Delone Catholic grad, who was slated to pitch for Revs, has his contract purchased by Jays

STEVE HEISER
717-505-5446/@ydsports
Casey Lawrence

Delone Catholic High School graduate Casey Lawrence won't be a member of the York Revolution pitching staff after all.

The right-hander's contract has been purchased by the Toronto Blue Jays, according to a news release issued by the Revs.

The former major leaguer had signed with York in late March. He becomes the first member of the 2021 Revs to land a contract with a big-league organization.

“We’re really excited for Casey,” Revs manager Mark Mason said in the news release. “We were excited to potentially have him here, and I know he was looking forward to playing in front of the home crowd, but this is an outstanding opportunity for him to hopefully get back to the major leagues.”

Lawrence had been expected to join the front end of the Revs' starting rotation, coming to York from nearby McSherrystown, in Adams County. The 33-year-old enters his 11th season of pro baseball and is coming off a 2020 season that saw him sign minor league deals twice with the Minnesota Twins, spending time at Minnesota’s alternate site.

He did not see any innigs pitched in 2020 because the minor-league season was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The 6-foot-2 hurler most recently spent 2019 playing overseas in Japan with the Hiroshima Toyo Carp where he posted four wins, a 4.80 ERA, and 76 strikeouts in 110 2/3 innings.

Lawrence started pro career as a Jay: Lawrence is quite familiar with the Blue Jays organization. He was originally signed as an undrafted free agent out of Albright College in Reading by Toronto in 2010.

Lawrence impressed in his first pro season, posting a 7-2 record with a 2.33 ERA in 16 games (13 starts) between Short Season-A Auburn and Single-A Lansing. He quickly rose through the Jays minor league ranks, reaching Triple-A Buffalo by 2013. In 2015, Lawrence set the all-time wins record for the Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats franchise with his 20th, a record that he still holds at 24 victories, including a 12-win showing that season.

Getting called up to the big leagues: On April 8, 2017, Lawrence received his first major league call up and debuted in extra innings against the Tampa Bay Rays.

A month later, the Seattle Mariners claimed Lawrence off waivers, and he quickly put himself in the Mariners’ record books. On June 1, Lawrence set a Seattle record for most strikeouts in a relief appearance with nine in five innings against the Colorado Rockies. The Mariners retained Lawrence for the 2018 season, when he made the club’s opening-day roster.

In 38 MLB games, Lawrence is 3-3 with a 6.64 ERA and 66 strikeouts in 78 2/3 innings. Across nine seasons in the minor leagues, Lawrence is 73-69 with a 3.77 ERA and 766 strikeouts in 1,129 1/3 innings. That includes 15 wins and a 3.73 lifetime ERA at the Triple-A level.

Aiming to join an elite crowd: Lawrence will aim to become the 12th player in Revs history to go from York to the majors.

The Revs had three former pitchers in the big leagues in 2019 alone, when lefty Ryan Feierabend (2012) appeared twice for Toronto, right-hander Zac Grotz (2018) appeared in 14 games with Seattle and five more last season, and current Miami Marlin southpaw Ross Detwiler (2018-19) was a mainstay in the starting rotation for the Chicago White Sox.

Lawrence will try to join Feierabend and righty Shawn Hill (2012, 2015) as former Revs who have ascended to the big leagues with the Jays.

The Revs opens their 2021 season at home on May 28 against the High Point Rockers.

Reach Steve Heiser at sheiser@yorkdispatch.com. Information for this story was provided by the York Revolution.