Pitchers who drop their arm slots to more of a sidearm delivery typically don't throw harder upon making that mechanical shift. But that's exactly what's happened with Lawrence, who struggled to get mound time at Jacksonville as a "traditional" pitcher, then dropped down and found some success after transferring to Daytona State College, a junior college in Florida. The Rockies took note and took him in the 12th round of the 2015 Draft. He shook off a slow start to his career and an injury in 2017 to pitch well enough in the California League and the Arizona Fall League in 2018 to earn a spot on the 40-man roster. He struggled through his 2019 season and then was suspended for 80 games to start the 2020 season after testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug.
Lawrence continued to throw harder as he progressed through the Rockies system. He's now 97-100 mph with his fastball, routinely hitting triple digits during his AFL stint, coming from a very low three-quarters to sidearm slot. At times, there's some serious sink that elicits a ton of groundball outs. He's already a very uncomfortable at-bat for any right-handed hitter and he's working on tightening up his slider to be a better all-around reliever.
With his delivery and arm slot, it's tough for Lawrence to remain consistent in his mechanics, leading to some issues with command. He focused on that during his AFL stint and the Rockies think it will continue to improve with more reps, with the chance for Lawrence to be a back-end bullpen guy in the big leagues, though he'll have to prove himself again after he returns from suspension.
Colorado Rockies placed RHP Justin Lawrence on the restricted list.
Colorado Rockies recalled RHP Justin Lawrence from Hartford Yard Goats.
RHP Justin Lawrence assigned to Hartford Yard Goats from Albuquerque Isotopes.
Albuquerque Isotopes placed RHP Justin Lawrence on the 7-day injured list retroactive to April 29, 2019.
RHP Justin Lawrence assigned to Albuquerque Isotopes from Hartford Yard Goats.
Colorado Rockies optioned RHP Justin Lawrence to Hartford Yard Goats.
Colorado Rockies selected the contract of Justin Lawrence from Lancaster JetHawks.
RHP Justin Lawrence assigned to Lancaster JetHawks from Asheville Tourists.
Asheville Tourists activated RHP Justin Lawrence from the 7-day disabled list.
Asheville Tourists placed RHP Justin Lawrence on the 7-day disabled list.
RHP Justin Lawrence assigned to Asheville Tourists from Boise Hawks.
RHP Justin Lawrence assigned to Boise Hawks from Asheville Tourists.
RHP Justin Lawrence assigned to Asheville Tourists from Grand Junction Rockies.
RHP Justin Lawrence assigned to Grand Junction Rockies from Boise Hawks.
RHP Justin Lawrence assigned to Boise Hawks.
Colorado Rockies signed RHP Justin Lawrence.