MLB Draft Primer: The 2016 College Pitchers

Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /
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MLB Draft: Vanderbilt
Mandatory Credit: Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports /

Sheffield actually comes in ranked higher than Tyler on MLB Pipeline’s list, but I do not believe that Pirates would select him if he was on the board.  The first red flag is that he had Tommy-John surgery in high school in 2013.  With that being said he has pitched healthy since.  However, what will keep the Pirates from taking him is that fact that is only six feet tall and 185 pounds.

If there is one common thing among the Pirates’ selection is that they are always projectable.  They always have good height, broad shoulders, and a physical lower half.  Sheffield has none of these.  Yes, there is the exceptions in the league like Tim Lincecum and Marcus Stroman, and  but the Pirates will not take that chance.  The Pirates are an advanced metric team and metrics tell them that a six-foot-three guy is more likely to succeed in this league that an undersized player.

Does that mean Sheffield is a bad pitcher? No, in fact if not for his size he would probably be a top ten pick.  He has the best three pitch mix in the draft with a fastball that sits in a range of 94-96 miles per hour.  He also throws a hard slider that he gets consistent swings and misses with and he also has strong command of his circle change and gets outs with it.

Taking his advanced pitchability into account, Sheffield could be the fastest pitcher to reach the majors in the draft.  Unfortunately, it will most likely be as a relief pitcher.  Teams picking in the bottom of the first round and are contenders once again this year may look at him as a potential September call up to pitch out their bullpen. The Pirates would fit this mold for sure, but the Pirates also cannot give up first round picks for players they plan on using as relievers.

Next: A Project Arm