16. Alex Scherff
2018 started off poorly for Alex Scherff for the Full-A Greenville Drive. Things reached a low point when the right-handed pitcher gave up nine hits and seven runs in two innings on June 12 before hitting the disabled list. Scherff returned to the mound on August 8 though and quickly turned the season into a massive positive.
Following his return, the 20-year-old pitched in six games, including four in Full-A. In those six games, Scherff pitched 23 innings and allowed four earned runs. He struck out 19 batters and walked three, dominating for the first extended stretch of his career.
When Scherff returned on August 8, he had a 6.32 ERA and 1.55 WHIP. By the end of the year, he had lowered those significantly. His Full-A ERA was 4.98 while his WHIP was 1.40. If you add in the two rehab starts in Rookie Ball, those numbers are 4.76 and 1.39.
One glance at those stats without any context would make someone believe the year was a bust. On the contrary, it showed growth and a dominant side. This was a positive season.
Something I’ve mentioned a lot and will mention it a lot more – I’m all about a great changeup. That being said, that’s not my favorite pitch when it comes to Scherff.
I’m in love with his curveball. There are plenty of problems with it at the moment, mostly in the consistency department. He can lose control of the pitch and struggle to locate it correctly. That can lead to hanging curves and pitches not even close to tempting. When it’s on though – wow. Sharp break, with a true 12-6 drop on it. If Scherff can improve his control of this pitch, it could take him far in his career.
Scherff is still far away from the Majors. This was his first year in the system and while he ended on a high note, he’ll probably still start in Full-A next year. However, he could take a few steps towards Boston next year in terms of what level he ends at.
With just 17 games under his belt, there’s still plenty of inexperience though. Scherff is still pretty raw with some of his pitches, so the Red Sox would be smart to take their time with him and let everything develop. When everything comes together, something special could happen.