Monday is either going to be the day that Alex Scherff has been dreaming of all his life, or it’s going to be the day that will make him exercise patience.
Major League Baseball’s First-Year Player Draft starts Monday at 5 p.m. with the first two rounds along with the sandwich picks. It covers 75 picks. The draft runs through Wednesday and can be viewed on the MLB Network.
When you have a right-handed pitcher who went 15-0, with an earned-run average of less than 1.00, a pile of strikeouts highlighted by a 90-plus mph fastball that can go as high as 98, and a college situation secured with Texas A&M, you have some bargaining chips at your disposal.
When your adviser is mega-agent Scott Boras, you have arguably the toughest negotiator out there who will fight for his clients and make the organization that drafts him like it.
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But the question really becomes whether there is enough between the repertoire and makeup to make the Colleyville Heritage standout a first-round take.
A healthy number of projections see Scherff as a second-round selection. The first round and sandwich selections cover the first 36 slots.
Nothing is certain. MLB.com rates him the No. 52 prospect in the draft. If you accept this at face value, then Scherff falls to the Kansas City Royals. However, all it takes is for one team to decide to do it and all of the mocks and projections are erased.
Scherff’s strengths are his fastball and a change-up that has really developed over time. His breaking ball has a ways to go. But he does have the confidence to throw it. Witness the time when he faced Grapevine’s Connor Neuman in a key situation in Game 1 of the Class 5A Region I championship series. Scherff threw a slider in a fastball count to get out of the inning.
He is a presence on the mound. Scherff won the Gatorade Texas player of the year award. The individual awards won’t stop there.
But his high school career, well, was a little more than well- traveled. Scherff started at Colleyville Heritage as a freshman, transferred to Fort Worth Christian as a sophomore and then to Plano Prestonwood as a junior.
His story of wanting to play for Grapevine his senior year was well known. But the University Interscholastic League denied that. He finished his high school career with the Panthers. His transient high school career may offer an uncomfortable vibe for some clubs. It may not for others. If you can pitch, you can pitch.
The key to any of this is signability. Should he be a first-day selection, he’s going to be a million-dollar man.
Major League Baseball has attempted to curb to outlandish signing bonuses by slotting a monetary value to each pick. It’s not ironclad — an organization has to seek permission from the commissioner’s office for a bonus on a particular player.
The Minnesota Twins have the first pick. The slotted amount is $7.8 million. At Scherff’s MLB rating, he can expect nearly $1.3 million. From what I understand, his side is looking for more than that. It might take a team that has a surplus of picks in these opening rounds to do that. Houston has four picks in the first two rounds.
Those clubs highly interested in him already know what it will take, because those discussions took place days ago.
What is a given is that very few are in the position Scherff is. Now, he waits.