The Cardinals adding Matt Scherer to the forty man roster was something I certainly didn’t see coming. Is he really worth a roster spot?
Scherer was drafted in the 16th round 2004 draft out of Le Moyne College. In case you were wondering, Le Moyne in french means “The moyne.” Glad I could clear that up for you. Moving right along. Prior to being drafted, Scherer was the Metro Athletic Conference pitcher of the year, going 10-3 with a 2.18 ERA despite a low strikeout rate. Scherer was used as a starter in his debut, posting an unspectacular 4.80 FIP in 134 innings. The following season he was moved to the bullpen, and was part of a pretty fearsome trio that included pyscho-sinkerballer Dennis Dove and submariner Mike Sillman. His results were middling as a starter, but as reliever he had a solid 2.79 FIP over 80.1 innings. He struck out 106 to just 20 walks. John Sickels ranked him as the Cardinals 13th best prospect, giving him a C+ grade. Baseball America not only didn’t rank him in their top thirty, he didn’t even crack their depth chart in the 2007 Prospect Handbook.
Making the jump from the Florida State League to the Texas League can prove a challenge for any pitcher, but Scherer held his own in AA last year. His FIP went up to 3.52 and his strikeout per plate appearance rate dipped from a spectacular 32% to a passable 23.7%, 18.5% of which were swinging K’s. His ground ball rate stayed roughly the same, 44% at PB, 46% at Springfield. He was Rule 5 eligible last year but was not added to the 40 man roster or taken in the draft.
Moving up to AAA, Scherer put up some pretty pedestrian stats this past season. His K/PA % dropped to 13.9% and his groundball rate plummeted to 35%, yet he did a fine job keeping the ball in the park. He was rather hittable, as 1/4 of the pitches he threw ended up in play (compare to teammate Jason Motte‘s 12.6%). Despite that, his BABIP was only .282, as he was fortunate to have defensive stalwarts behind him like David Freese and Brian Barden.
The scouting report
Scherer is someone I wouldn’t want to tango with, he stands at 6-5 and weighs 230. He doesn’t throw out of a wind up and throws out of a high 3/4 arm slot. His fastball comes in anywhere between 87-89 MPH with some sink, but he’s been known to get it up to 92 at times. His breaking ball is slurvy and his other pitch-a splitter-is effective but inconsistent.
Matt Scherer is a remarkably unremarkable pitcher. He wasn’t taken in the Rule 5 last year despite being eligible, and if anything I would think his stock would be down. He’s not the kind of pitcher your team would miss a lot, and unless I am not understanding the Rule 5 draft properly, I don’t see how he could be protected over the hard throwing Luis Perdomo. He’ll be coming to camp this year, but barring a fantastic showing in spring training, he’ll be back pitching in middle relief in AAA.