Mike Shawaryn Benefits From Rotation Routine

A less-than-dominant junior year at Maryland left righthander Mike Shawaryn on the board in the fifth round of the 2016 draft. That’s when the Red Sox pounced.

Boston believed he had more upside in his arsenal than he had shown as a junior because he was pitching to contact in order to work deeper in games.

One year earlier, Shawaryn looked like a potential early-round pick based on his standout sophomore year and solid showing for Team USA.

Shawaryn struggled in spring training, which convinced the Red Sox to let him gain comfort in a five-day routine at low Class A Greenville. His first start of the year was dismal. He yielded nine runs in just two innings.

Yet over his next seven starts, Shawaryn forged a 1.85 ERA with 56 strikeouts and seven walks in 39 innings. That run included a 12-strikeout game.

“He’s been getting progressively better and better,” Greenville manager Darren Fenster said.

While Shawaryn’s low-90s fastball isn’t overpowering, the 22-year-old has shown the ability to command it as a means of setting up a hard, mid- to high-80s slider that batters have chased out of the strike zone.

“The harder the better,” Shawaryn said of his slider.

He complements those primary weapons with a changeup that has elicited some swings and misses and an occasional cutter, though he acknowledged that the slider and cutter sometimes run together.

The Red Sox believe Shawaryn has a chance to develop as a starter given his pitch mix and the deception he creates through an low three-quarters arm slot in which he cocks his elbow behind his head.

At the least, he will be an early-season candidate to move to high Class A Salem, particularly given his initial performance.

— Alex Speier covers the Red Sox for the Boston Globe

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