Diamondbacks top prospect Jordan Lawlar out at least 2 months after right thumb surgery

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Jordan Lawlar, the Arizona Diamondbacks’ top prospect, will undergo right thumb surgery and be out for at least two months, according to the team’s director of player development Shaun Larkin.

Lawlar had already been optioned to minor-league camp when he suffered the injury to his right thumb, which occurred when he tried to pick up a ball with his throwing hand in a minor-league spring game, according to the Arizona Republic’s Nick Piecoro. The injury will keep Lawlar out 8 to 10 weeks, which means he probably won’t be an option for the Diamondbacks at the major-league level until at least midseason.

The No. 4 prospect in baseball according to The Athletic’s Keith Law, Lawlar made his major-league debut last season but struggled in limited playing time, collecting just four hits in 31 at-bats. He also struggled this spring at the plate, making it an easy decision for Arizona to option him to Triple A and leave incumbent starter Gerardo Perdomo at shortstop. Perdomo is also coming off a slow spring and he struggled at the plate during the second half of last season. Before the injury, Lawlar was just a hot streak in Triple A and a slow start from Perdomo away from a big-league return. The injury doesn’t change that dynamic much, but it pushes back the timing from early season to midseason.

This is the latest injury Lawlar has suffered since becoming the sixth pick in the 2021 draft out of a Dallas-area high school. The first came two games into his pro career, when he tore the labrum in his left shoulder on a swing. In 2022, he missed three weeks with an abnormal rib growth that was causing him back pain and then later fractured his scapula in the Arizona Fall League. Despite those injuries, he’s moved up the minor league ladder quickly, reaching the major leagues before his 22nd birthday.

Scouting report

Lawlar has great instincts on both sides of the ball and has now improved his footwork and his throwing to the point where he might be a 55 defender at short, and no worse than average. On offense, he’ll show plus bat speed and should get to 15-20 homer power at his peak, although the 20 homers he hit last year were inflated by playing in two insane hitters’ parks in Amarillo and Reno.

When he’s right, he’s very short to the ball but still makes solid contact because of that bat speed and wrist strength, with a swing path that will produce more low line drives than big flies. He’s an easy plus runner who’s a real base-stealing threat, with an 87 percent success rate in the minors.

My one concern is that he can come out of his swing at times, lunging and over-rotating to try to force power that isn’t there, which can lead to whiffs or just poor contact, like topping the ball right into the ground. As long as he stays back and sticks to what’s worked so well for him, he should be a star somewhere on the infield, even if he moves off short for a superior defender. — Keith Law, senior MLB writer

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(Photo: Christian Petersen / Getty Images)

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