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Red Sox Top Prospect Voting: Mike Shawaryn looks to make the final jump up the ladder

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The former University of Maryland ace has one more step left in his development.

Mike Shawaryn
Kelly O’Connor; sittingstill.smugmug.com

After a brief move back to the position player side of things with our last vote, we move right back to the pitching prospects with the number ten guy on our community top prospects list. The halfway point of our list wasn’t a terribly contested one, as the winner had been getting a few votes here and there before finally taking the majority in this one. Votes were sort of spread out, but Mike Shawaryn wasn’t pushed much by anyone, receiving 18 of 40 votes (45 percent) to round out our top ten.

If you’ll recall, the Red Sox had to adjust their draft strategy on the fly back in 2016 when Jay Groome fell to them with the 12th overall pick. They ended up taking the high school arm, and then had to save a little money with their next few picks to afford the lefty. So, they went with college players with each of their next six picks. That included their fifth round selection, with which they took a right-handed pitcher out of the University of Marlyand named Mike Shawaryn. He wasn’t a huge name heading into the draft, particularly given his inconsistent college season that put a hit on his stock. As it turns out, the Red Sox would end up feeling pretty good about this pick as time went on.

As we know by now, the Red Sox generally don’t push recent draftees the first summer immediately after being drafted, and that’s particularly true for a college pitcher. There’s no point in overextending a kid and beginning their career with an injury. So, Shawaryn did make six starts in Lowell in 2016, but they were all short outings as he totaled 15 23 innings. He was solid in that small sample, striking out 22 batters while walking seven and pitching to a 2.87 ERA. Once the 2017 season opened up, though, the righty was really ready to shine and make his mark on the organization. He started his season in Greenville that year, making ten starts and posting a 3.88 ERA. That doesn’t seem great, but it’s not really indicative of how well he pitched. Over 53 13 innings of work, Shawaryn struck out a whopping 78 batters while walking only 13, and he earned himself a midseason promotion to Salem. At High-A, the control took a step back, but he continued to strike out more than a batter per inning while keeping an ERA in the high-3’s.

Although the run-based results weren’t anything to write home about, Shawaryn showed off intriguing stuff over 26 starts as a 22-year-old. In a system without much recent success in developing pitchers, he was an exciting name to follow heading into the 2018 season as he got promoted to the high minors. Although he looked like a different guy, the righty did not see his development stall out despite the promotion. In 19 starts with the SeaDogs he put up an impressive 3.28 ERA (likely helped by better defense than he’s ever played in front of). His strikeout rate came down considerably, but as a tradeoff he was much more consistent with his command, allowing fewer walks and less hard contact. Facing more advanced hitting also contributed to the strikeout dropoff, of course. Still, he was able to get the call to Pawtucket for the end of the season, though the home runs started to creep back in that 36-inning stint.

Still, all told, Shawaryn is two full seasons into his professional career, and while there isn’t huge upside here he is a guy who has had success at every level (albeit in different ways) and is on the cusp of the majors. In terms of his stuff, the righty works off his fastball, which sits in the low-90s but can get up to 94-95 at times. He also has a big slider that serves as the out pitch as well as a changeup that needs some work. Shawaryn has the build of a starting pitcher, though there is some concern that his delivery could cause a move to the bullpen. Ultimately, I think his best role would be as a multi-inning reliever or someone that can start a game and give four or five solid innings. His stuff plays up when he can let loose a little bit, but he also isn’t quite a late-inning arm you want throwing one inning at a time. The game is moving more and more towards arms like that, though, so while it’s not the sexiest profile it could provide underrated value in coming seasons.

The year ahead will tell us some about what the Red Sox think of the righty. He is currently in major-league camp and got the spring-opening start against Northeastern last Friday. Once the regular season hits, he’ll almost certainly be in Pawtucket’s rotation and should be their Opening Night starter. If he pitches well, though, he could serve as major-league depth and it will be interesting to see what kind of role they prepare him for. Starting depth is always more valuable, but Shawaryn himself is probably more likely to make an impact out of the bullpen. Either way, we should see him in the majors at some point in the coming season.

Here is our list so far:

  1. Michael Chavis
  2. Darwinzon Hernandez
  3. Triston Casas
  4. Bobby Dalbec
  5. Jay Groome
  6. Tanner Houck
  7. Durbin Feltman
  8. Bryan Mata
  9. Antoni Flores
  10. Mike Shawaryn

Now, you can head down into the comments and vote for the number eleven. As a reminder, to do this you go down below and find the comment from me corresponding with the player for whom you’d like to vote. When you find said player, just click the “rec” button, and that will count your vote. To do this, you will need to be logged in as a member of the site. If you’d like to vote for a player who is not listed, just leave a comment saying “Vote for ___ here” and I’ll rec the comment to count your vote. Until next time...