For one Sheffield brother, it has been a season to remember, as Jordan Sheffield has almost been unhittable this year. That performance led him to being called up to the Tulsa Drillers, the double-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
For Justus Sheffield, it’s been the complete opposite, boiling into frustration, as he searches for consistency. Justus was recently demoted to the Arkansas Travelers on Saturday, the Seattle Mariners’ double-A affiliate, after previously spending the majority of this year at the triple-A level in Tacoma.
As fate would have it, the two will have a reunion on the diamond later this week, as the Travelers host the Drillers for a four-game series that gets underway on Thursday.
“It’ll be the first time that I’m going to see him in professional baseball, which will be crazy,” Jordan said.
Jordan is a 2013 Tullahoma High School graduate, before attending Vanderbilt University. In 2016, the right-handed pitcher was a first-round draft selection of the Los Angeles Dodgers organization.
Since being drafted, Jordan had spent time in the Arizona League, before being called up to the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes in 2017, the Dodgers’ Class A-Advanced affiliate. In 2018, Jordan was plagued by on the field troubles and a forearm injury, which sidelined him for the majority of last year.
Before hitting the disabled list, Jordan had an ERA of 7.33 in just seven starts. However, once he returned from injury, he was moved to the bullpen, where he didn’t allow a run seven of his final nine outings of the year.
That success carried over into this season for Jordan. In 15 appearances, he allowed just five runs in 17.1 innings pitched, for an ERA of 2.60, striking out 26 batters, while only allowing six hits and five walks.
That success was rewarded and on May 15, Jordan was promoted to double-A, joining the Drillers. In 10 appearances out of the bullpen for the Drillers, Jordan has 11.2 innings pitched, allowing just one run on four hits, walking five batters, while punching out 17 more.
“This year has been fun,” Jordan said. “I’m just trying to go out there and have fun and try to get back to the basics enjoy my teammates and enjoy the company that I’m around and basically not to do too much. It’s almost like being a kid again. I’m looking forward to being at the field again and looking forward to playing and trying to win.”
Initially when being promoted to Tulsa, Jordan’s role was to be a reliever. However, since then he has been moved to the team’s closer, already recording three saves for the Drillers.
“Any role is exciting, but when the game is on the line and it’s a close game, there’s a little bit more adrenaline that goes into it. So, obviously, you are going to be a little more excited,” Jordan said. “Any role like that is obviously going to be a lot more intense.”
Justus, a 2014 Tullahoma High School graduate, was a first-round selection of the Cleveland Indians straight out of high school. In 2016, he was traded to the New York Yankees organization, where he spent the last three years, including making his major league debut at Yankee Stadium last September against the Boston Red Sox.
During this past offseason, Justus was part of a trade that sent him to Seattle, while the Yankees received starting pitcher James Paxton from the Mariners. The majority of this year, Justus has been with the Rainiers, making one appearance for the Mariners.
Coming out of the bullpen, Justus pitched three innings against the Texas Rangers in Seattle on April 26. In that outing, Justus was a little erratic for the Mariners, surrendering a pair of runs, including a home run and four walks.
In 12 starts with the Rainiers this year, Justus had put together a record of 2-6 with an ERA of 6.87. In 55 innings pitched, he allowed 42 earned runs, 12 of which have come off home runs, while surrendering 41 walks and striking out 48 batters.
After being demoted to Arkansas, Justus has made one appearance with the Travelers. On Tuesday, the left-hander allowed just a run in five innings of work off of four hits. Justus struck out seven batters, while issuing two walks.
As of press time, Arkansas had yet to release its expected starters for its upcoming series against Tulsa. However, it is probable that Justus would get a start against the Drillers.
That four-game series is scheduled to get underway on Thursday and conclude on Sunday. First pitch on Thursday and Friday are slated for 7:10 p.m., while start time on Saturday and Sunday is scheduled for 6:10 p.m.
David Hess optioned to Norfolk
Aside from the Sheffield brothers, Tullahoma has one other graduate who is currently playing at the minor league level. David Hess, a 2011 THS graduate, was recently optioned to the Norfolk Tides, the triple-A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles.
For the majority of this year, Hess had been a starter for the Orioles, struggling severely. After nearly tossing a no-hitter at Toronto in April this year, Hess seemingly lost rhythm after that start. In 13 starts this year in Baltimore, Hess has a 1-9 record, with a 7.36 ERA in 66 innings pitched.
The 25-year-old has yet to make a start for Norfolk this year, after officially being demoted on Wednesday. As of press time, Hess’ role in Norfolk is undefined, reports by several outlets state that he could be coming out of the bullpen for the Tides.
Hess was selected by the Orioles in the fifth round of the 2014 MLB Draft. He officially made his debut with the Orioles in May of 2018 and has been with the organization since that time.