Colorado Rockies Rule 5 Results

Jordan Sheffield

The Colorado Rockies have selected one player in the 2020 Rule 5. They had two open spots on their 40-man and filled one of them. The organization welcomes right-handed pitcher Jordan Sheffield for the moment. He is the brother of current Seattle Mariners pitcher, Justus Sheffield. They lost outfielder Vince Fernandez in the AAA portion of the draft. The draft was held late Thursday morning.

Rockies Select Jordan Sheffield in Rule 5

Sheffield has been with the Los Angeles Dodgers organization since 2016. They selected him in the first supplemental round of the Amateur Draft that year. Baseball America lists him at 5’10”, 190 pounds. He has thrown 211 and one-third innings in his professional career with a 4.56 ERA, 240 strikeouts and 128 walks. Sheffield reached Double-A in 2019, which was one of his best professional seasons. He threw 55 innings between High-A Rancho Cucamonga and Double-A Tulsa with a combined 3.27 ERA and 74 strikeouts. Most of his 49 appearances came in relief, but he did have two starts. It’s likely that Sheffield stays in the bullpen.

He was not on LA’s top-30 prospect list prior to the Rule 5 Draft, but he has some intriguing aspects of his game. FanGraphs’ prospect breakdown from earlier this year grades Sheffield’s fastball as a 60 with a 70 curveball. They also list a changeup and cutter in his repertoire, but those might go away as relievers do not need four pitches and only occasionally need three. It’s hard to say that Sheffield’s tools will translate at altitude, but mid-90s velocity and good breaking stuff is worth a roll of the dice. Every little bit matters when pitching has been as troublesome for Colorado as it has been. It is also interesting that they targeted the Dodgers’ farm system. It’s a possible bit of gamesmanship that deprives the more successful franchise of one more potential weapon.

What Rule 5 Represents

Rule 5 is usually pretty meaningless in the grand scheme of baseball. It almost never produces quality production. Its intent is to prevent teams from hoarding prospects without penalty. However, it occasionally gives a team a surprise like Odubel Herrera, who made the All-Star game in 2016 with the Philadelphia Phillies after they picked him out of the Texas Rangers organization. Roberto Clemente is the most famous representation of what can happen in this portion of the offseason.

Sheffield has a difficult path to reach the majors. Colorado’s right-handed relief pitching is fairly deep. It will take something impressive in the offseason and Spring Training to secure a roster spot in 2021. It’s curious that they failed to select a left-handed pitcher given the lack of options from that side, but there’s plenty of time to find someone. On the other side, losing Fernandez is not significant. He was a left-handed outfielder in an organization that already has Charlie Blackmon, Raimel Tapia, and Sam Hilliard. The Rockies have a thin outfield, but Fernandez is already 25-years-old and hadn’t played above Double-A where he struck out 32.7 percent of the time. It was hard to imagine the former 10th round selection making a significant impact given his three true outcomes tendencies.

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