Reds sign former Yankees top prospect

Well, this is interesting.
New York Yankees pitcher Justus Sheffield
New York Yankees pitcher Justus Sheffield / Paul Bereswill/GettyImages

The Cincinnati Reds lost a left-handed pitcher last week after releasing Justin Bruihl. The Pittsburgh Pirates swooped in and inked the lefty to a major league contract. Bruihl, who'd been pitching at Triple-A Louisville, is now part of the Bucs' bullpen.

But the Reds offset the loss of their left-hander by signing another one. Cincinnati agreed to terms with former New York Yankees prospect Justus Sheffield. The southpaw agreed to a minor-league contract late last week and was assigned to the ACL Reds on June 8th.

Sheffield was, at one time, one of the top pitching prospects in baseball. Originally drafted in the first-round of the 2014 MLB Draft by the Cleveland Guardians, Sheffield has bounced all over the league the past few seasons, and his last big league appearance came in 2022 when he pitched for the Seattle Mariners.

Reds sign former Yankees top prospect Justus Sheffield

Sheffield was part of a massive trade deadline deal back in 2016 that sent the lefty to the Bronx along with Clint Frazier and J.P. Feyereisen. In return, Cleveland was able to secure left-handed reliever Andrew Miller.

Sheffield worked his way up through the Yankees' farm system until finally making his big league debut in 2018. The following offseason, Sheffield was once again part of a blockbuster trade. This time the lefty was shipped to the Pacific Northwest. Sheffield was part of trade package that saw him join the Seattle Mariners, and sent James Paxton back to the Yankees.

Most of Sheffield's major league experience came with the Mariners where he went 12-12 with a 5.40 ERA and 4.67 FIP. Sheffield has struggled with walks throughout his career, but the Reds are probably hoping that pitching coach Derek Johnson can unlock some of that potential that saw the lefty rated among the best pitching prospects in Major League Baseball.

With Graham Ashcraft having been optioned to Triple-A and Brandon Williamson still on the 60-day IL, Sheffield now gives the Reds added depth in the minor leagues. Sheffield will likely be stretched out at the team's complex in Arizona and then join Connor Phillips, Lyon Richardson, and Christian Roa as part of the Louisville Bats' rotation.

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