This was an interesting season for the St. Lucie Mets. In the first half they finished in second place, eight games out of first and missed making the playoffs. In the second half, they fought and nearly pulled off a miracle at the end before running out of time. It was a very good season for a team with some talented hitters.
One of those hitters, outfielder Dustin Lawley, put up impressive numbers. He was awarded with the 2013 Florida State League Player of the Year honors. Dustin has been consistent with his bat while in pro ball, but in 2013 he was on another planet. He led the league with 25 home runs and 240 total bases. He was second with 92 runs batted in, tied for third with 33 doubles, and placed in the top ten with 69 runs scored and 122 hits. Dustin had a .825 OBP, .512 SLG and showed his durability by playing in 122 of St. Lucie’s 131 games this past season. He definitely would have been my pick for player of the year.
Since 2011, Dustin has gradually made his way through the Mets farm system. After college, he arrived in Kingsport. In 57 games, he batted .284 with 9 home runs and 43 runs batted in. He was promoted to Savannah towards the end of the 2011 season and remained with the Sand Gnats for all of 2012. That season, Dustin batted .261, with 77 runs scored, 35 doubles, 14 home runs and 66 runs batted in. He earned a promotion to St Lucie in 2013 where he put up his monster numbers. For his hard work, he then earned another promotion at the end of the season to Las Vegas and participated in the PCL playoffs. Even though the 51′s did not win the championship, it was a step in the right direction for Dustin.
Now in Triple A, he hopes to continue with the same success that he has experienced thus far. In Dustin, the Mets have another young talented outfielder in an organization that surely will benefit from having a power threat within the outfield core of players. If Dustin continues his rise to the top, he should make his major league debut very soon.
David – In 2011, you were a part of the University of West Florida baseball team that won their first-ever D-II National Championship, can you describe the feeling of playing in the biggest game in your school’s history and actually winning it?
Dustin - Yea, it was very exciting playing for their first National Championship in baseball; no other team has gone that far and did what we did. But very exciting.
David – On the day that you were drafted by the Mets in 2011, where were you when you received the news? Can you describe what was going through your mind and who was the first person you called?
Dustin – I was at my house and my mom called my dad, I was just very excited to get an opportunity. That’s all I wanted.
David – I read that you would like to coach after your playing days are over, what area of coaching interests you and would you like to become a manager some day?
Dustin - I would like to coach one day and to be a manager if I could.
David – What did it mean to you to win the 2013 Florida State League Player of the Year Award ?
Dustin – Winning the Florida State Player of the Year was a big honor for me, I really work hard and when you get a reward, it shows it pays off.
David – Is there a Mets manager or coach who has made an impact in your approach to the game and helped elevate your performance?
Dustin – All the managers and coaches have helped me in different ways.
David – Which part of your game do you think improved the most from 2012?
Dustin – I think I improved on all of my game that’s what I try to do every year is improve on every aspect of my game, that I’m never good enough.
David - What was the biggest difference you felt jumping from St. Lucie straight to Las Vegas?
Dustin - Not really a big difference from jumping up to Vegas, baseball is the same game every where you go, some people just make it to be like that but it’s not.
David – In Game 3 of the playoffs with Las Vegas, and the team down 2 games to 0, you had a key home run to tie the game; how did it feel to produce when the team needed a big boost?
Dustin – It felt good but I was just going out there and trying to do my job and help the team out.
David – What do you specifically need to work on as a player, and improve upon, in order to be ready to compete on the big stage?
Dustin - I always think I need to improve on everything.
David - Who should Mets fans be most excited about seeing in the future?
Dustin - I hope the Mets fan are excited to see me.
David - How will you prepare over the winter, can you describe your workout regimen?
Dustin - Stay in the weight room and try to get stronger.
Thank you to Dustin Lawley for taking time to answer questions for me and the Mets fans. Its great when you see young ball players doing what is necessary to achieve the success in the game. Dustin has a great opportunity to do some great things in baseball, and all he needs is the chance to prove it. So far that is all he has been doing, and I wish him luck on his journey. Looking forward to watching him make an impact in 2014.