San Diego selected Lawson 71st overall in the 2016 Draft as a rangy, projectable high schooler. He has continued to fill out and add to a physical 6’4” frame, now weighing in at 205 pounds. Still wiry, Lawson will keep adding stuff and repeat his delivery better as he grows into his body.
I saw his first start of the year, where he showed a plus fastball that sat 93-to-95 mph and touched as high as 97 with tailing action. He creates steep downhill plane and gets quality extension, allowing him to pitch up in the zone with success. It is easy to project up on his future control and command, and at maturity Lawson’s fastball looks like a double-plus out pitch. His go-to secondary is a mid-70s curveball that flashes swing-and-miss action at best with 12-6 shape. The breaker is more a chase pitch now, but he has a feel for it and will be more effective with his curve once he’s able to land it for early-count strikes. Like many young pitchers with a power fastball/curveball mix, Lawson’s changeup is behind his primary two pitches. Even so, he’s able to fade the ball at times, and with 86-to-87 mph velo, there’s plenty of separation off his fastball.
A physical athlete with premium velocity and plus feel to spin the ball, Lawson has all the ingredients you look for in a big league pitching prospect. He’s definitely raw in terms of his ability to show three pitches and command the ball, but I’m willing to project aggressively given the frame and excellent mound presence that he possesses. If he can develop more of a well-rounded feel to pitch, the ceiling is a #3 starter. His two-pitch mix is tempting in the bullpen, and he could be a high-leverage reliever if it doesn’t click as a starter.