Mudcats Notebook: Morimando is showing a lot of progress
A rough stretch of the season for the Carolina Mudcats continued for another week as the team went just 2-5 on the week.
The Mudcats finished off a series with the Wilmington Blue Rocks by losing the first two before taking the finale at home. Carolina then traveled to Myrtle Beach for the first time in 2014 and lost three of four. The Winston Salem Dash came to Zebulon for the first series between the teams this season to end the week and took game one from the Mudcats.
This week the Mudcats conclude their series against the Dash at Five County Stadium and immediately travel to Winston Salem in a return series. To close out the week, the Potomac Nationals come to Zebulon.
There are now two weeks left before the All-Star Break and the Mudcats have been eliminated from contention for the first half championship. The All-Star Game will be June 17th as representatives from the California League travel to Wilmington, Delaware to take on representatives from the Carolina League.
Player Spotlight: Shawn Morimando
After being with the Carolina Mudcats in 2013, left-hander Shawn Morimando has blossomed into a strong contender for a promotion to Double-A Akron this season.
After going 8-13 in 2013, Morimando is on a nearly identical pace for his statistical categories except for the big one: wins.
The Virginia Beach native is 5-2 with the Mudcats this season and has a 3.73 ERA over 10 starts. His five wins rank one behind teammate Ryan Merritt for the team lead and is good enough to be tied for second in the Carolina League.
Over his season and a half with the Mudcats, Morimando has learned some important things in order to be the kind of pitcher many people in the Indians organization think he can.
“Slow the pace down and do my thing out there,” Morimando said. “When things aren’t going your way, it’s like a domino effect.”
Many people would have been discouraged to be asked to repeat a level of the minor leagues; however, Morimando, just 21-years-old, has shown maturity beyond his years this season.
“I’m glad I could come back here and learn how to do all the little things right,” Morimando said.
Though he has shown great improvements this season, Morimando admits he still has a lot to learn and work on before he will be happy with his performances.
One of those things is consistency, something Morimando struggled with during the 2013 campaign, but has seemed to show more of this season.
“As a starting pitcher with four pitches you can throw for strikes any time you want and attack hitters in different ways, I’ve just been working on being consistent every time,” Morimando explained.
Morimando was called up to Akron for a spot start on May 30th. In six innings of work, he scattered six hits and did not allow a run.
Since then, Morimando has been sent back to the Mudcats.
When explaining his approach on the mound, Morimando said he’s learned that keeping it simple and having a short term memory are both keys to success.
“I go out there one pitch at a time,” Morimando said. “I don’t look at what happened in the last few innings or the last few starts. I just focus on that one pitch.”
With any luck, the next pitch Morimando has to focus on will be for Akron.
Player of the Week
Cole Sulser (RHP): 2 GS, 1-1, 12.0 IP, 9 H, 5 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 16 K
After struggling to start the season by going 0-4, Sulser has begun to turn things around as of late. In his last three starts, Sulser is 2-1 with a 2.50 ERA in 18 innings pitched. Sulser has been the only Mudcats starter able to solve the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, as both of his season wins have come against the Carolina League leaders, while the rest of the staff is 0-6.
Alex Monsalve (C): 7-23, 1 2B, 1 R, 1 BB, 2 K
As the Mudcats continue to struggle to put runs on the board, Monsalve has continued a personal hot stretch. Though he is having no trouble getting on base, a lack of runners on in front of him and a lack of players behind him getting hits to move him has left his good stretch seem empty while he is having so much success at the plate.
Anthony Gallas (OF): 6-21, 4 R, 2 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 3 BB, 3 K, 1 SB
Gallas started the season off on fire and then went through a two week period where he seemed to be completely lost at the plate. This week was a different story as he collected six hits and stroked his 21st double of the season. Gallas also extended his team leading home run total to seven on the season. Though Gallas went three games without collecting a hit, he had multi-hit performances in his other three games this week, showing he is beginning to return to the level he was playing at to start the season.
Yhoxian Medina (INF): 6-24, 5 R, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 3 K
Medina has handled the bat well this season, batting .269 as a reserve. Also, his defense has been steadier than it has been in the last few weeks, thanks in large part to the return of shortstop Erik Gonzalez to his regular position. Medina seemed to score every time he got on base this week, using a combination of his speed and timely hitting from teammates to put runs on the board.
Adam Plutko (RHP): 2 GS, 1-1, 12 IP, 15 H, 7 ER, 2 BB, 7 K
Though his numbers might not look as pretty as some, Plutko has made a nice transition from Lake County to Carolina. In his first start, Plutko went six innings, giving up four runs on seven hits and picked up his first Carolina League victory. His numbers in his second start were similar (6 IP, 8 H, 3 ER), but Plutko was saddled with his first league loss. As he gains more traction at this level, Plutko has the stuff to be a dominant pitcher for the Mudcats.
On the Hook
Jerrud Sabourin (1B): 3-20, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 7 K
Sabourin will have one week where he looks very comfortable at the plate, and the next week he looks like a completely different player. If he could consistently have weeks where he looks comfortable at the plate he could find himself in Akron once again. If he continues on this pace, Sabourin could call Zebulon home for quite some time.
D.J. Brown (RHP): 1 GS, 1 ND, 5.2 IP, 7 H, 6 ER, 1 BB, 5 K
Brown has had a very successful season, though his record and numbers don’t necessarily make it seem that way. Still in the transition from reliever to starter, Brown had one of his worst starts, giving up six runs in less than six innings of work. Brown continues to show flashes of promise, but he needs to keep outings like this to a minimum in order to keep his spot in the rotation.
Clayton Cook (RHP): 2 G, 1.2 IP, 5 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 4 K
In two games this week, the Mudcats got two different Cook’s. Though he pitched a scoreless inning in his second outing, his first outing of the week was disastrous, as he allowed five runs in 0.2 innings. After loading the bases, Cook served Myrtle Beach third baseman Joey Gallo a perfect pitch to send over the outfield fence for a grand slam. This was easily Cook’s worst week since being brought back to the Mudcats.
Logan Vick (OF): 1-15, 1 R, 1 RBI, 3 BB, 10 K
Vick has not had a good season by any means, but this week ranks right at the bottom for him. After not playing for nearly a week, Vick was presumably rested and ready to compete. However, Vick collected only one hit this week and struck out in 10 of his 14 unsuccessful trips to the plate.
Fish Swimming Around
On Thursday, right hander Benny Suarez was promoted to Triple-A Columbus to fill a roster spot, and was sent back to the Mudcats on Sunday. Right handed pitcher Adam Plutko made his Mudcats debut this week on Friday night after being received earlier in the day from Lake County. Two staples of the Carolina pitching staff were also on the move this week as left hander Shawn Morimando was promoted to Double-A Akron for a spot start and sent back to Carolina despite a successful performance. Finally, closer Louis Head was promoted to Akron on Sunday.
Fish on the Line
No Mudcats players were added to or removed from the disabled list this week.
Zachary is a senior at NC State where he is majoring in communication-media, with minors in journalism and theatre. You can follow him on Twitter @RealZachFrancis.