Justus Sheffield
22-Year-Old PitcherRP
2019 Fantasy Outlook
Sheffield might be best suited for a high-leverage relief role, but after getting traded to the rebuilding Mariners, he should get a fair audition in the rotation. He headlined that November trade that sent James Paxton to the Yankees. The industry consensus is that Seattle valued Sheffield and the rest of the haul more than most, so it would be a mistake to assume that trade validates him as a high-end pitching prospect. The 5-foot-10, 195-pound southpaw has a couple nasty pitches -- mid-90s fastball with life, plus high-80s slider -- but his changeup, command and pitchability all lag behind, hence the speculation he may be better suited getting outs in the eighth and ninth innings. The Mariners will likely send Sheffield back to Triple-A until they gain an extra year of control in late April and perhaps for several months as he works on smoothing his rough edges. He will be worth a flyer when he debuts, but is not stash-worthy in most formats. Read Past Outlooks
$Traded to the Mariners in November of 2018.
Dealt to Mariners
PSeattle Mariners
November 19, 2018
Sheffield was traded to the Mariners along with Dom Thompson-Williams and Erik Swanson in exchange for James Paxton, Ryan Divish of The Seattle Times reports.
Like Paxton, Sheffield is left-handed and sits in the mid-90s with his fastball. His prospect stock has slipped since early in the 2018 season, as his stuff has backed up slightly. This move improves Sheffield's stock in dynasty leagues, since he should now have no problem joining a big-league rotation fairly early in the 2019 season, whereas the Yankees may have kept him at Triple-A for further development or deployed him out of the bullpen. In addition to Sheffield's plus fastball, he has a plus slider and will flash an average or better changeup. His stuff plays down slightly due to his fringe command, but he can dominate when he is throwing strikes. The Mariners are in a full rebuild, so they may play service-time games with Sheffield early in the season, but he should be up in the big leagues at some point in the first half if he is performing well.
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Pitching Stats
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Left/Right Pitching Splits
Since 2016
No Stats
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BAA Batters K BB H 2B 3B HR
Since 2016vs Left .200 8 0 3 1 0 0 0
Since 2016vs Right .500 6 0 0 3 1 0 1
2018vs Left .200 8 0 3 1 0 0 0
2018vs Right .500 6 0 0 3 1 0 1
2017vs Left 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2017vs Right 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2016vs Left 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2016vs Right 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
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Home/Away Pitching Splits
Since 2016
ERA at Home
ERA at Home
No Stats
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Since 2016Home 0.00 3.00 1.0 0 0 0 0.0 9.0 0.0
Since 2016Away 16.20 2.40 1.2 0 0 0 0.0 10.8 5.4
2018Home 0.00 3.00 1.0 0 0 0 0.0 9.0 0.0
2018Away 16.20 2.40 1.2 0 0 0 0.0 10.8 5.4
2017Home 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2017Away 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2016Home 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2016Away 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
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Stat Review
How does Justus Sheffield compare to other relievers?
This section compares his stats with all relief pitcher seasons from the previous three seasons (minimum 30 innings). The bar represents the player's percentile rank. For example, if the bar is halfway across, then the player falls into the 50th percentile for that stat and it would be considered average.
94.4 mph
Strand %
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Defensive Stats
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Stats Vs Today's Lineup
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Recent RotoWire Articles Featuring Justus Sheffield
The Z Files: Building an Aceless Staff
13 days ago
Todd Zola looks at what it would take to build a competitive pitching staff without using early picks on true aces and focuses on upside arms like Zack Wheeler.
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13 days ago
James Anderson wraps up his look at American League systems and thinks workload could be the only thing holding Forrest Whitley back in 2019.
MLB Barometer: Early Risers -- Pitchers
29 days ago
With three openings in the Houston rotation, Forrest Whitley's path to a 2019 debut is clear. Derek VanRiper looks at Whitley and other early draft-season risers on the mound.
Mound Musings: The Kids on Parade Watch List for 2019
146 days ago
Brad Johnson ends the season with his favorite column about MLB’s up and coming pitchers, including Alex Reyes, who, Johnson says, when healthy, is a beast on the mound.
AL FAAB Factor: Waiver Pickups of the Week
157 days ago
Erik Siegrist looks over the waiver wire heading into the final two weeks of the season and notes that Reynaldo Lopez is pitching far too well to be unrostered.
Past Fantasy Outlooks
The fact that we all immediately think of the same handful of guys (Tim Lincecum, Johnny Cueto, Sonny Gray, Marcus Stroman) when trying to list recent pitchers under six feet tall who have experienced prolonged success in big-league rotations tells us how rare they really are. Sheffield, a 5-foot-11 lefty, has a chance to join that unique company in the coming years. He has a plus mid-90s fastball with late life, an above-average slider and an average changeup, but his command still needs some work. A strained oblique limited him to 98 innings -- the lowest full-season total of his career. This led to an assignment to the Arizona Fall League, where he logged a 3.10 ERA, 0.84 WHIP and 22 strikeouts over 20.1 innings. Many evaluators who saw him in the AFL said that was the best they had ever seen him pitch. He will start the year at Triple-A, and while he won't be rushed to the majors, he could get there on merit sometime this summer.
Sheffield came over to the Bronx Bombers from the Indians along with Clint Frazier as the second piece in the Andrew Miller deal. The southpaw has a live arm and finished the season on a high note. The 20-year-old posted a 1.73 ERA and 27:10 K:BB in 26 innings with High-A Tampa to end the 2016 campaign. Opposing batters hit a putrid .157 against him over that span. In fact, Sheffield has averaged more than one strikeout per inning throughout his brief time in the minors. Sheffield's control could use a bit of work. though: He walked 53 batters in 125.1 innings last year. In addition, he does not have the prototypical size of a future frontline rotation anchor at 5-foot-10, 195 pounds. Still, Sheffield possesses four pitches and has the tools to contribute in the big leagues as early as 2018. He should begin the 2017 season in Double-A Trenton.
After a red-hot finish to the season, Sheffield’s 2015 numbers leave very little to be desired. The 19-year-old southpaw distinguished himself as the top pitching prospect in the Indians’ offense-heavy farm system, but despite the gaudy strikeout totals in the lower levels, Sheffield probably only has the upside of a No. 3 starter in the big leagues. He has a mid-90s fastball, but neither his curveball or changeup project to be elite pitches. That said, the fact that he already has three above-average offerings with solid command separates him from most pitchers below Double-A, so his numbers should remain impressive at High-A in 2016. The elephant in the room is that Sheffield measures in at 5-foot-10, 196 pounds, and will likely always be discounted slightly due to his height until he shows he can succeed against big league hitters. Still, this is a starter’s profile, and one worth monitoring in most dynasty formats.
Based just on pure stuff and control/command, Sheffield, the 31st pick in the 2014 draft, profiles as a No. 3 starter in the big leagues. However, whether fair or unfair, the first thing that should be noted with the 18-year-old lefty is his height, or lack thereof, as Sheffield measures in at 5-foot-10. He appears to be able to make it work, featuring three plus pitches (fastball, curveball, changeup), but his height will be a bugaboo that follows him throughout his rise up the organizational ladder. Teams can always find a place for a bat-misser from the left side, but Sheffield’s worth in dynasty leagues is tied to his ability to stick as a starter. Fortunately, he has a thick frame (196 pounds), so he should be able to log the requisite innings. Sheffield will likely start 2015 in short season ball, meaning he won’t be in the big leagues until approximately 2018.
More Fantasy News
Formally added to roster
PNew York Yankees
September 18, 2018
The Yankees officially selected Sheffield's contract from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Tuesday.
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Called up Saturday
PNew York Yankees
September 15, 2018
Sheffield's contract was selected by the Yankees on Saturday, Conor Foley of The Scranton Times-Tribune reports.
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Not guaranteed to join Yanks
PNew York Yankees
September 1, 2018
Sheffield may not join the Yankees as a September callup, Pete Caldera of The Bergen Record reports.
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Shifting to bullpen
PNew York Yankees
August 21, 2018
Sheffield was moved to the bullpen Friday in preparation for his September callup by the Yankees, Jack Curry of YES Network reports.
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Expected to join Yankees this season
PNew York Yankees
August 15, 2018
General manager Brian Cashman said Wednesday that Sheffield will pitch in some capacity for the Yankees this year, Brendan Kuty of NJ.com reports.
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