Scout Spotlight: Shaeffer Hall Talks Signing Marlins RHP Max Meyer
Shaeffer Hall spent five seasons as a minor league lefthander, primarily in the Yankees organization. Today he is the Midwest area scout for Marlins.
Hired before the 2020 season, Hall is the signing scout for Minnesota righthander Max Meyer, whom Miami drafted third overall in June.
Here’s what Hall had to say about his time between leaving the game, getting hired by the Marlins and his first impressions of Meyer. The interview is edited for brevity, but the unabridged version appears on the Baseball America podcast.
Q: What had you been doing in the time between retiring as a player and getting hired by the Marlins?
A: My last year playing professionally was in 2013. Going into that offseason I was a free agent, so I wasn’t sure where my career was going to end up. Unfortunately, I didn’t get signed by an organization, so I decided to take an opportunity at the University of Kansas (where he pitched collegiately) as a volunteer assistant coach. I was under their staff for one season and was fortunate to go to a regional.
Then an opportunity presented itself outside of baseball, and I took a management position in the oil and gas industry. I did that for a couple years and then decided my passion was in baseball. Unfortunately, with timing and everything like that at that point in time, it didn’t work out. I took another role in sales for another year or two.
I got a call from the Marlins (during the fall of 2019). They asked me if I would be interested in taking a scouting position in the Midwest, and I was all about it. This was something that I’ve always wanted to do. And I think timing was a big part of it.
Q: Who called you and what did he say that made him call you out of the blue?
A: Fortunately, playing a game for a while, you build relationships, and that’s something that I really pride myself on is meeting a lot of people through this game and networking. It’s kind of a small world because my crosschecker now, Ryan Wardinsky, scouted me back when I was an amateur. And so, he had my number and he gave me a call. DJ Svihilk, our scouting director, also knew me from the past, being in the Yankees organization, and he gave me a call as well and said that they were interested.
Q: So you stayed in the Midwest for the non-baseball job. Had you gone to college games as a fan and were you acquainted, more or less, with the talent in the area?
A: Yeah, that’s a really good question. That’s something that I always did, even whenever I wasn’t playing, or not in the game or associated with the game, was I always had a pulse on the game, whether that was going into a college game or coaching a Little League team or watching baseball games day in and day out and knowing what was going on and how the game is evolving.
I always had a pulse on what was going on, so going through the interview process I think that gave me an advantage a little bit.
Q: So in that year’s time—I know being a former player really helps you—how much have you learned about just how to scout?
A: Oh, man, it’s been a crucial year. I’ve learned a lot. I’ve always been the type to keep an ear to the ground and listen, and I’ve just tried to take in as much as I possibly can and learn from the best. I mean, we have some really good scouts in our department, a really good leadership team, and I definitely want to learn from them because they’ve had a lot of success in this game.
Q: So now you get your feet on the ground into your territory. How quickly does a guy like Max Meyer stick out?
A: Well, there’s a lot to like about Max. I had the opportunity to see him in the first few weeks of the college season in 2020, right before we were taken off the road. He’s electric. I saw him throw a complete game against North Carolina. His fastball was 94-97 (mph) with an elite slider. He flashed a plus changeup.
And he’s an ultra-competitor, probably the best athlete to come out of the draft. And then getting the chance to get to know him on a personal level, the makeup was there. It definitely made sense and it all added up for me, and he’s done it for two years in a row. He did it at the high school level (in Woodbury, Minn.). He did it at the University of Minnesota. So he checked a lot of boxes for me.
Q: And you talk about that slider. I mean, you’ve seen a lot of sliders in your day and I’ve seen a lot of sliders in my day. How just how dirty is that thing?
A: I think it’s a big league out pitch right now. I think he threw it quite a bit in college, but you know, hitters couldn’t figure it out. I saw it up to 92 miles an hour, and it is dirty. It just drops off and it blends in well with his fastball. So yeah, it’s definitely a special pitch for him.