Signing with Texas A&M was the perfect backup plan for the Colleyville Heritage baseball team’s former right-hander Alex Scherff.
He would be joining a consistently successful college baseball program that made it a habit of going to either the Super Regionals or the College World Series. The Aggies did that in each of the previous three seasons.
But when his name was called on the second day of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft by Boston, all that was left was an equitable signing bonus and he was as good as gone to the professional ranks.
Scherff and his side, represented by mega agent Scott Boras, reportedly agreed to a bonus of roughly $700,000. Now, Scheff moves on to the rookie leagues, which are about to begin their seasons. They usually start the last week of June. It appears he hasn’t been assigned to a team yet. On his Twitter Page, Scherff uses Fort Myers, Florida, as a location. That’s where Boston’s Rookie Gulf League Red Sox team resides.
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While Scherff wasn’t the first-day selection he had hoped to be, there was plenty of upside in his game for the Red Sox to embrace and make the move with the 161st overall selection.
“There’s a lot to like,” Red Sox vice president of amateur scouting Mike Rikard told Boston’s MLB.com affiliate. “We thought he was one of the more advanced high school pitchers in the draft as far as his delivery and strike throwing and command. He’s got a really good fastball, touches 98, sits comfortably at 94.”
The discussion of Scherff’s change-up is probably the best thing he has going for him. The key to throwing an effective change-up is to simulate arm speed and sell the pitch as a fastball. When batters are preparing for the express, they get something far slower. The speed variance between that pitch and the fastball has been typically in the 8-10 mph range.
But the Scherff people saw pitch compared to the one they see in the future could be different from a mechanics standpoint. While he has the big arm, there’s a pretty good chance the Red Sox are going to work with him on his mechanics.
For one, his leg drive needs work. He needs to extend his front (left) leg further so he can use his entire body on every pitch. The benefit is that it can save the wear and tear on his arm, shoulder and elbow.
As he progresses, Scherff is also going to have to make adjustments with the opposing lineups he sees. No longer will he face a high school lineup that probably offers five strong batters. He’s going to see probably seven or eight. Keep in mind, these other professional organization rookie teams are made up of other draftees who were taken because the those teams saw something in their hitting prowess.
If his health remains as solid as it has been, you can also expect the Red Sox to probably send him to their fall league so he can continue to develop. When an organization has made the kind of investment like Boston has with Scherff, it’s going to do everything it possibly can to see some kind of return on it.