PHOENIX—Righthander Jimmie Sherfy couldn’t seem to settle on just one or two reasons he’s been able to turn in the best season of any reliever in the Diamondbacks system.
He credited pitching coaches Brad Arnsberg and Dan Carlson for their sage advice. He pointed to mechanical changes that have helped him maintain his stuff from outing to outing.
Sherfy also has a newfound focus on baseball, on and off the field, after heeding the wakeup call delivered by his struggles in 2015.
Whatever the reasons, Sherfy has a good thing going. After tossing two scoreless innings in his Triple-A Reno debut, he had given up just two runs in 37 innings across three levels, with 14 walks and 60 strikeouts.
A 10th-round pick out of Oregon in 2013, Sherfy found himself knocking on the door for a big league promotion, particularly in a year when several of the club’s top young relievers have struggled in the majors.
Sherfy said Arnsberg and Carlson both helped him get in the right place mentally, both in terms of his focus on the mound and his dedication off the field. Arnsberg also helped him stay more online in his delivery, which he thinks has helped him stay consistently in the 95-98 mph range.
“I’ve kind of eliminated the distractions outside of the game,” said Sherfy, 24. “I really think the biggest thing is getting a good night’s sleep, getting breakfast in the morning and getting in a good routine.”
He said it took last year’s struggles—he recorded a 6.52 ERA and allowed 50 hits and 28 walks in 50 innings at Double-A Mobile—as well as a talk with Carlson this spring for him to realize his dedication was lacking.
“It really woke me up,” Sherfy said. “I’m like, ‘I guess I’m not good enough. I’ve got to switch something.’ ”
• Righthander Yoan Lopez left the Mobile club after a poor outing on June 29 with the intention of leaving the game entirely. The Diamondbacks signed Lopez out of Cuba in 2015 for $8.25 million. The D-backs convinced him to delay a decision. “We believe in him, and we’ll get things fixed,” chief baseball officer Tony La Russa said.
• The D-backs promoted lefthander Anthony Banda, the organization’s lone Futures Game participant, to Reno in late June after he went 6-2, 2.12 in 13 starts at Mobile while striking out 84 in 76 innings.