It's been quite some time since Jordan Sheffield, one of the top high school arms in this year's MLB First-Year Player Draft, took a mound, but he heard his name called nonetheless -- by the Red Sox in the 13th round on Saturday.
"Jordan, when he's challenged, he can really step up," said Brad White, Sheffield's coach at Tullahoma (Tenn.) High School. "I can't think of a bigger challenge than this for a 17-year-old [pitcher]. If he faces this like he has every other challenge, then I like his chances."
Sheffield also played shortstop for Tullahoma and appeared at designated hitter while trying to recover from the arm tightness.
Sheffield, who was ranked No. 47 on MLB.com's initial ranking of the Top 50 Draft Prospects, underwent Tommy John surgery on his prized right arm in April. The operation was performed by renowned orthopedic surgeon James Andrews. Sheffield has not pitched in a game since March 12, when he exited a start after 73 pitches because of tightness in his forearm.
He isn't the biggest player in this year's Draft class, but his athletic frame and fast arm deliver three future above-average to potentially plus pitches.
He was touching the mid 90s over the summer and can sit in the 92-93 mph range consistently, and a dazzling performance at the Perfect Game World Wood Bat Championship last fall helped boost his draft stock when he displayed some impressive velocity at the event.
Sheffield backs up his fastball with a sharp breaking ball that remains a bit inconsistent at this point, but it still has the chance to be an outstanding secondary offering. He maintains his arm speed on his changeup with good sink and deception, giving him a third projectable weapon in the future.
The righty is committed to play ball at Vanderbilt next year, and his operation could factor into his signability.
Michael Periatt is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.