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Prospects On Deck: Exclusive Interview With Rays’ Brandon Lawson

Brandon Lawson

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As a young child, especially one that grows up playing sports, playing for your hometown team, in front of a hometown crowd is something that dreams are made of.

For right-handed pitcher Brandon Lawson that dream got a little bit closer as the Tampa Bay resident, who even spent his collegiate career in Tampa at the University of South Florida, was drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays this past June.

“It was awesome to be able to be drafted by my home town team. I will have the chance for a lot of family and friends to be able to come see me not far from home and hopefully I can make my dreams come true and make it to St. Pete in the majors for the Tampa Bay Rays.”

The twenty-one year old had a successful collegiate career at USF including this past season when he was serving up clutch performances on the mound for the Bulls. It was also around that time that he had an idea that a professional career might be the next step.

“My pre-draft experience was awesome. I got to go work out for four teams and it was a very memorable experience for me and my family. I worked out for the Miami Marlins, Tampa Bay Rays, New York Yankees and the New York Mets. After about a month into the college season this year, I could tell that my dreams were about to come true if I just kept working hard and controlling what I could control.”

As many would expect, there are always adjustments when making a transition to another level of play.

“The biggest adjustment I’ve had to make so far would be getting used to throwing 7 days a week and being at the baseball field from 1pm to 10pm everyday as well. It’s a grind out here.”

After signing with the Rays, Lawson was assigned to the Hudson Valley Renegades of the New York-Penn League, the rookie league affiliation for the Rays.

He has been solid with the Renegades earning a 4-1 record in ten relief appearances with a 2.37 ERA.

“It hasn’t been that hard of a transition yet, but I can’t get ahead of myself. I still have a lot to work on yet. But just being able to spot up my pitches and go in and out and mix speeds with the batters has led to my success thus far.”

It seems that Lawson is right on track both mentally and physically to make those hometown dreams come true.

Below are a few more questions that Brandon Lawson answered during our interview:

What age did you begin playing baseball?

“I started playing baseball at the age of 3.”

Did you play any other sport(s) growing up?

“I never really played any other sports besides baseball. I played a year of middle school basketball and 2 years of middle school golf and 2 years of high school golf.”

Who is/was your biggest baseball influence?

“My biggest baseball influence in my life would have to be my father and my older brother David. They pushed me and guided me in the right direction to make me into the baseball player I am today and have gotten me to where I am.”

Have you played any other positions other than pitcher?

“Growing up I played everywhere on the field. I played mainly shortstop and pitcher. As I grew older and bigger I moved to center field and first base in high school.” 

If you weren’t playing baseball what would you be doing? Other career aspirations/interests?

“Well in college, I majored in criminology, so I would probably be pursuing that dream as well or go into fire school possibly because I’ve always had that interest as well since my father was a fire fighter for 26 years.”

Do you have any pre-game rituals?

“My pre game rituals vary from game to game, whatever works for me for that game I will take into the next. If the game does not go so well, then I will change it up.”

Favorite off-season hobby or activity?

“My favorite off-season hobby would just have to be being outside fishing or adventuring or road tripping, but also just spending time with my friends and family.”

Which baseball team were you a fan of?

“I was a fan of the St. Louis Cardinals growing up because I am originally from there. But have been a fan of the Rays since moving to Florida, really like what their organization is about.”

If you could meet one person (alive or dead), who it would it be and why?

“If I could meet Greg Maddux and be able to talk to him about pitching and pick his mind then that is the person I would love to meet. He is one of the greatest minds in baseball.”

Favorite Food?

“Buffalo Chicken.”

It hasn’t been that long but, what do you miss most about the Tampa Bay area?

“I just miss my friends and family and going out to the beaches and fishing and the warm weather all the time.”


Bethany is a Graduate of the University of South Florida and currently resides in Tampa. She is a die-hard Yankees' fan and has been a freelance writer for six years. She has covered the Yankees' Minor League System since 2010 and also does freelance work for and CBS Local Tampa Bay. Follow her on Twitter @TampaBethany

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