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2016 MLB Draft Profile: Jordan Sheffield, RHP, Vanderbilt

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Possibly the best right-handed pitching prospect in the draft this year, Jordan Sheffield brings a powerful trio of pitches to the table

Information

Height: 6' 0"

Weight: 185 lbs.

B/T: R/R

Classification: College (RS Sophomore)

College:  Vanderbilt University

Summary

Jordan Sheffield is one of the top right-handed pitchers, if not the top right-handed pitcher, available in the draft this year.

Originally drafted out of High School in 2013 by the Red Sox in the thirteenth round despite having blowing out his elbow and having Tommy John surgery, Sheffield elected (wisely) to attend college as a Red Shirt Freshman at Vanderbilt University.  He acquitted himself fairly well in his first season after rehab in 2015, as is shown in his pitching statistics below, but control issues (43 walks in 60 innings) followed him to the Cape Cod League, where he struck out 19 and walked 15 in twenty innings.  Coming into 2016, scouts felt that his live arm could still be a first round pick if he answered some lingering questions with his 2016 performance.  Sheffield's response?

Year Team Lg Level Age W L ERA G GS CG SHO IP H R ER HR BB SO WP WHIP H9 HR9 BB9 SO9 K/BB
2015 Vanderbilt SEC College 20 5 2 2.85 22 6 0 0 60 39 21 19 3 43 55 6 1.37 5.85 0.45 6.45 8.25 1.28
2016 Vanderbilt SEC College 21 8 5 2.73 15 15 1 1 95.2 76 40 29 2 36 107 7 1.17 7.15 0.19 3.39 10.07 2.97
NCAA Career (2 seasons) 13 7 2.77 37 21 1 1 155 115 61 48 5 79 162 13 1.24 6.63 0.29 4.56 9.35 2.05

Savvy observers will note that the walks per nine innings were cut nearly in half, while the strikeouts per nine jumped by nearly two strikeouts.  The strikeouts per walk ratio jumped by 1.69, and he gave up fewer home runs over the course of the season despite pitching more than thirty-five additional innings.

Sheffield features a pretty unique windup, coming set fairly open before closing his stance on the mound in lieu of a traditional step back or to the side of the rubber before opting for a relatively high energy leg kick.  Essentially, his windup looks much like his delivery from the stretch does, but with a slightly different starting point.  Watch the videos below, it's interesting.

Sheffield features a powerful mid-nineties fastball with excellent arm-side life and a slider which occasionally flashes devastating lateral movement and depth.  His change up has also shown quite a bit of promise, and is rated by some (including John Sickels) as his second best pitch.

Sheffield was fairly shelled on April sixth by LSU, but rebounded in his next start for his best performance of the year by pitching his only complete game, a 14 strikeout gem of a shutout against Kentucky.

He lacks the size commonly sought in top of the rotation arms, but he's shown more than enough arm to be a highly regarded starting pitching prospect.

Ceiling

With a fastball that is drawing 70 grade potential, two good (flashing plus) secondary offerings, and the developing ability to limit walks and miss bats, Sheffield's ceiling can reasonably be called that of a number two or number three starter in the big leagues.

Floor

A power arm in middle relief seems a solid floor for this college prospect, with the main question marks surrounding him relating to size, the energy expended in his delivery, and the obligatory concern regarding having had Tommy John surgery.

Projected Draft Round

Clearly a first round draft pick, would not be surprising for him to be gone before 1-17 when the Astros pick.

Will he sign?

If he's drafted in the first round as expected (perhaps as high as twelfth or so) then it seems very likely that he will sign.

Bibliography

Highlights from Sheffield's complete game shutout of Kentucky:

Sheffield speaks with the press after his dominant performance against Kentucky:

John Sickels:

"Sheffield has always had a fine fastball, consistently in the mid-90s and with enough movement to draw 70 grades. He also has a very good change-up and has made good strides developing his curveball this spring; both secondary pitches now rate as above-average. His mechanics are reportedly cleaner and more consistent this year."