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Scherff Establishes Himself As Elite 2017 Arm

CARY, N.C.—Alex Scherff is a name to know for the 2017 draft class. He’s a physical specimen, sculpted like Michelangelo’s David, and gifted with an exceptional right arm and a potentially devastating three-pitch mix.

Scherff opened eyes on the national scene with an electric performance at the Perfect Game National Showcase, then showed well during two appearances at USA Baseball’s Tournament of Stars last week.

On June 19, Scherff struck out four batters over two innings, drawing at least one swing-and-miss with each of his three pitches. He faced six batters, five of whom were lefthanded hitters, and Scherff started four of those battles with an offspeed pitch. Five of his six first-pitches were thrown to his arm side, with the lone exception being a slider he ran down and away from a righthanded hitter for a swinging strikeout. He’s shown the ability to execute his plan.

Scherff says he doesn’t have a preferred, go-to offspeed pitch, but he’s shown feel for a changeup and flashes with his slider.

“I think my go-to is my fastball just because I like to get ahead of guys,” Scherff said. “Offspeed is kind of a feeling I get before the game, just whatever’s working in the bullpen I’ll go to in the game.”

Scherff also said that he looks work hitters away. The 17-year-old is a hard thrower, but he’s more than just a chucker. He’s learned how to pitch, how to use his pitches to get quality hitters out. During a one-inning appearance on Sunday, his fastball reached as high as 96.4 mph, according to TrackMan Live data, and the pitch topped out at 97 on the radar gun of at least one scout.

Over three appearances between PG National and Tournament of Stars, Scherff faced 19 batters. He struck out seven, walked none, hit two and allowed two hits, one of which was a hard double off the bat of Brady McConnell, who has proven to be one of the best hitters in the nation. Scherff’s early summer performance has catapulted him toward the top of the 2017 pitching class, but he wasn’t always this good.

The righthander told Baseball America that he was able to reach 92-93 mph with his fastball at the conclusion of his sophomore year, but that he didn’t quite understand the work ethic that it would take for him to make the next step. He wasn’t in great shape that summer, and when he pitched in the Underclass Area Code Games in August, his velocity was down to 86-88.

“So that was the biggest wakeup call I’ve gotten in my life really and I kind of got my act together,” Scherff said. “I went from like 247 pounds to 205 now and then I picked up some velocity.”

Scherff also worked diligently at his craft. Some of his most influential coaches include longtime major leaguers Shane Reynolds and Roger Clemens, and Scherff gives a lot of credit to Jace Findley, his high school pitching coach at Prestonwood Christian Academy (Plano, Texas).

“This year I kind of came in to high school as a thrower and then he really developed me and molded me into a pitcher,” Scherff said of his work with Findley. “Roger Clemens is a guy that I’ve worked with. He’s obviously super knowledgeable, an awesome guy.”

Scherff’s journey is just beginning, but he’s on the right track. Following a 1-2-3 inning to conclude TOS, Scherff was named to the 18-and-under national team’s trial roster. He’ll be on the amateur scouting scene for the next few months, and will be heavily monitored going forward.

“It’s a huge blessing for me and my family too,” Scherff said on Sunday. “I came down here not really knowing what to expect because I don’t do a lot of showcases, but it’s really, really cool. It’s kind of surreal.”

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