Sheffield’s changeup averaged 87.7 mph and returned a pretty decent 15.2% swinging K rate (34% whiffs). It shows an above-average drop and induced a very respectable 37.8% chase rate. Look for Sheffield to continue to refine his control of the changeup (33.9% zone rate last season) as that 3rd pitch will be key to his viability as a starter.
Sheffield’s fastball averaged just under 93 mph and topped out at 95.5 mph. A 12.8% whiff rate (4.4% swinging K rate) was decidedly underwhelming. Interestingly, his four seamer’s spin rate of 1835 RPM was one of the lowest in baseball (0th percentile).
Sheffield threw his slider just over 35% of the time last year. His primary put away pitch (30.2%), the slider returned an excellent 47.5% whiff rate (23.9% swinging K rate), 40.1% chase rate, and a more modest but still reasonable 34.3% zone rate. He showed the ability to emphasize the slider down and out of the zone that’s what you like to see.
Sheffield’s four-seam fastball sits in the mid-90s and maxes out at about 96 mph. It is his main weapon, but needs some work before it is good enough for the majors. Last season he gave up a .333 BA when he threw it.
Sheffield’s slider is his secondary pitch and hitters see it about a third of the time when they face Sheffield. Right now, his slider is his best pitch, being the only one in his repertoire that put up a positive pVal.
Although it was only thrown six times, it is clear that Sheffield needs to work on his changeup. Hitters went 2-for-3 with a home run against it last season.