Sheffield dazzles in AFL debut for Scorpions

Yankees lefty faces one over minimum through five, fans six

Justus Sheffield made 17 starts in the regular season and two in the playoffs for Double-A Trenton this year. (I.B. Lee/

By Staff | October 10, 2017 7:08 PM ET

Justus Sheffield made his professional debut in Arizona three years ago. His return to the state was an impressive one.

In his Arizona Fall League bow, the Yankees No. 4 prospect dazzled, allowing just one hit while striking out six over five scoreless innings as Scottsdale opened its autumn campaign with a 7-4 win over Mesa on Tuesday night.

Sheffield faced only one batter over the minimum, retiring the first eight hitters before a two-out single to center field by Kody Eaves (Tigers) in the third inning. The left-hander followed that with seven more consecutive outs, finishing his day with his final strikeout when he caught No. 12 Nationals prospect Kelvin Gutierrez looking to end the fifth. Sheffield threw 42 of 60 pitches for strikes.

Gameday box score

A former Cleveland prospect who made eight appearances in the Rookie-level Arizona League after being drafted in 2014, Sheffield was in the midst of a strong season this year with Double-A Trenton, having posted a 3.09 ERA through 17 starts, when he was shelved with an oblique strain in early July. The southpaw didn't return to the mound until Aug. 25, making his final three starts of the regular season with the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League Yankees West. Sheffield made it back to the Thunder in time for the Eastern League playoffs and allowed two earned runs in 8 1/3 innings for a 2.16 ERA as Trenton fell to Altoona in the league's Championship Series.

Yankees teammate Billy McKinney helped provide early run support. New York's No. 23 prospect connected on a three-run homer to right-center in Scottsdale's four-run third. The Scorpions added two runs in the fourth capped by a sacrifice fly to center by No. 3 Angels prospect Matt Thaiss.

Eaves led all hitters with a 4-for-4 night for the Solar Sox. The third baseman doubled twice and scored a run, but Mesa went just 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position.

Offseason MiLB include

In other AFL action:

Javelinas 3, Desert Dogs 0

Atlanta's No. 9 prospect Max Fried led the charge as four Atlanta prospects combined to strike out 16 for Peoria. Fried fanned the first four batters he faced and worked around two hits and a walk in the second inning. After finishing the third, he handed the ball to No. 14 Braves prospect Touki Toussaint, who followed a leadoff walk with six straight outs -- four via strikeouts. Josh Graham tallied two strikeouts in the sixth and Corbin Clouse registered three whiffs in two innings. Atlanta's top prospect and's No. 5 overall Ronald Acuna went 2-for-4 with a run scored in the win. Gameday box score

Rafters 4, Saguaros 3

D-backs catcher Michael Perez went 2-for-2 with a double and two RBIs in Salt River's opener. No. 10 Brewers prospect Lucas Erceg added two doubles and scored a run after entering for third baseman Ryan Mountcastle (Orioles) in the sixth. Arizona right-hander Ryan Atkinson earned the win despite giving up two earned runs on four hits and a walk over 2 2/3 innings. Seven relievers followed -- none of whom threw more than one inning -- with Shane Broyles (Rockies) getting the save after a scoreless ninth. Chris Paul (Twins) led the losing side by going 3-for-4 with a pair of RBIs out of the cleanup spot. Gameday box score

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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