Talking his injury-marred 2019 season, the death of Kobe Bryant and an improved changeup with San Diego Padres’ right-handed pitcher Reggie Lawson.
You can easily get lost in the system if you are a San Diego Padres prospect.
Especially on the pitching side of the ball, the Padres are loaded with multiple players who could easily contribute at the major league level one day.
Reggie Lawson is known, but when discussing pitchers in the system, MacKenzie Gore and Luis Patino are who everyone wants to talk about this spring. Beyond those two pitchers, the Padres have several who could emerge in time. Lawson is easily in this second tier of prospects within the system. Some even argue that he can be as valuable as Patino or Gore when it is all said and done.
For the Victorville native, health is the primary concern. The golden-smile of Lawson is something to witness firsthand as his first words were regarding his health. “I feel amazing. Strong,” Lawson said confidently. “I am very excited. I just want to go out there and compete and be healthy.”
The 2019 season ended up being a trying time for the pitcher. Elbow issues resulted in a massive decision for Lawson and his family as Tommy John surgery was an option for the pitcher. He decided to undergo PPR injections (Platelet-Rich Plasma) instead, and the response from the treatment has been fantastic.
Lawson displayed plus velocity this past winter int he Arizona Fall League, where he posted a 0.82 ERA and a 0.455 WHIP in 11 innings pitched for the Javelinas. At the Don Welke Classic, he was terrific, showing an improved curve and a plus changeup to go with the mid 90’s velocity on the fastball.
The effort to recover from injury and be productive is no coincidence for the California native. While speaking to the prospects within the system, Lawson is very well-respected for his work ethic. Time and time again, players will educate me on how hard he works. Lawson’s reputation is real, but how did he earn it? “It really came from working and getting it done,” Lawson said. “I feel like I need to do something every day. If I don’t do something in the gym or with my body- I feel like I didn’t accomplish anything I wanted to do with my day. It is all second nature to me. I don’t even think I am doing it.”
Saying this and doing are two different things, and Lawson tells me where he gathers motivation. “I look at people like Kobe Bryant, Marcus Stroman, and Lebron James and how they go about there business. I live by the Mamba Mentality now,” Lawson said. The Kobe Bryant death was tough for the pitcher who admired the basketball player greatly. Kobe’s way of conducting himself was influential for many people around the world.
In speaking about the repertoire of Lawson, the right-handed discussed the future of his slider and the fact he may scrap the pitch. “I might. I just want to make sure everything is alright with my elbow. I feel like throwing too many changeups, and too many sliders was putting too much stress on the elbow,” Lawson said. The slider and the strain it puts on his elbow have troubled the pitcher in the past. It is a little early, but he could remove the pitch all together from his bag of tricks.
Lawson provides information on what he is working on presently to counteract the loss of the slider. “I am working on tightening up my curveball,” Lawson said. The pitch is coming around for the Padres’ minor leaguer as he reports some progression with spin and consistency. The right-handed pitcher is flashing a plus changeup that can possibly be a productive pitch one day. Trevor Hoffman has worked with Lawson in the past and is still working with the pitcher from time to time. “I still talk to Hoffy about it, but I am developing my own. I am really loving the changeup,” Lawson said. “The change is a really good pitch for me right now. It took a while to get the feel. I had one in high school, but I really didn’t have to throw it. The pitch has come a long way for me.”
There is much to learn for Reggie Lawson, but he is not opposed to putting in the work. In time, and with a little luck this right-handed pitcher could very easily thrust his name into contention for a spot on the San Digo Padres’ pitching staff.