The Braves recently signed Brian Lawrence to a minor league contract and assigned him to Richmond where they hope he can be the starting pitcher San Diego always hoped he would be. I was doing some digging on Mr. Lawrence and found out that he was on the same Independent League team as Ryan Drese, our last would-be starting pitching reclamation project. Perhaps when our scouts were keeping an eye on how Drese was doing, they noticed that Lawrence was doing a whole lot better.
So far in the season through 8 starts, Drese is 3-and-1 with a 4.06 ERA and a .297 opponents batting average. Lawrence, on the other hand, is doing a bit better at 2-and-2 with a 3.21 ERA and a .265 OBA. Lawrence was always a pretty good control pitcher and that is once again showing up in his work this year where he has issued just 9 walks in 47.2 innings pitched while striking out a respectable 32.
Lawrence was cut during spring training from Kansas City's squad after posting a 6.43 ERA in 7 innings spanning 3 appearances. During that time he walked 4 and struck out 7, but allowed 8 hits -- that's too many baserunners, even for Kansas City. We'll have to keep an eye out to see how League stats translate to triple-A.
Of course, maybe it wasn't Drese at all that the Braves were keeping tabs on. That very same Indy League team includes former Braves minor league reliever Buddy Hernandez (0-2, 5.60 ERA), who as recently as last year pitched for the Braves. Another Atlanta Braves connection includes Richard Lewis, a former infield draft pick of the Braves who was traded away as part of the Juan Cruz deal with the Cubs back in 2004.
Anyway, I'm sure there's a whole lot more interesting stuff we can talk about surrounding Brian Lawrence, but I'll spare you...