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August 25, 2016 at 8:00 AM

Scouting Scratch: Mike Shawaryn and Shaun Anderson

- Once considered a potential late first-round pick for the 2016 draft, Lowell right-handed pitcher Mike Shawaryn fell to the Red Sox in the fifth round of the 2016 draft where he received a well over-slot bonus, as SoxProspects.com Managing Editor Matt Huegel examined yesterday. Shawaryn has gotten off to a solid start in pro ball, striking out 15 in 9 2/3 innings, albeit while walking 5 and allowing 11 hits and 5 earned runs. I have had the chance to see Shawaryn twice now, once in a two-inning stint and then most recently in a three-inning stint, his longest since joining the Red Sox.

Shawaryn has a sturdy, filled-out frame, looking his listed 6-foot-3, 225 pounds. He does not have much projection left and has a solid lower half that looks like it could withstand a starter’s workload.

Whether or not Shawaryn can stick as a starter could likely be affected down the road by the significant effort in his delivery. Shawaryn starts on the third base side and throws from a low three-quarters arm slot. He is twitchy pre-pitch, with his pitching hand constantly moving by his side as he looks in for the sign and before he brings it up to his glove, high by his face. He then brings his glove down and back up, separating without using a full wind-up. The effort in his delivery starts here, as when he brings his arm back he raises the elbows on pitching arm and lead arm high, then drops and drives, slinging the ball from a low arm slot. This type of delivery puts a significant amount of stress on his arm and shoulder, and as a result is more often seen from relievers than starters. Shawaryn does get some extension and some deception, especially against right-handed hitters as he comes from a low arm slot on the third base side of the rubber.

Shawaryn’s raw stuff was pretty impressive. He showed an intriguing three-pitch mix over the two starts. His fastball sat 91-93 mph, topping out at 95 mph in the first start and 94 mph in his second. The pitch showed some late, arm-side run and he was able to throw it for strikes. His misses were all close, and he did show the ability to miss bats with the pitch. The pitch has the makings of a plus offering with refinement.

Shawaryn’s secondary pitches include a slider and changeup, with the former showing slightly more potential. He throws his slider 79-82 mph with slurvy, 10-to-4 break. The pitch was more horizontal and liked tilt, but did show some depth and bite when he threw it well. It is a tough pitch to throw from that arm slot, but he did a good job keeping it down in the zone, especially against right-handed hitters. He got a handful of swing-and-misses against it over the two outings, with the offering flashing above-average potential.

His changeup was most effective against left-handed hitters and he showed much more feel for it in his second start, throwing his best ones in the 80-83 mph range whereas in his first start he threw it 84-85 mph. At the higher velocities, the pitch was on the firm side with minimal fade, but in the lower velocities it had late fade and he threw it with deceptive arm speed. The pitch has average potential and will be key for his development as a starter going forward, as his low arm slot gives lefties a long look at the ball.

Overall, with the potential for three pitches grading at least average, with two above-average, Shawaryn is an intriguing prospect, but there is some risk attached. His secondary pitches will require continued refinement, especially his changeup. In order for him to profile as a starter long-term, he will need a pitch to get left-handed hitters out. Given his mechanics, there will be questions about his long-term health and his ability to stick in the starting rotation. He will be developed as a starter for the foreseeable future, but if he stagnates in that role, he could be intriguing working in a bullpen role given his fastball/slider combination and tough arm slot for righties to pick up.

- Another college draftee who got his first taste of pro ball in Lowell was the organization’s third-round pick, right-hander Shaun Anderson. Anderson started two games, unable to get out of the second inning in either, before being demoted to the Gulf Coast League, where he has yet to pitch.

Anderson was the closer at the University of Florida this year, but will begin his professional career being developed as a starter. Due to the limited nature of his two outings, it was tough to get a good read on what Anderson could eventually become, but it did provide a nice base to build upon in future looks.

Anderson has a strong pitcher’s frame, listed at 6-foot-5, 225 pounds. He has the build of someone who could withstand a starter’s workload and even has some projection, albeit not much, to add strength as he matures. Anderson throws from a high three-quarters arm slot with a controlled, repeatable delivery. He uses a medium leg kick and slightly rocks towards the third base side before he comes forward. His arm action is short and clean coming through.

Over the course of two starts, Anderson showed all five of his pitches—fastball, cutter, slider, curveball, and changeup. His threw his fastball 90-92 mph, a tick down from where he sat out of the bullpen in college. The pitch showed some late sink and he threw it for strikes, although this was almost to his detriment as he was throwing it in very hittable areas of the zone. As a result, he gave up a lot of contact on the pitch and did get unlucky with some of the hits being very weak, but well placed.

Anderson’s cutter was his best pitch, showing sharp, late, horizontal movement at 87-89 mph. At the lower end of the velocity range, the pitch did run into his slider at times. Anderson threw his slider 83-86 mph with two-plane break. The pitch was sweepy at times, especially in the lower velocity range. Anderson also threw a curveball at 77-78 mph with long, 12-to-6 break. The pitch had some depth, but he did not throw it as often as his slider. Finally, he threw his changeup 81-83 mph with some late fade. He looked to have some feel for the offering, but only threw it a few times over the two starts.

Overall, these two starts did not go the way the Red Sox or Anderson were hoping, but at least he got a taste of pro ball, even if his season is over until the Fall Instructional League, as might be the case given his three weeks of inactivity. Even with the poor results, he showed some intriguing tools, particularly his strong frame, clean delivery, and pitch mix. 

Photo credit: Mike Shawaryn by umterps.com and Shaun Anderson by Kelly O'Connor

Ian Cundall is Director of Scouting for SoxProspects.com. Follow him on Twitter @IanCundall.