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2016 MLB Draft: Profile of Jordan Sheffield, Dodgers' No. 36 pick

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Jordan Sheffield struck out 113 batters in 101⅔ innings as a redshirt sophomore for Vanderbilt in 2016.
Jordan Sheffield struck out 113 batters in 101⅔ innings as a redshirt sophomore for Vanderbilt in 2016.
Photo: John Russell | Vanderbilt Athletics

Name Jordan Sheffield

Selection: Competitive Balance Round A, pick 36

School: Vanderbilt

Top 200 Ranking: 28

What he’s good at right now

Sheffield has a live arm with high strikeout numbers in the SEC. Sheffield’s fastball will reach the upper 90’s with sink, and his hard curveball is a true swing and miss pitch. Sheffield is athletic and employs an atypical but repeatable delivery.

What he can be good at in the future

As a six footer, Sheffield isn’t overly projectable, so improvement likely comes from more consistency and improved stamina.

What does he need to work on

Sheffield’s command has improved this year, but he will need to be more pitch efficient to continue starting at the next level. Sheffield will also rush his delivery and might need to adjust his tempo to work every fifth day.

Carry tool

Arm speed, it’s what drives the power on his fastball and curve. At worst, his arm will allow him to be a late inning reliever.

Biggest weakness

Size, stamina, durability… they all run hand in hand. Sheffield wore down during the stretch run, and he could not escape trouble last weekend in the Nashville regional the way he could early in the season. If his pitch efficiency doesn’t improve, he will be a reliever.

ETA

Sheffield will likely pitch sparingly for the remainder of the year after exceeding one hundred innings this spring. As a starter, he might pass both A levels in 2017, reaching Double A by 2018. As a reliever, he could be in the majors next season.

Realistic best case scenario

Sheffield harnesses his stuff enough to reach his number three ceiling, but will probably be more of a six inning/185 inning guy than a workhorse starter. He’ll get strikeouts in bunches but might battle walks as well.

Wrap

Sheffield was in the discussion for the Dodgers at pick twenty in several mocks leading up to today, so taking him at pick thirty six is solid value here. I had him as a sixty grade prospect before he stumbled down the stretch, eventually dropping him to the fifty-five tier. It’s worth trying letting him start, though today my feeling is he ends up at the back of the bullpen. Sheffield could eventually close, or find a role in the middle of the rotation, but few college pitchers have more arm talent than Sheffield.