Cody Laweryson is ready to face the next level of challenges in his professional baseball career.

Laweryson, a former standout at Valley High School and the University of Maine who now pitches in the Minnesota Twins organization, was promoted on June 24 from the High-A Cedar Rapids Kernals to the Double-A Wichita Wind Surge of the Texas League.

Laweryson, 23, has already made an impact for Wichita. In nine appearances, he has a 3-0 record with a 0.44 ERA, striking out 22 batters in 20 2/3 innings of work. Laweryson, who has been used as a starter for most of his first two seasons in the minors, has been used mostly as a reliever this season.

“It’s been a pretty good half of the season so far,” said Laweryson, who was selected by the Twins in the 14th round of the 2019 MLB Draft. “The beginning started off a little bit rough, but I’ve kind of turned things around, gained some confidence. The biggest thing for me was just getting ahead of hitters, just trying my best to attack and that’s what has led me to where I am now.”

Pitching out of the bullpen is not an unfamiliar spot for Laweryson, serving in the same role his first two seasons in Orono before eventually becoming a starter. A large presence on the mound at 6-4 and 205 pounds., Laweryson uses a fastball that sits between 90-94 miles per hour, a slider and a changeup in his arsenal.

“As a starter, I have to mix it up, not throw as many fastballs early on in the game or the second time around through the (batting) order,” Laweryson said. “I kind of didn’t have as much success when I wasn’t throwing as many fastballs. When I got moved to the pen, I was able to go to my best stuff all the time, because I’m usually not going to see the same guy twice. It’s harder for (batters) to adjust to me than it is for me to adjust to them, just for one at-bat.”


Wichita pitching coach Peter Larson, who spent time in the collegiate ranks at Fordham University, the University of Albany and Siena College before joining the Twins organization, had seen Laweryson pitch previously at UMaine and has been impressed with the strides he’s made as a professional.

“He’s got a very deceptive delivery, he hides the ball really well,” Larson said. “Hitters do not pick up on his fastball, and that’s been his biggest weapon, especially since getting up to Double-A and even early on in the year in High-A. He gets a ton of swing and miss on that pitch. We’ve been working on his changeup and slider so he can build his arsenal of weapons. But his fastball has been really good. He can fill multiple roles for us. He’s been a spot starter, he’s been great out of the pen for two or three innings. I know he’s closed before, so he’s kind of that Swiss Army knife. He doesn’t walk many guys, he keeps the ball in the ballpark. It’s about all you can ask for. He’s been a great addition.”

Cody Laweryson, pitching for the Elizabethton Twins during a Rookie Advanced game in 2019, has had a standout season in 2022, first with the High-A Cedar Rapids Kernals, and now with the Double-A Wichita Wind Surge. Contributed photo by the Elizabethton Twins

Laweryson was dominant in the first half of the season with the Kernals, with a 1-0 record and 2.57 ERA in 16 appearances. He struck out 42 batters in 35 innings of work, issuing just 12 walks. In his minor league career, which has spanned 2 1/2 seasons (and a missed 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic), he has a 7-6 record, a 2.86 ERA and 200 strikeouts in 160 1/3 innings.

Though he’s early in his Double-A tenure, Laweryson said he’s already noticed a difference in competition.

“This has been a huge jump,” Laweryson said. “A lot of minor leaguers will tell you that the jump from High-A to Double-A is the biggest jump that you’re going to have to make. There’s a ton of talent here… For me, if you fall behind (in a count), guys are going to usually get you if you have to throw a fastball in the (strike) zone, as opposed to getting ahead, and then (the pitcher) is in the driver’s seat. You have to pretty much always be in the driver’s seat or they’re going to make you pay.”

One of Laweryson’s biggest professional moments, thus far, may have come on March 31, during spring training in Fort Meyers, Florida. With just a day’s notice, he got to pitch for the Twins against the Boston Red Sox. Laweryson pitched the eighth inning, allowing a run on three hits, facing Travis Shaw and Alex Verdugo during the outing.

“(The thought process) was definitely just go out and try not to do too much, don’t try to be someone that you’re not,” Laweryson said. “I tried not to look at the guys who entered the (batter’s) box. I faced guys like Travis Shaw, Alex Verdugo. Those are really good hitters that I watched growing up. I didn’t attack them any differently than I would a minor league guy. But it was definitely a different experience just to be able to face them.”

Larson said with Laweryson’s experience both as a starter and now as a reliever and his ability can help him continue to move through the minor league system.

“I think there’s value across baseball in filling multiple roles,” Larson said. “If he trends and eventually gets to the big leagues and they want him to throw out of the pen, it wouldn’t be the first time. He’s created a different routine out of the pen. He knows he can start, he knows what that routine needs to look like. Giving him exposure to different roles is extremely valuable, especially here in the minor leagues.”

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