No. 68 overall prospect scattered three hits in seven-inning gem
By Danny Wild / MiLB.com | June 19, 2017 3:00 PM
Justus Sheffield's plan on Sunday was simple: zeros.
"When you get up, obviously, the biggest thing is to put up a zero," the Yankees prospect said. "I hold myself to a high standard every time out there."
Sheffield, the Yankees' No. 6 prospect, posted seven zeros on June 18, striking out three and holding Double-A Erie to three hits and a walk for his first career complete game as Trenton blanked the SeaWolves, 6-0, in the opener of a doubleheader. The 21-year-old improved to 6-4 and lowered his ERA to 2.99 with the gem, which earned him the Eastern League's Pitcher of the Week honor on Monday.
Sheffield, a first-round pick in 2014, has allowed one earned run or fewer in five of his last six starts for Trenton. He owns a 2.42 ERA in June after finishing May with a 3.67 mark.
"I knew we had seven [innings] today and I wanted to get seven in," Sheffield told MiLB.com. "If we were just playing a normal game, I'm shooting for nine, even though that can be tough at times with the pitch count and things like that. I feel like if you set yourself at a high standard, you'll be able to be efficient, keep the pitch count low and pitch deep into games. That's one of my goals this year."
Sheffield said he kept his arm and mind sharp in the fourth inning when his lineup scored six runs in a lengthy half inning. The decision paid off.
"I went back under the stadium in the cages and threw a little bit, walked around, stretched out a little bit just so I stayed loose because I remember earlier in the season where it was kind of a long inning and I ended up going out there not feeling warm because I was sitting down for so long," he said. "I just didn't feel like I was feeling before that inning. I thought back to that and told myself, 'Let's get up, move around, get the arm moving.'"
Sheffield originally came up with the Indians but was sent to New York last July in a deadline deal that sent Andrew Miller to Cleveland. Sheffield also earned Pitcher of the Week honors on May 28 and ranks third in the EL with 64 strikeouts. Clint Frazier, the other big name in that trade, has 12 homers and 39 RBIs in 63 games with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Sheffield went 3-1 with a 1.73 ERA in five starts for Class A Advanced Tampa after joining the Yankees last summer. He appeared in a pair of Major League Spring Training games for New York in March, striking out four and allowing one run in 3 2/3 innings.
Below is a full list of the Minor League Pitchers of the Week for June 12-18: