An intriguing depth piece in the still young Toronto Blue Jays organization, Shawn Morimando, a left-handed pitcher with huge potential, recently sat down with Jays Journal to discuss his past, his present, and most importantly, his future.
Shawn Morimando, a 26-year-old southpaw from New York state, is a newcomer to the Blue Jays organization. After spending parts of seven seasons in the Cleveland Indians organization, Shawn, who in 2017 was the 16th ranked prospect in the organization and the 12th ranked in 2016, recently finished up the season with the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons. A 19th round pick in the 2011 MLB Draft, he has pitched over 900 innings in his minor league career.
Hayden Godfrey: Shawn, first off, I’d like to thank you so much for joining me. I’d like to ask you, how are you feeling? You spent some time in the Arizona Fall League, you got into seven games there, pitching almost 25 innings. How are you feeling right now heading into the winter?
Shawn Morimando: I feel awesome. I’m healthy, which is the biggest thing for me right now. I just feel like my old self again and everything’s really positive right now. It was kind of a weird year, I was dealing with an injury early on, the whole process of rehabbing and trying to get back was a little bit of a journey, but I feel really good about where I’m at right now, mentally and physically, so I’m just looking to continue that and take it throughout the whole offseason so I’ll be ready to roll come next year.
HG: The team that you played with in Arizona, the Surprise Saguaros, boasted some of the most impressive prospects this organization has to offer — Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Cavan Biggio and Nate Pearson were all there — how was it playing alongside those guys this fall?
SM: All those guys are awesome. I really enjoyed having the chance to get to know them and play with them. It was a great experience, I mean, it was my first time in the [Arizona] Fall League, but being around those guys really helped me feel like I was at home. They’re up-and-coming major leaguers and they were really awesome people to be around.
HG: A lot of fans of the Blue Jays organization have been rather critical of this team going after assets that were previously part of the Indians organization. Whether it’s players, coaches, minor leaguers, the fans always seem to poke fun at the fact that Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins have brought in a lot of friends from Cleveland. As someone who has now been in both organizations, what have your experiences been like with this front office duo?
SM: They’ve been awesome. Mark [Shapiro] and Ross [Atkins] are awesome people and it’s been a really good transition for me personally, having known them from my early years with the Indians — they drafted me — having them know my background and my personality and my characteristics, that helped a lot as well.
HG: Fittingly, you made your major league debut against the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. What do you remember about that day and that game at Rogers Centre?
SM: So I remember a lot actually, it was a unique situation, it was kind of wild how it all played out. I was in Pawtucket, I was going to make my Triple-A debut on the Saturday, and [our major league team] had that long game, I think it was like 19 innings or 18 innings on the Friday, and they called me in and said: “hey, you’re comin’ to Toronto”! I didn’t have my passport on me so I had to fly back to Cleveland and one of the interns, he actually went to my apartment in Akron and picked up my passport and brought it back to me at like 12:30 at night.
The next day, I jumped on a flight to Toronto at like 6 AM, because it was a one o’clock game and I remember I was running off a few hours of sleep, mostly adrenaline, excitement, emotion. I get to the ballpark — Toronto’s a beautiful city, by the way, heading into downtown, it’s so clean and beautiful — the stadium was really nice. I was super…I wouldn’t say nervous, but, I was getting in the mindset of “okay I’m gonna pitch today”. I knew I was gonna come into the game as a reliever, I was trying to get my feet underneath me because of the big moment and making my debut. It was an exciting day, lot of emotions and excitement; I didn’t really feel my body, everything was just moving so fast and I was trying to do everything I could to stay in the moment, slow my heart rate down and compete, because, at the end of the day, it’s about competing, one pitch at a time, one hitter at a time. It was a pretty large crowd too that day as well, it was a pretty awesome experience.
HG: Shawn, for a lot of Blue Jays fans, this might be the first time they’re hearing you speak, or hearing you talk about baseball in a way that’s different to the way you might talk in a post-game media scrum. So, for those who are unfamiliar with you, what’s one thing that they should know about you?
SM: I’m a competitor. I love to compete, I love to be on the field and support my team. I work really hard at what I do, I care a lot and I know sometimes there are ups and downs, but at the end of the day, I’m super focused and I’m very passionate about what I do. I’m very focused and driven and I’m just trying to be the best teammate I can every single day. If I’m on the mound, if I’m not on the mound, I’m just trying to be that guy.
HG: Finally, what is your goal for the next calendar year of baseball? Where do you want to be at this point next year?
SM: My motto over the years has been “to take one day at a time” and really lock in on the present moment. My vision is that I want to help the team win a championship, I want to do whatever I can, whatever role I’m in, to provide the team with consistency and be someone they can trust day in and day out, and just help them win. I want to be a pitcher they can count on, in any scenario or situation that may arise.
Jays Journal would like to thank Shawn Morimando and the Buffalo Bisons for their cooperation, patience, and help in conducting this interview. For more on Shawn, you can follow him on Twitter at @ShawnMorimando and follow his career on MLB.com.