In a five-day tournament that saw 167 players from across the country match-up with and against each other in front of scouts, fans, and family, Brendan Lawson was one of the players that many were keeping an eye on.
Lawson, a Toronto-born shortstop, has been recognized as one of the top Canadian draft prospects for 2024.
The 17-year-old ranks No. 1 on the Canadian Baseball Network’s Canadian Draft Prospects list for next year.
With the Blue Jays Canadian Futures Showcase wrapping up this past week at the Rogers Centre, Lawson had a chance to do something he didn’t get to the year prior. In 2022, he was selected as one of the prospects to appear in the event but, after running the 60-yard dash on the first day in Ottawa, had to withdraw with an injury.
This time he played in four tournament games, and was selected for the home run derby and the all-star Prospects Game.
His face was gleaming once he completed his first game on Wednesday with Team Royal, a team that went 2-1-1 overall.
“I was sad I didn’t get to see it through last year, but now that it’s in the Rogers Centre it means even more.” said Lawson, after a 6-3 victory on Wednesday afternoon.
While the 17-year-old has already committed to playing at the University of Florida, he hasn’t stopped showing up at various events to continue to grow his still blossoming game. Since re-classifying his draft class to 2024 after being draft eligible in 2023, Lawson competed at the Dick’s Sporting Goods All-American Classic in Arizona.
Patrick Griffin, an Area Scout for Canada with the Toronto Blue Jays, had nothing but high praises for Lawson’s talent.
“He had a natural feel to hit … does some special things on the field, plays good defence … he checks a lot of boxes, plays the game hard and the right way.” said Griffin during the Tuesday players combine at the Rogers Centre.
“Physically, he’s big and strong. He kind of looks like how a modern-day shortstop does in the league.
Griffin wanted to emphasize Lawson’s off-field persona just as much as his on-field presence.
“People look up to him because of the skills he has and the way he plays on the field. A kid like that, people are just drawn to him … he’s a thoughtful guy.”
Nothing showed this more than Lawson’s reflection on what he would take away from his week after his appearance in the All-Star prospect game to close out the tournament.
“Learning from failure … I could have been more aggressive or maybe more passive in certain situations,” said Lawson. “Some of it is just how the game goes.”
Lawson did have an up-and-down week in his nine plate appearances during the four tournament games. He had two hits, two RBI, a run, and was walked three times, while also striking out three times.
When asked about what his next steps are on route to Florida, he took time to think and responded with maturity.
“There are things I want to work on. Just trying to stay resilient and coming back every single day with that same attitude and approach.
“Growing, as a player and as a person … trying to get stronger and mature in my approach.”
Griffin thinks that Lawson’s maturity will only continue to grow as his game develops.
“As a teenager matures and develops as a person, those leadership traits will keep growing … as he (Lawson) becomes a young man, those leadership skills that he has already will keep building.”