A fifth-round pick out of Oklahoma Baptist in 2014, Merryweather was on the cusp of the Major Leagues with Cleveland going into the ’18 season before needing Tommy John surgery. The Blue Jays acquired the right-hander mid-recovery after the season in the trade that sent Josh Donaldson to the Indians. Excited about the all-around impressive stuff Merryweather has in his tool box, Toronto didn’t get to see much of it last season, when his return was delayed after two rehab outings showed that he wasn’t yet ready. He reappeared in the Arizona Fall League, where his fastball velocity, changeup, slider and command impressed and helped him to eight strikeouts over six innings.
Merryweather’s best weapon is his mid-to-high-90s fastball, with a changeup that is one of the best in the organization. The changeup is a weapon against left-handed hitters especially, with good arm speed and tailing action. His curveball flashes plus and his pure talent has team officials excited. He found success with his slider in the Fall League and the club hopes to see a lot more of it. Merryweather uses his height to get good angle and finish at the top of the zone.
Throughout his pro career, Merryweather has shown good feel for the strike zone, consistently putting up decent strikeout numbers while limiting walks and hits. If he can stay healthy, he has a chance to slot into the back end of a big league rotation, with a move to the bullpen representing a nice fallback option for the right-hander.
Scouting Grades: Fastball: 60 | Curveball: 45 | Slider: 50 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 55 | Overall: 45
Merryweather pitched at Skyline College for two years before transferring to Oklahoma Baptist, where he dominated as both a junior and senior while leading the program to a third-place finish in the 2014 NAIA World Series. A fifth-round pick by the Indians that June, Merryweather made slow but steady progress early in his career before breaking out in 2016 with an All-Star campaign in the Class A Advanced Carolina League that earned him a second-half promotion to Double-A Akron. He performed well in his return to Akron in 2017, but struggled over 16 starts in his first exposure at the Triple-A level. Impressed with his stuff and progress, Cleveland added Merryweather to its 40-man roster after the season. However, the right-hander will miss all of 2018 following his Tommy John surgery in mid-March.
Merryweather pitches with a plus fastball that sits at 93-96 mph and at times touches higher, all while using his height to create downhill plane to the plate and generate ground-ball outs. He throws a pair of breaking balls in a curveball and a slider, though neither is particularly advanced and they bleed together at times. Merryweather's changeup is arguably his best secondary offering, flashing above average at times, but lacking in consistency overall.
Though big and physical, Merryweather repeats his delivery well and has a long track record as a strike-thrower. He will, however, need to improve his fastball command as well as the quality of his strikes after International League hitters tagged him for 105 hits (12.5 H/9) and 13 home runs (1.5 HR/9) in 78 innings. Should Merryweather be unable to make the necessary adjustments to remain a starter, the right-hander's power arm could make him an effective late-inning reliever.
Scouting Grades: Fastball: 60 | Curveball: 45 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 55 | Overall: 50
Merryweather's Draft stock steadily improved during his senior year at Oklahoma Baptist, where he posted a 1.07 ERA with a 0.85 WHIP and 11.8 strikeouts per nine while leading the program to a third-place finish in the 2014 NAIA World Series. The Indians made him their fifth-round pick that June. After two pedestrian seasons to begin his career, the right-hander broke out in 2016, earning All-Star honors in the Carolina League before a second-half promotion to Double-A. He's continued his ascent towards the Majors in 2017, posting strong numbers back in the Eastern League en route to a Triple-A promotion late in May.
Big and physical, Merryweather generates a plus fastball that sits at 93-96 mph and at times touches higher, all the while working on a downhill plane that fuels his impressive ground-ball rate. He has a pair of promising secondary pitches in a curveball and a changeup, with the latter currently grading as the better offering. Meanwhile, Merryweather showed improved strike-throwing ability last season after working with the Indians to simplify his delivery.
Merryweather was one the more improved players in the Indians' system since the start of 2016, and they believe he has the ingredients to start at the highest level. If not, the right-hander's power arm could make him an effective late-inning reliever.