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Red Sox Top Prospect Voting: Alex Scherff’s time is now

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The former high schooler has the talent, now it’s time to show it.

Alex Scherff
Kelly O’Connor; sittingstill.smugmug.com

We have now filled all but one spot on our top twenty Red Sox prospects list, with number nineteen being filled today. This was a very close vote, and gets away from the position player group but does stick with a guy who’s somewhat on the older end of the spectrum than many thing but still qualifies as inexperienced. Receiving 10 of 29 votes (34 percent) of the votes, Alex Scherff comes in as the number nineteen prospect on our list.

Scherff had one of the more intriguing profiles of any high school pitcher heading into the draft, with one strange red flag that people weren’t sure if it was really a red flag. On the positive side, the big Texas righty was, well, a big Texas righty. That state is well known for producing great arms, and Scherff was one of the best coming out of the state at the time. He had a big fastball that saw a big leap in velocity that summer as well as one of the best changeups in the entire class. What was strange was that he transferred after every season, which left some wondering why. There were no real questions about his makeup that came from interviews or anything like that, but the transferring had people curious.

That probably wasn’t what knocked him back in the draft, however. Scherff had two issues going against him. For one, he was a high school student with a commitment to Texas A&M. It doesn’t appear he was a major signability concern, but it’s something to think about with any high school pick. Additionally, his delivery wasn’t exactly smooth, leading many to believe he’d eventually end up in the bullpen. Still, the stuff was good and it was enough to lead the Red Sox to drafting him in the fifth round and handing him an above-slot bonus of $700,000. Unsurprisingly given that he was a high school arm, the Red Sox did not push Scherff in that first year and kept him out of game action altogether.

With that, the righty came into last season looking for something to prove and to show the big bonus he was handed was not a mistake. Things didn’t go so well right off the bat in A-Ball. Through his first 11 starts he pitched only 47 innings (barely over four innings per start) and had pitched to a 6.32 ERA with 35 strikeouts and 21 walks. Basically nothing was going well, and the team shut him down for a few weeks with an intercostal injury. Scherff would get back to action in the GCL on rehab in early-August, making a pair of starts there before getting back to Greenville and looking much better for those final four starts. He finished the year with 18 innings and a 1.50 ERA with 16 strikeouts and two walks. It wasn’t a great overall year, but it ended on a positive note.

The scouting report on Scherff is still a work in progress, though he started to show some progression with the fastball as the year went on. He still isn’t quite up to that 98 mph he reportedly hit in high school, but he was getting up to 95 by the end of last year. The fastball needs some work with its command, but it’s moving in the right direction. Scherff also has that strong changeup to pair with the fastball, but has been missing a third offering. He has apparently added a cutter to the repertoire this year, so hopefully that will help take his game to the next level.

Although Scherff was taken out of high school less than two years ago, he was among the oldest in that high school class and already turned 21 earlier this year. That doesn’t make him old, of course, but this is a big year for him in his development. Sox Prospects does project him to make the leap up to Salem to start 2019, though I wouldn’t be entirely surprised if they give him a month or six weeks in Greenville to let him get some confidence rolling. Either way, he’s a guy to watch this year and could take a big leap forward if that cutter opens some doors for him.

Here is our full list:

  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
  11. C.J. Chatham
  12. Nick Decker
  13. Brandon Howlett
  14. Jarren Duran
  15. Travis Lakins
  16. Danny Diaz
  17. Denyi Reyes
  18. Nicholas Northcut
  19. Alex Scherff

Now, you can head down into the comments and vote for the number twenty. 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...