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New York Yankees send top prospect Justus Sheffield to Mariners for James Paxton

Welcome to MLB hot stove season. The New York Yankees made a big splash and landed James Paxton. Early reports are Justus Sheffield in the headliner.

We took a look last week right here at Minor League Ball at why the Yankees should pursue Paxton when the rumors began. Just days later it came to fruition, with the Yankees sending their top prospect along the way.

The prized get is lefty Justus Sheffield. This past weekend, Sheffield was one of our LHP prospects we were excited about to make their MLB debut as a starter this season (read more HERE). What did we say?

Trade rumors are swirling around the Yankees and veteran starters, and you can bet that Sheffield’s name is in the mix. That doesn’t mean he will be traded, but doesn’t mean he won’t. Either way, Sheffield should make his debut as a starter in 2019 somewhere at the very least.

Sheffield came to the Yankees in the Andrew Miller deal and pitched a mere 2.2 innings in the big leagues out of the bullpen before heading to his third club. He dealt with some injuries early on in his career, but he has the stuff that makes him one of the top left-handed prospect in the game. He has three plus-pitches, with an electric mid-90s fastball, and while his slider and change are exciting, they are also inconsistent in command, though much improved in 2018.

Erik Swanson is also heading to the Mariners. Swanson was part of the Carlos Beltran deal and never made it to the Bronx, dealing with a few trips to the disabled list in 2018. The 25-year-old, 6’3” righty was once one of the Rangers top prospects, and still has very interesting stuff and back-of-the-rotation potential. He went 3-2 in 13 starts (14 appearances) in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre with a 3.86 ERA, a 1.06 WHIP and a 78:14 K: BB ratio in 72.1 innings. Swanson was Rule 5 eligible and was going to have a tough time finding a spot on the Yankees 40-man but has a chance to contribute quickly in Seattle.

Dom Thompson-Williams, the last prospect in the fold, was drafted in the fifth round of the 2016 MLB Draft out of South Carolina. The 23-year-old centerfielder split the 2018 season between Charleston and Tampa. His 10 games in Charleston, his second brief stint there, was too easy and he quickly jumped to the Florida State League. There he slashed .290/.356/.517 with 16 doubles and 17 home runs, adding 17 stolen bases. He certainly has some nice tools across the board, but in a crowded Yankees outfield, his chances of becoming more than a fourth outfielder were slim.