The Brandon Lawson signing was first announced on Twitter by Lawson’s agent, Nello Gamberdino (who also represents Twins RHP prospect Louie Varland), on Thursday morning. Soon after, Darren Wolfson of KSTP quote-tweeted it with more information.
27-year-old Brandon Lawson spent the 2021 season in the Houston Astros system splitting time as a starter and reliever at their Double-A affiliate. In his 25 games, Lawson posted a 4.15 ERA, a .254 Opponent batting average, a 1.22 WHIP, and 75 strikeouts in 95 1/3 innings pitched (7.1 K/9). He also had a complete game shutout in one of his ten starts with Corpus Christi Hooks.
This winter, Lawson pitched in the Dominican Winter League with the Tigres del Licey. Lawson made three starts in the league and posted a 2.13 ERA and 4.3 K/9 in 12 2/3 innings pitched.
Lawson was originally drafted out of the University of South Florida in the 12th round (360th overall) of the 2016 draft by the Tampa Bay Rays. He was a teammate of shortstop Jermaine Palacios with fellow Twins minor-league signing Jake Faria.
In his first two minor league seasons, the Rays primarily developed him as a reliever and tested him as a starter during the 2018 minor league season. He went to the Arizona Fall League after that season, but the Rays released him soon after.
He began the 2019 season in the independent Atlantic League, but by late April, he was signed by the San Francisco Giants, Lawson became a full-time starter and spent the full season at Double-A. That was Lawson’s best professional season, by far. He posted a 3.70 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, 5.8 K per 9, and 83 strikeouts in 129 innings pitched.
Lawson stands 6-3 and just over 200 pounds. He is primarily a sinker ball pitcher and gets a ton of ground balls. His sinker sits between 91 and 93 mph. He also throws a four-seam fastball that comes in a little faster than the sinker. A five-pitch pitcher, Lawson also throws a low-80s changeup, a mid-80s slider, and a mid-70s curveball.
Lawson has yet to make his MLB debut or even pitch above Double-A. He could have the opportunity to pitch for the Twins this season. Whether it will be as a starter or reliever is yet to be determined, but even as MLB transactions are at a halt with the MLB lockout, the Twins are finding players to add to their pitching depth at St. Paul or Wichita that could potentially help the Major League roster in 2022.