The Triple-A RailRiders dropped the Governors’ Cup finale on Saturday night, but good news followed shortly after the loss. With the series over, Conor Foley reports that the Yankees are calling up top prospect Justus Sheffield.
Sheffield, 22, ranks as the Yankees’ top prospect according to MLB Pipeline. That list also ranks him at number 27 on their top 100 list. Their scouting report on him is particularly impressive.
“Sheffield could have three plus pitches when all is said and done. His 92-97 mph fastball features some run and sink and is his most consistent offering, though his mid-80s slider may have more upside. His changeup isn’t as reliable as his first two options, yet he still shows the ability to miss bats with it.
Though Sheffield is a little shorter than desired for a starter at 5-foot-11, he still creates downhill plane with his delivery and doesn’t throw with excessive effort. He’s athletic and has been durable as a pro outside of his oblique injury. He improved his control in 2017 and has the potential to become a No. 3 starter.”
The left-hander had a strong minor league campaign in 2018, posting a 2.48 ERA with a 2.98 FIP over 116 innings pitched. Although he started the season with Double-A Trenton, Sheffield spent most of his time with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He also participated in this year’s Futures Game.
In recent weeks, Sheffield has pitched exclusively out of the bullpen. The idea behind his was to prepare him for an eventual September call-up. The 22-year-old took the move in stride, letting it motivate him for this moment.
“I want to get better every day, personally, and I want to continue to get better every day,” Sheffield told DJ Eberle. “I want to show those guys — even though that they say that’ll I’ll possibly will be going up — I still want to show those guys that I can go to the bullpen and I can do this. I can move to this role to help them up out there.”
It will be interesting to see how the Yankees use Sheffield this month. Will he get an actual audition? Or is this just to acclimate him to life in the big leagues? While that remains unknown, it’s fun to just have him up. Fans have followed his progress since he arrived via the Andrew Miller trade in 2016, and now he’s officially with the Yankees.