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MLB Draft 2014: Indians select Justus Sheffield #31 overall

The Indians add an 18-year-old southpaw to their talent pool.

The Indians have selected Justus Sheffield with their compensation pick (#31 overall) in the 2014 MLB draft.

Sheffield (nephew of former MLB slugger Gary Sheffield) is an 18-year-old left-handed pitcher from Tullahoma, Tennessee, where he finished 10-0 with a 0.34 ERA this season. He had 131 strikeouts in 61.2 innings. (!) He was named Gatorade National Player of the Year.

AT 5'10", 196 pounds, Sheffield has a compact build (the Indians tweeted that he's 6'1", but other sources have the shorter height listed). While he lacks size, he has a fastball that already sits at 91-92 MPH, and impressive off-speed pitches as well. He throws a mid-70s curveball and changeup, both of which are advanced for a high school pitcher. He is said to have a clean delivery, and to throw strikes with ease.

When it comes to drafting pitchers, I tend to prefer high school arms, because until pitchers reach the minor leagues, they are often overworked, and high school pitchers haven't been through as many years of that. I'd rather have someone who spent their age-18 to 20 seasons under the monitoring and instruction of the Indians than being asked to throw 130 pitches every fifth day by a college manager. It would also nice to bring in a talent lefty.

Sheffield has a commitment to Vanderbilt, but few players drafted this high turn down the kind of money that comes with the territory. The slot value of the pick is $1,733,000.

The Indians' next pick is #38. It's the competitive balance pick they won in the lottery among small market and low revenue teams last summer.

Follow the draft live and discuss the Tribe's picks and whatever else strikes your fancy in LGT's 2014 MLB Draft Open Thread.