--Daytona Beach, FL
Justin Lawrence made his MLB debut with the Colorado Rockies on Thursday, May 29th at Chase Field in Phoenix, AZ. Lawrence featured a 100 mph fastball and touched 101mph twice.
Lawrence, a Jacksonville, FL native, was drafted out of Daytona State College in the 12th round in 2015. He has spent 5 years in Minor League Baseball before his callup last week. He spent one season as a Falcon before signing a National Letter of Intent with Oklahoma State University but signed with the Rockies.
During his time at Daytona State College under former pitching coach Chris Reilly, now a scout with the Boston Red Sox, Lawrence improved greatly over his fall season. He started out in August throwing 85-87mph and by the end of October was topping at 97mph. In his debut with the Rockies he did not throw a fastball under 99mph.
Lawrence was not alone in Phoenix for his debut, he had a familiar face with him as he prepared to make his lifelong dream come true of being a MLB pitcher. His former teammate and catcher at Daytona State College, Kyle Cunningham, was his bullpen catcher that night and got to warm him up before he entered the game. Cunningham has served as the Colorado Rockies bullpen catcher for the last three seasons after playing in their minor league system for two seasons prior.