BOSTON -- Four days after throwing at Fenway Park under the watchful eyes of Red Sox scouts, right-hander Alex Scherff now has a chance to one day turn it into his home office.The electric high school senior was taken in the fifth round by Boston on Day 2 of the
BOSTON -- Four days after throwing at Fenway Park under the watchful eyes of Red Sox scouts, right-hander Alex Scherff now has a chance to one day turn it into his home office.
The electric high school senior was taken in the fifth round by Boston on Day 2 of the MLB Draft on Tuesday, and he might have the highest ceiling of the eight picks the Red Sox made on the day.
"There's a lot to like," said Red Sox vice president of amateur scouting Mike Rikard. "We thought he was one of the more advanced high school pitchers in the draft as far as his delivery and strike throwing and command. He's got a really good fastball, touches 98, sits comfortably at 94."
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And now that he appears headed for professional baseball, Scherff can use his favorite weapon -- the changeup -- much more than he did at Colleyville Heritage High School in Texas.
Scherff was considered to have one of the best changeups in this year's Draft.
"It's a plus pitch but at the high school level, but he didn't get to use it very much," said Colleyville Heritage head coach Alan McDougal. "You can throw it through top of the order, but when you have the lesser bats, you're doing them a favor if you're throwing the 82 to 83 when they can't catch up to 95."
In pro baseball, it should become a big pitch for Scherff.
"That's a really good pitch because the arm speed is very similar to the fastball, but the drop in miles per hour is dramatic," said McDougal. "He's got the ability to throw it really at any point he wants. He really loves to throw it."
And for an 18-year-old, Scherff carries himself as someone who knows how to pitch.
"He's got some feel and some moxie. He's a real competitor," said Rikard.
Though Scherff does have a scholarship offer to Texas A&M, he is certainly giving the impression of someone who is all in on pitching for the Red Sox.
Moments after Scherff was drafted, he tweeted, "See you soon, Boston." He also posted some pictures from that workout at Fenway on Friday.
When it comes to off-field training, Scherff already has the intensity that some pitchers don't reach until they are well into their pro careers.
Over the past couple of years, he lost 30 to 40 pounds.
"He's very driven, impressively driven and focused," said Rikard. "He really maintains a strict diet and really likes to work out and keep his body in shape. And all those things add up. We've gotten to know him pretty well in the past few weeks and have been very impressed with his work ethic and drive to be a really good pitcher."
Scherff started and finished his high school career at Colleyville Heritage, but went to private schools for his sophomore and junior years. That gave McDougal unique perspective on how much he improved from beginning to end in high school. Scherff went 15-0 in his senior season.
"When you get guys with that velocity at the high school level, they usually don't have the command that Alex showed all year," McDougal said. "He had eight walks in 70 some odd innings. For a guy who throws that hard at the high school level, that's really special."
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.