On August 20th the Arizona Diamondbacks promoted right-handed pitcher Jimmie Sherfy to the major league roster. He pitched in two games and performed well (two shutout innings, three strikeouts) but was sent back to Triple-A on the 22nd. Sherfy seems a sure bet to return for September, so let’s take a look at what he offers.
Jimmie Sherfy pitched three seasons of college baseball at the University of Oregon and was especially effective in his 2012 sophomore (2.20 ERA, 93/34 K/BB in 61 innings, 19 saves) and 2013 junior (2.25, 55/14 K/BB in 40 innings, 21 saves) campaigns. Concerns about his durability (he had a history of elbow trouble) knocked him down to the 10th round, where he signed for $100,000.
He ran up a 4.59 ERA between High-A and Double-A in 2014, albeit with an intriguing 68/23 K/BB ratio. His ERA spiked to 6.52 in 50 Double-A innings in 2015, but he rebounded with a more impressive campaign in ‘16.
Sherfy ranked 10th on the Arizona Diamondbacks Top 20 prospects list for 2017 with the following comment:
10) Jimmie Sherfy, RHP, Grade C+: Age 24, 10th round pick in 2013 from University of Oregon, 2.77 ERA in 55 innings between High-A, Double-A, Triple-A with 79/24 K/BB, just 31 hits, 30 saves; had control problems after reaching Triple-A that will need to be remedied; no question about his stuff, fastball up to 95-97 earns 70-grades from scouts due to movement; also has a plus slider; even small improvement in command could take him a long way. ETA: 2017.
This year he has a 3.49 ERA in 48 innings for Triple-A Reno, with a sharp 60/10 K/BB and 19 saves.
Sherfy is 6-0, 175, a right-handed hitter and thrower born December 27th, 1991. His four-seamer has been clocked as high as 97, although he sat at 93-95 in his first two MLB outings. He’ll mix in a change-up in the 80s but relies heavily on his slider, which comes in anywhere between 75 and 89 MPH.
There’s effort in his delivery and he doesn’t have a classic workhorse body, leading to concerns about his long-term durability. That said, Sherfy has made massive improvements with his command over the two years, cutting his BB/9 ratio from 5.07 in 2015 to just 1.88 in 2017, without any loss in strikeouts.
Sherfy has very sharp platoon splits and is likely limited to middle relief and ROOGY work, at least in the short run. He’ll be impressive in that role as long as his command (and health) hold up.