Jordan Lawlar kept a simple approach this summer. The extremely talented shortstop from Dallas Jesuit High School in Texas hoped to “hunt the fastball and be aggressive” at the plate, he said. He also wanted to remain relaxed and enjoy the moment, regardless of the event or the number of scouts in attendance.
That approach paid off for Lawlar. He shined on the showcase circuit this summer in all aspects of the game to cause talent evaluators to consider him the top prep player in the 2021 class. His success also caused Perfect Game to name him the Jackie Robinson Player of the Year.
Lawlar said his performance this summer didn’t surprise him. Instead, it gave him confidence and proved to him that he could compete against high-level talent.
“I think it was validation of the hard work I put in during quarantine,” Lawlar said. “It also was just a continuation of the high school season. I started hot, and then we got shut down.”
After his success this summer, professional scouts project Lawlar as the top prep player and an early candidate to be a top-five pick in the 2021 MLB draft.
Lawlar is a Vanderbilt commit, but it seems highly unlikely that the prep shortstop makes it to campus next fall due to his status as a draft prospect.
“It’s a great opportunity to even be on the boards or to have the opportunity to be drafted,” Lawlar said. “Mainly, it’s just focusing on the high school season. I am also big on school, so I am big on Vanderbilt and that opportunity.”
Lawlar is a five-tool shortstop who is 6-foot-2, 185 pounds. He’s added about 30 pounds to his frame since he started high school in 2017, including about 10 pounds over the last year when he focused exclusively on baseball, he said.
Lawlar currently is more of a gap-to-gap hitter than a power hitter. Although his power tool isn’t at the current level of his hit tool, pro scouts expect him to develop more into a power hitter as he matures physically.
The right-handed hitter has a quiet, compact swing that allows him to succeed against high-end pitching and consistently drive hard-hit balls to all parts of the field.
He is an above-average runner with a 60-yard dash clocked at 6.45 seconds. That speed will allow him to make an impact on the base pads and defensively at the pro level. Defensively, Lawlar is one of the best defensive shortstops in the 2021 class and should stick at shortstop long-term. He has a strong arm that is accurate and capable of making all the necessary throws from the shortstop position.
Pro scouts also rave about Lawlar’s makeup and attitude, making him a complete and highly intriguing prep player.
“Right now, I think my attitude towards the game is my biggest strength,” Lawlar said. “I am able to stay even-keeled and not let anything get too big or let anything affect me too much. I am able to stay mentally in the game.”
Lawlar grew up a Derek Jeter and New York Yankees fan. He hopes to play in the major leagues himself one day. To accomplish that goal, Lawlar plans on refining all of his skills this offseason in preparation for his senior season of high school baseball.
“I just want to keep working on everything I have been doing,” Lawlar said. “There are some specifics in there, but mainly I want to just improve my entire game. There are always things I can be better at, and I need to work on those things as it comes.”
Lawlar committed to Vanderbilt as a sophomore in 2019. He cited the university’s strong academics and the baseball program’s proven leadership and player development for reasons he committed to Vanderbilt. He is a strong high school student and admits academics are important to him.
Although it’s unlikely he plays collegiately, Lawlar remains focused on Vanderbilt until the draft process plays out entirely, he said. He will have to decide between college and pro ball after a major-league team drafts him next summer.
Lawlar is eager for his senior season of high school baseball, especially after his junior season didn’t transpire as he envisioned due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This summer’s performance is a “boost to the confidence” and drives him to duplicate the success he had his senior year, he said.
“It motivates me to work even harder to try to push the limits of what I already did and expand on what I’ve already done,” Lawlar said. “It’s a really big boost and motivation to keep working hard in the offseason. Hopefully, everything will turn out well in my last spring season.”
Read more stories on top 2021 MLB draft prospects here.
Dan Zielinski III has covered the MLB draft for six years. He’s interviewed 253 of the top draft prospects in that period, including three No. 1 overall picks. Multiple publications, including Baseball America, USA Today, MLB.com and The Arizona Republic, have quoted his work, while he’s appeared on radio stations as a “MLB draft expert.” Follow him on Twitter @DanZielinski3.