Braves add former top prospect to bolster pitching depth

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With the injuries to Max Fried and Kyle Wright, who are both expected to miss a couple of months, the Braves are in dire need of starting pitching depth.

Jared Shuster and Dylan Dodd are not major-league ready, Kolby Allard is also on the 60-day IL, and Michael Soroka could use more time in Gwinnett before he returns to the majors. At this point, the Braves just need to add some warm bodies with some semblance of major-league experience that could potentially eat some innings, and they may have done so in the form of a former top prospect Justus Sheffield.

Sheffield was a first-round pick in 2014 by Cleveland and quickly became a top 100 prospect. He was shipped to the Yankees for Andrew Miller in 2016 and then was traded again to Seattle for James Paxton. The Mariners hoped he would eventually be a staple in their rotation, but he was never able to find his footing in the majors.

Over three years in Seattle, Sheffield recorded a 5.50 ERA in 39 appearances (32 starts), and he was eventually outrighted to their AAA affiliate this season, where was even worse. Sheffield has appeared 10 times in 2023–all in relief–and owns a 14.04 ERA and 3.240 WHIP. He’s walked more than double the amount of batters he’s struck out and given up 17 hits over just 8.1 innings, leading to his release.

A few years ago, acquiring Sheffield might have been significant, but right now, he’s lucky to even be with an organization. I know some people might think about what he once was and hope he can turn things around in Atlanta, but I’m not holding my breath. There’s very little chance he ends up pitching in Atlanta, even with the injuries to Max Fried and Kyle Wright.

Photo: Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire

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