However, injuries and a change in mechanics resulted in Lawson falling down many draft boards. Still, Preller and company liked him enough to not only draft him, but give him nearly a million dollars over slot.
Lawson was able to get into five games during the regular season with the AZL Padres. He allowed eight runs on 12 hits in 8.2 innings, walking three and striking out seven. Now healthy, Lawson was nice enough to talk to us before he took the mound in Petco for the prospect exhibition
MadFriars: What was it like to be drafted?
Reggie Lawson: It was a true dream come true. I worked my whole life to be here and it is just a surreal experience.
Coming from Inland Empire you might be one of the few people already adapted to the hot summers in Arizona. What was the transition like going from high school to professional baseball?
Reggie Lawson: There wasn’t much of a difference. A lot of people say the biggest difference is the speed of the game, but I think as a pitcher you determine the speed. It was a great experience though and I was committed to Arizona State anyway so I knew wherever I went I wasn’t going to get out of the heat.
You came into the season as one of the top prep pitchers in the game. I know this year was a tough year for you, can you take us through your year, what happened, and how are you doing now?
Reggie Lawson: Well at the beginning of the season I messed up my oblique which shut me down for awhile. It just took a lot longer to heal then I wanted to, but as the season progressed it got stronger and stronger. Then the Padres drafted me, took me through their offseason workouts, and now it is as strong as ever. Me, Mason [Thompson], and Dan [Dallas] were all in similar situations but able to do enough to get to compete in the AZL.
What about the reports about a change in your delivery?
Reggie Lawson: My oblique was messed up at the beginning of the season, and I wanted to pitch. I know I probably should have let it completely heal first, but I want to be out there and I am a competitor. If I am helping the team win, I would rather go out there at 90% and not be as effective then not play at all.
What was it like to finally get to go out on that mound in Peoria and pitch?
Reggie Lawson: It was the best thing ever. It felt like I was going out there and pitching against some of the best in the world. To be paid to do something that you love, it’s a dream come true. Its hard to explain it.
Have the coaches been delicate with how they handle your workload during fall instructs?
Reggie Lawson: No they have given me a clean bill of help, and I think I have pitched six times. The most recent time I got my fastball up to 97 on the gun, and I told myself “finally I am back.” Pitching at Petco is extra special because I get to wear SD on my chest.
Is there any particular pitch the Padres have been working with you on during instructs?
Reggie Lawson: Every pitcher has had a clinic on how to throw a changeup. Its definitely a pitch that when improved will just make me even better. Everything feeds off of my fastball though, and making sure that I was able to throw it for a strike was also something they really worked with me on.
Whats your favorite type of food?
Reggie Lawson: California burrito.