. 1 prospect by MLB Pipeline, was reassigned to Minor League camp with one week to go until Arizona’s regular season opener against the Padres on April 7 at Chase Field. Thomas went 6-for-27 this spring and he will begin the year with Triple-A Reno.

“He showed really well during his time here,” manager Torey Lovullo said. “That’s what we were looking for, somebody that was going to be comfortable in this environment and continue to show his ability to repeat swings, throw to the right base, make plays on defense.”

Outfielders Daulton Varsho, Jake McCarthy and Pavin Smith are a little more established in Arizona’s outfield than Thomas and are likely going to be on the Opening Day roster. Thomas almost certainly will join them at some point this season.

“I think there were some things we wanted to challenge him with as he went down,” Lovullo said. “From an offensive side to just be more consistent with that approach, continue to grow and learn.” — Steve Gilbert

Jameson hits 100 mph (March 28)
Right-hander Drey Jameson, ranked as the sixth-best prospect in the D-backs’ system per MLB Pipeline, got his first taste of Cactus League action Monday against the Dodgers and certainly made an impression. The 24-year-old got the save by pitching the final two innings and struck out three while allowing one hit — a solo homer. But what stood out was the fact that he hit triple digits on the radar gun multiple times.

“It’s always exciting to see that and you look up there on the board and you see there’s 100,” D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said. “And the crowd usually tells you exactly what’s gone on before you look up there. But he’s commanding the baseball and that’s the thing that stands out to me more than anything else. So, it’s 100 with command. He’s not just throwing.” — Steve Gilbert

Lawlar makes Cactus League debut (March 27)
Jordan Lawlar, who was the D-backs’ top pick (No. 6 overall) in last year’s Draft, made his Cactus League debut and went 0-for-1 with a groundout in a 5-2 split-squad win over the Rockies. Lawlar injured his left shoulder last summer in an Arizona Complex League game and has spent this spring in Minor League camp. Lawlar, who is Arizona’s No. 3 prospect per MLB Pipeline, cleanly fielded a grounder to shortstop in his only defensive action of the game. — Steve Gilbert

Henry impressive again (March 27)
Tommy Henry made his second appearance of the spring for the D-backs. The left-hander, who is Arizona’s No. 15 prospect per MLB Pipeline, tossed two scoreless innings to conclude a 5-2 split-squad win over the Rockies. He started for the D-backs in their Cactus League opener on March 17 and allowed one run over three innings vs. Colorado. — Steve Gilbert

Robinson reassigned to Minor League camp (March 21)
Outfielder Kristian Robinson was sent to Minor League camp. Robinson, who missed the entire 2021 season after he pleaded guilty to a felony assault charge following an April 2020 confrontation with a law enforcement officer in Arizona, is still on the restricted list. He can appear in Minor League camp games but until his situation is resolved, he can’t participate in games in which fans are charged admission. Robinson is ranked as the organization’s No. 8 prospect per MLB Pipeline after reaching as high as No. 2 on the list at one point. — Steve Gilbert

Nelson, Carroll showcase skills in spring stint (March 18)
Right-handed pitcher Ryne Nelson (D-backs No. 5) got his first taste of the Cactus League, spinning four frames of one-run ball vs. Colorado, while outfielder Corbin Carroll (D-backs No. 2) made an impressive sliding grab to have Nelson’s back. Read more >>

Lawlar progressing in return from injury, eyes start of ’22 (March 7)
Shortstop Jordan Lawlar, who was the D-backs’ first pick (No. 6 overall) in the 2021 MLB Draft, is continuing along his swing progression at Arizona’s Minor League camp.

Lawlar, the club’s top prospect, said he is “pretty much” a full-go at this point and will “definitely” be ready to start the Minor League season on time. Lawlar injured his left (non-throwing) shoulder after two games with the organization’s Arizona Complex League team last summer and had to undergo surgery.

It was initially believed that Lawlar injured the shoulder while diving for a ball at short, but he said last week that it may have actually happened before that on a swing. — Steve Gilbert

Kennedy focused despite Rule 5 eligibility (Feb. 28)
Third baseman Buddy Kennedy is one of the players in D-backs Minor League camp that is eligible to be selected in the Rule 5 Draft. The draft is typically held in December at the Winter Meetings, but has been delayed by the current work stoppage.

That means Kennedy could still be selected by another organization if/when the Rule 5 Draft does happen. It’s a unique situation, and Kennedy is doing his best not to think about it as he focuses on getting ready for the 2022 Minor League season.

“I mean it’s kind of obviously up in the air because of the lockout, but I just do what I have to do every day and just try not to think about it,” Kennedy said. “Just focus on baseball, defense, at-bats, and do what I can to help and just get ready for the season.”

Kennedy had a combined slash line of .290/.384/.523 between High-A Hillsboro and Double-A Amarillo last season. He posted a .728 OPS in the Arizona Fall League last fall. — Steve Gilbert

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