Rancho Cucamonga, California —— Entering play on Wednesday night, Los Angeles Dodgers right-handed pitching prospect Jordan Sheffield is 3-8 with a 4.73 ERA over 22 starts with multiple affiliates in the Dodgers’ organization, including most recently the California League‘s Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, with 96 strikeouts against 101 hits and 53 walks over 97.0 innings pitched in 2017. I observed the former CBA (2016) draft pick in his August 15 start at LoanMart Field against visiting Stockton; below is Baseball Census‘ full Jordan Sheffield scouting report, including video.
Jordan Sheffield Scouting Report — Video
Our video of Los Angeles Dodgers right-handed pitching prospect Jordan Sheffield shows his game pitches across that August 15 start against the Stockton Ports, where he faced off—in his second-ever Cal League start—against A’s prospect Norge Ruiz:
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Jordan Sheffield Scouting Report — Notes
To begin Tuesday night’s start, Jordan Sheffield sat 94-95 mph with his fastball, an impressive and sneaky look that exploded late at the plate. By the time the third inning had rolled around, though (and also as Sheffield began to work predominantly from the stretch), the Los Angeles Dodgers prospect started sitting 90-91 mph more regularly, a notable drop-off from his significantly harder early-game velocity readings. He couples the fastball with two off-speed looks: an 87-88 mph changeup, and an 81-83 mph slider.
The changeup has a ton of life to it, though more horizontal than vertical; rather than tumbling down in the zone early on Tuesday, it was absolutely taking off arm-side with a ton of very late run. The slider is a hard (and more conventional) breaking ball, with 10-to-4 break, and tight spin. Sheffield buries it well down and glove-side, giving him a good strike-three pitch that comes out of his hand like a fastball only to break late.
Jordan Sheffield is a very good athlete, and has a lot of max-effort tendencies in his delivery, perhaps indicating he’ll one day fit better with the Los Angeles Dodgers in the bullpen. He’s not the biggest guy in the world, either, listed at 5’10” and 190 lbs., and inevitable durability concerns may hasten his move to relief. But he repeats his mechanics pretty well, even for a max effort look, and consistent release points with good arm speed combine to give him a chance at good-enough command and control to survive with his lively stuff.
Jordan Sheffield Scouting Report — Projection
Long term, I firmly believe Jordan Sheffield’s best days are ahead of him as a relief pitcher. The righty already nearly shows a max effort delivery while extended as a starter, and I think a move to short-stint work will bring out more velocity from his exceptional raw arm strength (or, at the very least, keep him sitting 94-95 mph for the entirety of his outings rather than dropping back quickly to 90-91 mph). His slider looked very, very promising in the limited looks of it I had on Tuesday night, and I’d imagine a move to the bullpen might play that pitch up into a legitimate power breaking ball that’ll give hitters fits.
Above all, with his stuff and delivery, Jordan Sheffield is likely destined fairly soon for a high-leverage relief role, especially considering the wealth of starting pitchers the Los Angeles Dodgers have at their disposal. There’s no sense not to let him keep starting for the time being, of course, but in another years’ time in the upper minors, I’d expect to see Sheffield transitioned to the bullpen to prepare for a seventh- or eighth-inning type set-up role in the big leagues one day.