Sherfy turning in big innings for D-backs

Sherfy turning in big innings for D-backs

PHOENIX -- In the winter of 2016, fresh off his first season with the Triple-A Reno Aces, Jimmie Sherfy found himself in a situation familiar to many Minor League players who are chasing their Major League dreams.

It was time to get an offseason job to make ends meet.

"I talked to my best friend in the offseason," Sherfy, said. "He lives by me, and he's like, "We should get a job. I told him to look into it, and he told me, "Hey, we're gonna work for a moving company!' I was like, 'All right. Let's do it.'"

Sherfy, ranked by MLBPipeline.com as the D-backs' No. 15 prospect, stands 6-feet and just 175 pounds, so he made sure to avoid too much heavy lifting and held the job for a little over a month before he began an offseason throwing program.

"It's definitely humbling," Sherfy said. "But you've just got to respect the grind and respect the process."

Fast forward 10 months later, and his current day job is more suited to his talents.

Sherfy, 25, was called up to the D-backs on Sept. 3 and has made an impact out of the bullpen. Combined with his two-day stint in late August, he has struck out six batters over six scoreless innings while allowing just two runners to reach base.

He picked up his first big league save in a 5-1 win against Colorado on Sept. 3, and came on in the ninth inning on Monday and retired two batters to keep the Rockies' from extending their 5-4 lead.

While his smaller build may not have been advantageous for a moving job, he's used it to his benefit with the D-backs to help disguise a mid-90's fastball that pops out of his hand.

"Obviously, he's got a pretty good fastball," Arizona catcher Chris Herrmann said. "He's not that big of a guy out there, so it's kind of like a different angle that the balls coming in at. ... The slider moves a lot, so I think if he can throw that more often for a strike, he's gonna start to get more swings and misses."

The Camarillo, Calif., native has a laid-back demeanor that has helped him excel in high-leverage situations at each stop of his career.

"He's got that beach-bum vibe," Herrmann said. "Doesn't really say a whole lot, just kind of keeps to himself. He's just a good dude who's here to work hard."

Sherfy set the single-season saves record at the University of Oregon in 2012, and locked down 20 of 23 saves while recording a 3.12 ERA this season for an Aces team that won its division in the Pacific Coast League.

"He has an ease to what he's doing, a mound presence and a fearlessness," Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said. "I think all good Major League players aren't afraid to make a mistake, and he just lives his life that way."

Jarrid Denney is a reporter for MLB.com based in Phoenix. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.