By Jay Blue
Blue Jays from Away
Now that the season is over, the crew at Blue Jays from Away will take a look at the Blue Jays one by one and review how each player’s season went, whether he met expectations (or not) and look at how he fits into (what we think of) the Blue Jays’ plans going forward.
Re-signed on a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training, Casey Lawrence made the most of his opportunities in the spring, throwing 16 1/3 innings and impressing management with his sinking fastball that generated a ton of ground balls. He had a 3.86 ERA and 1.41 WHIP in seven appearances, walking seven (uncharacteristically high for Lawrence) and striking out 11.
John Gibbons commented during spring training that "He's really got our attention . . . The guys in the organization raved about him last year" after Lawrence made an adjustment to his mechanics that added several miles per hour on his fastball.
Despite his strong spring, Lawrence was expected to start the season opener in the minors with the triple-A Buffalo Bisons. The opener was pushed back because of weather twice and when that happened, Lawrence was scratched from the start with media in Buffalo wondering why. The answer was that he had been called up by the Blue Jays, making two appearances out of the bullpen on April 8 and April 9, giving up three runs in two innings, walking five batters and striking out just two.
Returned to Buffalo, Lawrence made two short starts (since he hadn't been working as a starter, his innings were managed carefully), striking out seven batters in five innings, giving up just one run on four hits without walking anyone.
Recalled to Toronto, he made two starts for the Blue Jays, pitching in Los Angeles and St. Louis but giving up 10 earned runs in 11 1/3 innings, walking six batters and striking out five while giving up two home runs in some un-Lawrence-like outings.
Lawrence went back to Buffalo where he threw five innings without giving up an earned run but the Blue Jays needed the 40-man roster spot and he was placed on waivers and claimed by the Seattle Mariners who optioned him to triple-A Tacoma.
Lawrence split the rest of the season between Tacoma and Seattle, getting 23 more big league appearances on his resume with mixed results. He worked exclusively out of the bullpen and had a 5.57 ERA and 1.67 WHIP, striking out over a batter per inning (45 in 42 innings) while walking 14, definitely showing another side of him with Seattle.
Lawrence was sent outright to the minors after the season and elected free agency, only to re-sign a minor-league deal with the Mariners, getting himself another invite to spring training.
Lawrence re-signed a minor league deal with the Seattle Mariners with an invitation to big league spring training.
2017 Regular Season Grades
Jay Blue: Incomplete
Emily: D- (Small Sample Size)
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The 2017 Toronto Blue Jays Minor League Handbook is now available! Visit the Handbook page for more information!