NEW YORK -- Justus Sheffield knows that the Yankees are actively seeking another starting pitcher, and while the touted left-hander might be one jump away from beginning 2018 in the rotation, he is moving closer to making a big league impact in the very near future."The way I look at
NEW YORK -- Justus Sheffield knows that the Yankees are actively seeking another starting pitcher, and while the touted left-hander might be one jump away from beginning 2018 in the rotation, he is moving closer to making a big league impact in the very near future.
"The way I look at is, I've just got to go out there and do my thing," Sheffield said. "Let the front office handle where they're going to put me, or where I'll end up. The only thing I can do is just go out there and do what I do best, and that's get outs and give my team a chance to win."
Rated as the Yankees' No. 4 prospect and the No. 7 left-handed-pitching prospect in the game by MLB Pipeline, Sheffield recently participated in Major League Baseball's Rookie Career Development Program, which was held in Washington.
The 21-year-old is coming off a campaign in which he went 7-6 with a 3.18 ERA in 17 starts for Double-A Trenton, permitting 94 hits in 93 1/3 innings while striking out 82 against 33 walks. Though he missed time with an oblique injury, Sheffield was able to participate in the Arizona Fall League and said that he was "very pleased" with his season.
"I saw a lot of positives. It seems like the Yankees saw a lot of positives out of me this year also," Sheffield said. "I definitely had a great time going out to the Fall League. That was big for me, just getting to go back out there and get my innings back under me, facing those higher-type guys and actually get out there and compete.
"I love to compete. Overall, I thought I had a great year, other than the injury."
In 20 1/3 innings for the Scottsdale Scorpions, Sheffield was 2-2 with a 3.10 ERA, permitting 14 hits and three walks against 22 strikeouts. He was removed from his final start after being hit in the left thigh with a line drive, but the pitching change was for precautionary reasons.
Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner and general manager Brian Cashman have spoken highly of Sheffield's performance, listing him with No. 2 prospect Chance Adams and No. 7 prospect Albert Abreu among the exciting arms who are expected to help the team in the future.
"I think we have a great young crew, and we have more coming," Cashman said. "It's up to us to keep them healthy, to put them in a position to perform up to their ceiling, but we have more coming, we feel."
Sheffield said that the time off with Double-A Trenton served as a learning experience, teaching him how to handle the first significant injury of his career. The Fall League success has Sheffield excited for what he can do in 2018, a season that could include his first promotion to the Majors.
"I think I was just hungry to get back on the field, missing those two months," Sheffield said. "I thought I was going to get a few innings in before the playoffs; it ended up not working out that way. I think going to the Fall League, just being hungry and getting to go out on the field and compete again, against those top guys. It's time to play ball."
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.