Yankees Justus Sheffield May Be Organization’s Most Underrated Prospect

Justus Sheffield was the second piece in the deal that sent Andrew Miller to the Indians. He has done an impressive job since coming over to the Yankees, but seems to be often overlooked in the stacked farm system.

The Yankees acquisition of top pitching prospect Justus Sheffield was overshadowed by the inclusion of blue-chipper Clint Frazier in the same haul of talent New York got for Andrew Miller. Big names like Frazier, Gleyber Torres, Billy McKinney, and Dillon Tate have gotten more media attention since the deadline, but Sheffield may end up being the most important player they acquired this season.

Since coming over to the Yankees Sheffield has been brilliant, pitching to a 1.73 ERA in five starts with High-A Tampa before earning a promotion to Double-A Trenton Thunder to finish the season. He’s made one start for the Thunder, allowing no earned runs over four innings of work, while striking out an incredible nine batters.

All together between the Yankees and Indians, Sheffield has gone 10-6 with a 3.09 ERA and 9.3 K/9. His control is still a work in progress, with 3.8 BB/9 on the season and 3.3 BB/9 in his young professional career. 

The 20-year-old righty isn’t a big guy at only 5’10” and 195 pounds. He is a bit undersized for a starter but that has not affected him so far. As with any guy his size, however, you do have to worry about durability.

The 31st overall selection in the 2014 draft, Sheffield has a plus fastball that he can throw up to 96 but most of the time it will be in the 92-93 MPH range. He also has an above average curveball and an average changeup but both need a bit of work. Sheffield has below average control but scouts say that is something he can fix.

MLB Pipeline ranks Sheffield number seven in the Yankees system at the moment, which is good for the title of top New York pitching prospect. He also cracks their most recent Top 100 list at number 84. 

Sheffield is most likely to end up as a solid mid-rotation option rather than an ace but has the capability to become a quality number two starter if he reaches his ceiling . Sheffield and James Kaprielian can be a deadly 1-2 punch in the Yankees rotation to go along with the great hitting prospects they already have assuming Kap gets healthy next year.

We should expect to see Sheffield in the Bronx by the sometime during the 2018 season and maybe a little earlier if he keeps performing the way he is now. The future is very bright for the Yankees, and Sheffield is going to be a major part of their future playoff teams for many years to come.