Jordan Sheffield | RHP
Sheffield, 20, is Gary’s nephew and he’s from the relatively small town of Tullahoma, Tennessee. He was considered a first round talent out of high school in 2013, but he blew out his elbow as a senior and needed Tommy John surgery, which caused him to drop to the 13rd round (Red Sox). Sheffield rehabbed as a true freshman at Vanderbilt before returning to the mound last year. He has a 2.38 ERA with 101 strikeouts and 33 walks in 90 .2 innings this spring.
At 6-foot-0 and 196 lbs., Sheffield inevitably draws lazy comps to other short-ish righties like Marcus Stroman and Sonny Gray (another former Vandy ace). Sheffield throws harder than those two and lives in the 93-96 mph range with his fastball, and he’s able to hold that velocity deep into games. He also throws a mid-80s changeup and a slurvy low-80s breaking ball, both of which are out pitches on their best days. The change is more consistently excellent than the breaking ball. Among all the college arms in this draft class, Sheffield has the best chance for three above-average pitches. The only drawback is the effort in his delivery, which robs him of command. Sheffield has the stuff to start. The concern is he won’t be efficient and will be a five-and-fly guy long-term. Plus he has Tommy John surgery in his history. That’s kind of a big deal even though he’s been healthy since.
Both Keith Law (subs. req’d) and Baseball America ranked Sheffield as the 23rd best prospect in the draft class in their latest rankings. MLB.com had him a bit higher at 19th. The Yankees pick 18th. Sheffield obviously has premium stuff and good baseball bloodlines — his brother Justus was a first round pick in 2014 (31st overall by Indians) — so the unteachables are very good. The only red flags are the elbow and his inconsistent command. And I guess fastball plane, which is a concern for all pitchers on the short side. For what it’s worth, the Yankees have been connected to Sheffield in a few mock drafts recently, and those tend to be informed speculation. There’s probably more than cursory interest there.