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2017 IBI Top 75 Prospects: #16 Shawn Morimando

The 2017 countdown continues with a left-handed pitcher who made his big league debut last season and is on the verge of helping the Indians either as a depth arm in the rotation or in the bullpen...

16. Shawn Morimando – Left-handed Pitcher

Born: 11/20/1992 - Height: 6’0” - Weight: 200 - Bats: Left - Throws: Left

Facts & Info: Morimando was selected in the 19th round of the 2011 Draft out of Ocean Lakes High School (VA). He had a commitment to play baseball and attend East Carolina University, but the Indians landed him just before the signing deadline with a $350,000 signing bonus. Even though he spent the last two months of the season at Triple-A Columbus, he ranked 9th in the Eastern League in wins (10) and he also finished 6th in the organization in ERA (3.25) and was 1st in wins (15).

Stuff: Morimando is a well put together pitcher with tons of athleticism, wide shoulders and a lot of strength packed into his short, compact frame. He shows a good four pitch mix that continues to incrementally improve in quality each season. His solid average fastball has come along since he was drafted as the velocity has improved from 87-90 MPH when he first stepped foot in the organization to where he is now routinely at 91-93 MPH and has topped out at 94 MPH. He shows an ability to locate his fastball to both sides of the plate and gets some good late life and movement with it down in the zone. He really has a lot of trust in his fastball and is not afraid to pitch inside with it to lefties and righties. His solid average slider is his best secondary offering and has a chance to be a plus offering and out pitch at the Major League level with how tough it is on lefties, the way he generates some good swing and miss with it and the good late break it gets. He mixes in a fringe average curveball that shows some good sweeping action and his command of it continues to improve to where it can become a solid average offering for him. He has a developing changeup that shows the ability to be average and can help him neutralize right-handed hitters, but it lacks consistency and he is still developing a feel for the command of it.

Delivery & Intangibles: Morimando has a good delivery with some clean, easy arm action and throws from a three-quarter arm slot. He has some deception to it where he hides the ball well which makes it tough for hitters to pick it up out of his hand and results in some late swings and weak contact. His exceptional athleticism allows him to make quick adjustments and also repeat his delivery well. He displays a mature approach with a good feel for what he is doing on the mound where he mixes speeds to keep hitters off balance, keeps his composure when things are not going well or he gets in a jam and does a nice job of limiting damage and hard contact. He has a lot of confidence on the mound and pitches with a lot of conviction where he goes right after hitters and is not afraid to pitch inside to them. He has proven to be a very durable starter during his six seasons in the minors as he has yet to miss a start in any season, and is just a horse who can log a lot of innings. That good fortune with his health is partly luck, but it is also because of his strong body and the hard work he has put into adding strength and flexibility each year. He is a relentless worker who spends a lot of time in the weight room and on his conditioning, and that has paid off for him up to this point by not only keeping him healthy but also strong through the course of a six month season. Not only is he a hard worker off the field, but he’s just as hard a worker on it, as when he pitches he gives everything he has on the mound.

Focus: Morimando has made a nice progression through the system since he was drafted and signed back in 2011. Each year he has continued to improve and last year was no exception as he really made some strides with his mental approach to pitching and improved his mechanics. What the Indians really liked was how he did a better job of stepping off the mound and regrouping himself when things started to get away from him. It is that advanced maturity, approach to pitching and improved mechanics which the Indians believe are some of the final ingredients for him to master to become a Major League option for them. Now, the Indians just want him to get a little better at challenging hitters in the zone and to not be afraid of contact as he sometimes can get caught up in trying to make the perfect pitch on the corners which either puts him behind in the count or lets hitters back in the count. They believe with a more aggressive approach to go after hitters that it will help reduce his walks a little, which in turn will allow him to more consistently pitch deeper into games and improve the overall quality of his stuff. He is starting to understand his delivery and what he needs to do with it to repeat it better, which will allow him to more consistently pound the bottom of the strike zone and be able to locate better to both sides of the plate. He has worked to use his lower half better and slowing down so he is not rushing and maintains a good tempo and rhythm to his delivery, and has worked to simplify things with a pitch-by-pitch approach and not getting caught up in his struggles. He will fall out of his delivery and approach every now and then, but he knows what he needs to do to get back to it and just learning to be more consistent with it is a big key for him to improve his command and repeating his delivery. The Indians would also like to see him tighten up his slider a little bit so it more consistently shows as above average.

Future: Morimando had another typical strong season last year and has continued to steadily push his way through the Indians system with a level by level approach each year and just perform and improve at each stop. Last season he opened the year with a return trip to Double-A Akron but didn’t let it impact his performance and actually earned a short call to Cleveland in July before going back to the minors where he was sent to Triple-A Columbus the rest of the year and pitched well. He’s just been a very good performer to date in his minor league career and has the goods to back it up as a potential Major League arm because of his solid stuff and abilities he possesses across the board. The Indians need starting pitching depth and he fits that need perfectly as he could be a good backend starter in the big leagues or depth starter for the next few years. He’s expected to return to Columbus to start the season and will be one of many options at the Indians disposal to consider if a starting pitching need arises. When he gets another opportunity in Cleveland will be dependent on how he is pitching, the length of the need and who else is pitching well at Columbus at the time. He was rushed into a big league opportunity last season simply because it was a unique situation where the Indians played a 19-inning extra inning game and didn’t have anyone else available to start and eat innings, but that experience of being in the big leagues and then going to Triple-A and performing well has more than solidified him as a Major League depth option for the 2017 season and beyond – and it is also quite possible that he could be someone the Indians look at to fill a need in the bullpen down the road.

Ranking History: #14 (2016), #16 (2015), #22 (2014), #38 (2013), #49 (2012)

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