Thursday, June 09, 2016

The Dodgers Select Jordan Sheffield from Vanderbilt - Welcome to the Dodgers!

With the Dodgers last pick in the 1st round, 36th overall, of the 2016 Draft they pick Vanderbilt University right-handed pitcher Jordan Sheffield.  The 21-year old stands 5' 11" tall. You can follow Jordan on twitter at: @jordan_sheff.  Per
His brother Justus was a first-round pick of the Indians in 2014, and Sheffield looked like he'd go that early the year before until he had Tommy John surgery. The Red Sox made a strong run at him after selecting him in the 13th round, but he turned them down to attend Vanderbilt, where he redshirted in 2014. Sheffield returned last year to play a key swingman role as the Commodores finished second at the College World Series, then he showed the best pure stuff in the Cape Cod League during the summer. Of all the pitching prospects in the 2016 Draft, Sheffield may have the best chance to develop three plus offerings. His fastball can sit at 94-96 mph and reach 98, and he has maintained his velocity in the late innings of his starts. Both Sheffield's hard three-quarters breaking ball (which is more likely to become a slider than a curveball) and his circle changeup can be out pitches at times, helping him challenge for the Southeastern Conference strikeout lead while fashioning a 32-inning streak without allowing an earned run this spring. All that said, Sheffield does come with concerns. His combination of explosive stuff and small stature draws Tom Gordon and Marcus Stroman comparisons, but his size and his medical history lead to concerns about his durability as a starter. So does the effort in Sheffield's delivery, as he often overthrows and has yet to prove he can find the strike zone on a consistent basis.
BTW, Jordan had Tommy John Surgery in 2013, via Nathan Rode at Baseball America.  Here are some other reports and stories worth checking out:
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. His strikeout rate has spiked sharply, going from 8.25 K/9 last year to 11.08 this spring, with the improved secondaries the main reason. Even better, he's cut his walk rate in half, going from 6.45 last season to 3.31.
Sheffield is a very skilled righty and the brother of Justus Sheffield, who was taken by the Indians in the first-round of the 2014 draft.  Sheffield has two plus pitches (fastball and slider) and the potential to develop a third (changeup). He does tend to overthrow and needs to work on repeating his delivery. He also has a troubling injury history and that could push his stock down some. Overall, Sheffield has plenty of potential and could be a future star at the big league level if he stays healthy.
In honor of his selection by the Dodgers I decided to make a couple fantasy Baseball cards of him.  For the card on the left I using a photo taken from and the 1979 Topps Baseball card design.  For the card on the right I grabbed another photo taken from John Russell/Vanderbilt University and the 1972 Topps Baseball card design.

UPDATE:  Below is an excerpt from a press release from the Dodgers:
With their third pick before the second round, the Dodgers selected Vanderbilt University right-handed pitcher Jordan Sheffield, who was rated by Baseball America as the 12th-best pitcher in the draft and the 23rd-overall prospect. The 5-foot-10, 195-pound redshirt sophomore and Golden Spikes Award semifinalist went 8-6 in 16 starts this season. posting a 3.01 ERA (34 ER/101.2 IP), and struck out 113 batters against 40 walks. The Tullahoma, TN, native went 13-8 with a 2.84 ERA in 38 games (22 starts) during the course of his career at Vanderbilt. The 21-year-old was also scouted by Lamb.

“He is very athletic, maybe one of the better athletes in the draft at any position. and he is up to 96 and has big arm strength,” said Gasparino. “He is a highly competitive kid, and he knows the game and understands professional baseball really well. His changeup has really developed this year into a plus pitch, and the breaking ball has always been a calling card for him.”

* Please follow on twitter @ernestreyes *
* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *

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