Though the Indians haven’t seen consistent production from their rotation so far in 2014, impressive seasons from several of the Tribe’s minor league starters have gone under the radar.
One such season has been that of left-hander Shawn Morimando.
A 19th-round pick of the Indians back in 2011, Morimando is currently part of an impressive rotation for the Class A-Advanced Carolina Mudcats. Carolina’s starting rotation also includes Adam Plutko — the Indians’ 20th-ranked prospect, according to MLB.com — and Ryan Merritt, who started the Carolina League’s All-Star Game.
While Morimando doesn’t have the pedigree of Plutko or the eye-popping numbers of Merritt (who is 8-2 with a 1.58 ERA and a 4.06 K/BB ratio in 14 starts for Carolina), he’s been terrific in 2014.
The 21-year old southpaw is currently 7-2 with an ERA of exactly 3.00 for the Mudcats, striking out 6.4 batters and walking 3.3 batters per 9 innings. He’s only allowed 56 hits in his 81 innings pitched at Carolina, which has helped result in an incredibly low WHIP of 1.06.
He also made a spot start for Double-A Akron earlier this season, earning the win after pitching 6 scoreless innings against the Harrisburg Senators. He allowed only 5 hits, 1 walk, and he struck out 6 batters. Of the 89 pitches he threw, 61 were strikes.
And let’s not forget about the pretty awesome facial hair that he has.
Despite his size (5’11″ and 195 pounds), Morimando has had plenty of success so far in 2014. But while his season stats look solid enough on their own, he’s been absolutely tearing it up lately.
Morimando has been terrific all season, but he’s been absolutely dominant recently. With the way he’s been pitching, another promotion to Akron could be coming soon. But he’ll face competition from others, namely Merritt, if that were to happen.
However, the Indians reportedly want Merritt to gain strength before promoting him, and Morimando has the advantage of already pitching well in his brief time with the RubberDucks.
In fact, he’s already gained the attention of Cleveland’s Vice President of Player Development Ross Atkins, who said the following about Morimando to the Plain Dealer:
Shawn has done everything we’ve asked of him. Overall, he’s shown the focus and intensity in his work and improvement to warrant the spot-start opportunity in Akron in which he was outstanding. He was comfortable on the mound and aggressively attacked hitters. He showed excellent tempo, worked fast, stayed within his delivery and pitched ahead with a solid four-pitch mix featuring an above average fastball.
It’s no secret that the Indians don’t have a lot of quality left-handed pitchers in their organization, but Morimando and Merritt (also a lefty) have shown plenty of promise this season.
With the improvements he’s made this season, a major league opportunity for Morimando certainly seems like a possibility in the future.