SURPRISE, Ariz — Stop me if you’ve heard this before: Justus Sheffield can pitch.
The New York Yankees’ fourth-ranked prospect and MLB’s 79th-overall prospect was stellar again for the Scottsdale Scorpions of the Arizona Fall League, tossing five scoreless innings on three hits while striking out six against the Surprise Saguaros. Sheffield got his second win of the season in the 11-3 Saturday afternoon victory.
“I liked how I filled up the zone. I really wanted to go out there and let my defense work behind me, work in and out and mix my pitches well,” he said.
After Saturday’s outing, it’s evident as to why Sheffield is so highly-touted in the Yankees’ stocked farm system. The 21-year old southpaw’s ERA sits at 2.37 after his fourth start of the fall. Impressive command — 21 strikeouts and just two walks — is an encouraging sign for Yankees fans after posting a BB/9 rate of 2.56 in 2017.
At two different levels in the regular season, he compiled a 7-7 record to complement a 3.12 ERA. He also struck out 88 batters in 98.0 innings of work.
On the success he’s having, Sheffield said, “I think I’m just having fun with it and getting my work in. These guys behind us are the best defensive players in their organizations, so why would you not go out there and attack the zone and make them work behind you?”
In the Arizona Fall League’s Twitter bio it reads, “MLB created the Arizona Fall League in 1992 to serve as an off-season ‘graduate school’ for top prospects.”
A top prospect he is, but he also owns that title residing in the game’s most prolific organization, one in which is expecting postseason baseball for years to come after the big league club overachieved their way to the American League Championship Series.
To Sheffield, that in itself inspiring.
“It’s very motivating. I’m very excited, I feel like we got big things to come in the near future. We just got to keep working hard and hopefully I’ll be up there soon.”
- Aramis Garcia of the San Francisco Giants opened up the scoring in the top of the second with a two-run blast to left field. He drove in two on Saturday while improving his average to .296
- Brantley Bell, Reds’ prospect and son of Scottsdale manager Jay Bell, finished 4-for-5.
- The Scorpions’ offense put up 11 runs on 13 hits Saturday, falling two runs shy of their season high when they scored 13 on October 19 at Peoria.