Justus league: Sheffield could see MLB in 2018
Young starter named No. 3 left-handed-pitching prospect in Minors
NEW YORK -- The Yankees believe that Justus Sheffield will be part of the next wave of "Baby Bombers" to force their way to the Bronx. That viewpoint is shared by many, which is part of the reason why the 21-year-old has been consistently ranked among the game's top pitching prospects.
MLB Pipeline has rated Sheffield as the No. 3 left-hander in all of baseball, behind only the Padres' MacKenzie Gore and the Athletics' A.J. Puk, as announced on Wednesday. Sheffield recently told MLB.com that he was "very pleased" with his 2017 campaign, and he is aiming for more success in 2018.
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"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 [Arizona] 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."
Sheffield, who was acquired from the Indians as part of the July 2016 Andrew Miller trade, was 7-6 with a 3.18 ERA in 17 starts for Double-A Trenton. In 93 1/3 innings, Sheffield permitted 94 hits, striking out 82 against 33 walks.
Though he missed time with an oblique injury, Sheffield recovered in time to go 2-2 with a 3.10 ERA with the Scottsdale Scorpions in the Arizona Fall League. That success has Sheffield excited for what he can do in 2018, a season that could feature 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 [helped], just being hungry and getting to go out on the field and compete again, against those top guys. It's time to play ball."
Behind Gore, Puk and Sheffield, the rest of MLB Pipeline's top 10 left-handed pitchers are as follows: Luiz Gohara (Braves), Brendan McKay (Rays), Adrian Morejon (Padres), Kolby Allard (Braves), Jesus Luzardo (Athletics), Stephen Gonsalves (Twins) and Max Fried (Braves).