Name: Jimmie Sherfy
DOB: 12/27/1991 (Age 26)
Acquired: 10th Round, 2013 Draft
Most Notable Tool: Low 80s slider
Season Stats: Minors: 38 games, 5-1, 1.60 ERA, 45 IP, 31 H, 58/20 K/BB, 1.13 WHIP.
MLB: 15 games, 0-0, 1.65 ERA, 16 1⁄3 IP, 8 H, 17/10 K/BB, 1.10 WHIP
2018 Season Summary: Sherfy ended up losing a bullpen battle with Fernando Salas in Spring Training, so he spent most of the year pitching for the Diamondbacks’ AAA affiliate despite strong numbers in his debut season. Sherfy did not see action until late in the season despite putting up solid numbers in AAA again, which makes you wonder what the AAA manager puts on his reports to the MLB club. Sherfy still proved to be unhittable with only 39 hits allowed in 60 innings although the walks went up from 12 to 30 while maintaining similar strikeout rates. The jump in walks may prove to limit his potential ceiling until that’s fixed, as free passes late in games are killer.
Tools: Fastball 60, Slider 55, Command 40/45
At this point, there is no projection left in his stuff and what you have now is what you’ll get. However, there still is improvements he can make with his command. He still has a very jerky delivery, which negatively impacts command although it’s much more controlled than it was when he first entered the system in 2013. The last three seasons have yielded low hit totals at both the minors and majors, so it will be interesting to see what causes it. When he’s on, he’s untouchable at times but sometimes I think he gets by as an effectively-wild pitcher.
Upside: If the command ever improves, Sherfy could be valuable as a late inning guy who’s more match-up oriented. His stuff suggests he’d be very effective against right-handed bats late in the game although his MLB career numbers haven’t indicated any possible major platoon splits yet. I don’t think closer is going to be his ceiling, but more of a 6th/7th inning guy who bridges the game between the starter and the back-end of the bullpen.
Risk: The risk is once MLB hitters (only 106 hitters faced in career to date) figure out that he has trouble spotting the ball consistently that his career will tank from there. It’s not the first time I’ve seen a highly-touted relief prospect light it up his first couple years at the MLB level before crashing when hitters recognize obvious command problems. I’m hoping that improves while hitters still haven’t seen him before. His ceiling isn’t that high compared to other reliever prospects like Yoan Lopez, so best case scenario he’ll get you 1 to 4 outs in a given game.
Likely 2019 Assignment: There is nothing really left for Sherfy to prove in Reno after two seasons of success there. The bullpen is an open competition with only Yoshihisa Hirano, Archie Bradley, Andrew Chafin, and T.J. McFarland likely cemented into the mix. That leaves 3 spots open between Sherfy, Lopez, Silvino Bracho, and other relievers on the 40-man roster plus whoever they bring into camp as non-roster guys. Lopez has the most upside and arguably the best floor in that group. I still think Sherfy edges out Bracho for the final roster spot in camp, although Sherfy having 2 options left and Bracho having none could sway the roster decision making more than it should.
Debut: 2017 Season