Morimando a model of consistency for Captains
Shawn Morimando has remained the model of consistency in the ever-shifting Lake County starting rotation this season. The pitching staff has seen various players converted from relievers, sent to the bullpen, called up, or sent down, but Morimando has been one Captain to answer the bell every fifth day for manager Dave Wallace.
The 5’11”, 170 pound left-hander has made 17 starts this year for Lake County, posting a 5-3 record with a 3.52 ERA and 1.31 WHIP over the course of 87 innings pitched.
Morimando, who will not turn 20 until November 20th later this year, was drafted by the Indians in the 19th round of the 2011 Draft out of Ocean Lakes High School in Virginia. He was committed to East Carolina, but instead decided to seize the opportunity to play professional ball.
“It was a personal choice,” said Morimando. “I have always dreamed of being a professional baseball player. I don’t know the future or what lies ahead of me so I wanted to take the opportunity when I could. Not everybody gets a chance to play professional ball and I was so happy and blessed when the Indians drafted me.”
Although the Virginia Beach, VA native did make three appearances for the AZL Indians in 2011, this year represents his first full year of professional ball.
“It was an adjustment process,” said Morimando of the shift from high school to the pros.
However, the left-hander did pitch in a five-man rotation while at Ocean Lakes High School, making the transition a bit smoother.
“I think the hardest part for me was…working out on the off-days and maintaining the throwing program," said Morimando. "You just want to take care of everything you have to do. I am learning about nutrition and trying to stay healthy and keeping a good mindset for when I come out to play.”
The change from high school to professional baseball has not only come off the field when Morimando is not toeing the rubber, but also between the white lines.
“I am learning how to attack hitters, what counts are fastball counts, and when is a good time to throw the breaking ball,” said Morimando. “I really make sure that my fastball stays low in the zone so I don’t get hurt.”
The ability to keep his fastball down in the strike zone has been a large benefit to Morimando this season, helping him limit opposing hitters to a .238 batting average on the campaign.
Morimando has gained confidence with each outing this season, which includes a complete game on July 1st against the Fort Wayne TinCaps, a remarkable feat given the 70-75 pitch count that Captains’ pitchers have to maintain.
“I have to stay confident in my ability and stay confident in every pitch I throw,” said Morimando of moving forward this season. “As long as I go out there and stay confident in my ability to pitch and hit my spots and work hard, I think the results will come as long as I keep making sure I take care of the little things.”
That confidence has translated to consistency for the left-hander, who has gone 4-2 with a 3.11 ERA in his last ten starts, tossing at least five innings in nearly every appearance.
“I try to stay consistent and attack hitters to get outs early,” said Morimando of his plan on the mound.
Morimando has not given up any more than four runs in any of his last ten starts, a large factor in why Wallace continues to give the left-hander the ball every five days.
“It has helped me a lot,” said Morimando on pitching every fifth day. “I try to be as consistent as I can with each start I have. I really try to give them a good effort on my part and give them a chance to win so when the bullpen comes in they can have the chance to close it out.”
As Morimando continues to impress on the field, he has also spent time off the field gathering knowledge that he hopes will propel him closer to one day achieving his dream of being a Major Leaguer.
“I have learned how to handle myself as a professional baseball player,” said Morimando. “I have learned how to go about my business, about pitching, and how to use my pitches in what counts.[I have learned] how important it is to hit my spots and have really good command. Overall, everything adds up to one day being a Major Leaguer.”
Morimando has his sights set on the Major Leagues and the hope of playing for the Indians someday, an organization with which he could not be happier. However, in the meantime, he believes that he can continue to contribute to the Captains’ late season playoff push this year.
“I would say to just continue being consistent and strong to help the team win,” said Morimando of his season goals. “We want to make the playoffs and I think we can make the playoffs. I want to keep pitching well and every night I have the ball I am excited to give the team a chance to win and keep [us] in the ballgame.”
If Morimando continues to throw the ball with consistency as he has all year, he will certainly move closer to achieving his goal of one day donning an Indians uniform.
For now, he will continue to get the ball every fifth day for Lake County and, if the rest of the season is any indication, Morimando will certainly do his part in giving the Captains a chance to win every game he toes the rubber.