Yankees most underrated prospects headed into the 2018 season

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Justus Sheffield

While outfielder Clint Frazier was the centerpiece of the blockbuster Andrew Miller trade, the Yankees made it clear that acquiring left-hander (and nephew to Gary Sheffield) Justus Sheffield, was just as crucial in completing the deal.

Justus enjoyed a successful year in Double-A Trenton in 2017 on his way to a 3.10 ERA and a trip to the Arizona Fall League. Many expect Sheffield to start this year in Triple-A Scranton and he may very well make his major league debut before the end of the season.

While most fans think of Chance Adams as the Yankees’ top pitching prospect, Baseball America ranks Sheffield higher than Adams. Baseball America gives the lefty the best slider in the Yanks’ system to go along with a fastball that reaches the upper 90s, as compared to Adams’ who sits in the mid-90s.

Furthermore, when you see Sheff’s stuff, it becomes more evident as to why Baseball America ranked him so high.

After a successful trip to the Arizona Fall League, Sheffield’s stock is continuing to rise, yet he doesn’t get the appreciation he rightfully deserves. While his ’17 BB/9 rate of 3.2 can still use some work, it is still lower than Adams’ rate of 3.5.

In the AFL, Sheffield limited his walks to just 1.3 BB/9 and didn’t give up a single home run on his way to a 3.10 ERA and an AFL All-Star appearance against some of the best prospects in baseball.

Scouts there said he looked like he had the stuff of a top of the rotation-type pitcher. Sheffield has already developed two other breaking pitches that are crucial to success at the major league level.

It was the addition of a third pitch that allowed 23-year-old breakout right-hander Luis Severino to come back and succeed, which culminated in him finishing third in the AL Cy Young vote.