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.
Red Sox start Day 3 with infielder Asuaje
Through 10 rounds of the First-Year Player Draft, the Red Sox had yet to select an infielder, but that all changed on Day 3, as the Red Sox picked a slick-fielding shortstop from Florida. With their 11th-round pick, Boston took Carlos Asuaje from Nova Southeastern, a Division II school in Florida, on Saturday.
A native of Venezuela, Asuaje was raised in Florida. He has consistently played well at Nova Southeastern for the last three years, where he drew the attention of many professional scouts. This year, Asuaje hit .320 with 13 doubles, 33 RBIs and a .449 slugging percentage.
"It was ridiculous the way he dominated our league," said his college coach, Greg Brown, a former scout. "He has the best hand-eye coordination I've ever been around."
Asuaje makes hard contact using a compact swing, which he also showcased in the Cape Cod League last summer. Listed at 5-foot-8 and 155 pounds, he doesn't hit for much power, profiling more as a speedy, top-of-the-order hitter. He was 32-for-35 in stolen base attempts this season.
"I think he's a true leadoff, which is one of the hardest things to find these days," Brown said. "Red Sox Nation is going to love him."
Asuaje played mostly second base in college but moved to shortstop halfway through the spring, and he has played third base as well. As a professional, he is considered to be best suited for second base, where he has soft hands and solid range.
Red Sox end Drehoff's wait in Round 12
Frustrated with not hearing his name called through the first 10 rounds of the First-Year Player Draft, Jake Drehoff decided to go to the pool with his friends to take his mind of it.
It didn't take long for the left-handed pitcher to be selected on Day 3, though. Less than an hour after the Draft's third day began, he received a call from his adviser that he had been selected by the Boston Red Sox in the 12th round on Saturday.
"I was ecstatic," he said. "I know the Red Sox are known to have a great organization. I was thrilled to get drafted by them."
Drehoff, who played his college ball at Southern Mississippi, is a 6-foot-4, 185-pound lefty who says his changeup is his best pitch.
He also throws a slider and a fastball, which sits between 87 and 91 mph.
The Red Sox have made left-handed pitching a priority in the Draft this year as Drehoff is the fourth southpaw Boston has selected through the first 12 rounds.
Drehoff had a 5-5 record this season while posting a 3.54 ERA in 81 1/3 innings. He struck out 69 batters.
To get to the big leagues, Drehoff said he'll need to work on his consistency.
"I need to get more consistent and tighten up my breaking ball a little bit and get better with my location," he said.
Red Sox take Gwynn pupil Romanski in 14th round
Hitting is an art and few are better equipped to teach it than former MLB hitting extraordinaire Tony Gwynn.
The Red Sox selected one of Gwynn's pupils in the 14th round of the First-Year Player Draft on Saturday when they drafted catcher Jake Romanski out of San Diego State, where Gwynn coaches.
Romanski hit .303 for the Aztecs in his senior year and was named all-Mountain West.
He is the second catcher the Red Sox have drafted this year behind third-round selection Jon Denney.
Red Sox take OF Hudson in 15th round
With their 15th-round selection in the First-Year Player Draft on Saturday, the Red Sox selected their third outfielder in Bryan Hudson.
Hudson, who hails from Mill Creek High School in Georgia, is listed at 6-foot-1 and 185 pounds. He bats left, throws right and is currently committed to play for Darton State College, which is also located in Georgia.
The Red Sox drafted outfielders Jordon Austin in the sixth round and Forrestt Allday in the eighth.
Michael Periatt is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.