Sheffield was drafted in the first round (#31 overall) by the Indians and was traded to the Yankees on July 31, 2016 as part of the deal that netted the Tribe lefty reliever Andrew Miller. He struggled at times last season with command of his pitches at Class A ball across both organizations, averaging 3.62 BB/9, but it was offset by a solid 9.07 SO/9 rate, and earning a late call up to Double-A Trenton at the end of last season. Now in his first full season with Double-A Trenton at 21 years old, he’s pitching with maturity and confidence beyond his years.
Sheffield has a smaller frame for a pitcher, with a high leg lift and repeatable delivery, and what he lacks in height he makes up for with his ability to generate arm speed and life on his fastball. In my viewing on June 2, his above-average fastball sat 93-to-95 mph (T96) and he commanded the pitch well, keeping it in the bottom half of the zone. His second offering is a hard slider that grades as average, siting 84-to-87 mph and showed late break and some tilt to generate swing and miss on the pitch, though it can flatten out at times and get left up in the zone. He also has an average changeup, sitting in the low 80s, which he commanded well to both sides of the plate though he used it infrequently.
Just three full seasons into his pro career, Sheffield has shown to be durable, having already thrown 342 innings and yet to land on the disabled list. He has pitched into the fifth inning of all but one of his 12 starts this season, displaying his ability to turn over lineups and limiting the damage when he does give up hits (9.25 H/9 rate). He’s dropped his BB/9 rate to 3.0 this season to help limit the traffic on the bases, which is a good developmental sign. If the control profile can stabilize at average, he shows solid potential as a future number four starter.