2014 Indians 1st round compA pick: LHP Justus Sheffield
With their 1st round compensation A pick (#31 overall) in the 2014 Draft the Cleveland Indians have selected left-handed pitcher Justus Sheffield out of Tullahoma High School (TN).
Born: 5/13/1996 – Height: 5’10” – Weight: 196 – Bats: Left – Throws: Left
Keith Law: 21
Baseball America: 41
Tony’s take: You had to know that the Indians were going to take some risk with this pick and go for a prep arm, and that is what they did taking the top left-handed arm on the board. I would have preferred Reid-Foley here and Ortiz was probably who the Indians wanted but he went just one pick earlier. That said, I see no problem with this pick as he has the bloodlines you like, is an athlete and has some good strength to go along with a good mix of secondary pitches that are very advanced for a high school arm. This is a more polished prep arm that doesn’t appear to be as much of a gamble as some of the high round prep arms in the last few drafts, so it will be interesting to see how he shakes out. I would also expect the Indians to double up on prep players with either a prep arm or bat at #38.
Jeff Ellis: Justus Sheffield is an interesting arm. Last year I talked about how the Indians seemed to target smaller guys who would have gone higher if not for their size. Well that is exactly the story from Sheffield who is listed at six feet but is really less than six feet. He has really good secondary pitches, three of them which are advanced for his age. He is an excellent athlete as well and starts the Indians new theme this year which appears to be bloodlines as both of the Indians first two picks had brothers who were also top prospects. He isn’t who I would have taken there, but I am fine with the pick. If the Indians decided they wanted a left-handed pitcher then I can’t blame them as they took the best one on the board.
Press release: Sheffield, 18, recently completed his senior season at Tullahoma (TN) High School, going 10-0 with a 0.34 ERA (3 ER/61.2 IP) and 131 strikeouts. On Wednesday, the 6-for-1, 180-pound southpaw became the first high school athlete from the state of Tennessee to win a Gatorade National Player of the Year Award after leading his Wildcats team to a third straight district championship and a second round appearance in the Tennessee state playoffs. Past pitching recipients of the award include Zack Greinke ('02), Clayton Kershaw ('06) and Rick Porcello ('07), while Cleveland's 2013 first round selection (5th overall), OF Clint Frazier, earned the distinction last year.
A part-time center-fielder, Sheffield also batted .405/.478/.620 with 13 doubles, 3 homers and 16 RBI at the plate. Sheffield, a 2014 Perfect Game USA First Team All-American and returning First Team All-State selection by the Tennessee Baseball Coaches Association, is committed to Vanderbilt University, where his older brother, Jordan, is completing his freshman year as a RHP on the Commodores baseball team.
Glad he signed quickly, and even better that it was below slot.