Scout's Video View: Justus Sheffield
At 21 years old, Yankees lefthander Justus Sheffield is one of the game’s brightest young pitching prospects. Baseball America sent video of Sheffield to Leon Wurth, who was an assistant coach at Murray State and Georgia Tech from 1977-1990, and a scout with the Yankees, Brewers and Braves from 1991-2017. He is credited as the signing scout for Yankees catcher Jorge Posada and outfielder Marcus Thames, among others. Wurth saw Sheffield in person this year, and based his opinion on those viewings as well as the video sent from BA.
Delivery: Sheffield has a durable, well-proportioned frame and a build that brings to mind Johan Santana. He has a clean, simple repeatable delivery with a quick, loose arm with a free and easy arm action. He appears extremely athletic and shows a solid-average ability to field his position.
Fastball: Sheffield’s fastball typically comes in between 93-95 mph and can touch a few ticks higher as well. His four-seamer features solid-average life up in the zone, and his two-seamer has occasional plus armside bore.
Slider: His slider projects as an average out pitch versus both left and righthanded hitters. From the video, it appears to be his current go-to pitch, and it comes in at 84-88 mph with depth not unlike a curveball.
Changeup: Sheffield’s third pitch is a changeup, which also is a solid-average out pitch presently and projects to plus against righthanders and plus-plus against lefthanders. The changeup was used more often as the season progressed and appeared to be a particular point of emphasis during the Arizona Fall League.
Command/Control: His athleticism will help him continue to hone his command and control, and he should have plus-plus control and plus command of all three pitches when he’s a finished product.
Pitchability: Sheffield already exhibits a very impressive mound presence for someone his age, and shows the ability to compete at a very high level with runners on base. He appears to be in control of his emotions at all times, and I like his business-like attitude.
Summation: Because of his combination of plus stuff across the board as well as the potential for plus or better command and control and strong work ethic, Sheffield has the ceiling of a No. 2 starter in the major leagues.