Justus Sheffield, the Indians’ 2014 first round draft pick (31st overall) was arrested on charges of aggravated burglary and underage drinking in connection to an incident on Monday in Tennessee. From reading the article on the break-in from The Tullahoma News, it sounds like a fantastic example of bad decision making from a kid who’s had way too much to drink.
The 18-year-old Sheffield told police that he went to the home around 4:30 a.m. in order to “discuss some issues” with Brody Thomasson, one of the men who lived there. Thomasson’s roommate initially heard knocking at his door, and woke up to find Sheffield and two other men in his kitchen. Sheffield eventually made it to Thomasson’s room and started to yell at him and threaten him for “messing around with his girlfriend.” By the time police arrived, Sheffield’s two friends had run for it, and Sheffield reportedly smelled strongly of alcohol. After his arrest, Sheffield posted his $5,500 bond and will appear in court on February 5.
When I first read about this arrest, all I could do was sigh repeatedly and shake my head. You’re sitting around drinking with your friends, underage (strike 1) and you suddenly decide “I need to talk to the guy that’s messing around with my girlfriend!” (strike 2) Rather than just firing off a drunk, angry text message (like any normal, self-respecting drunk would do at 4 a.m.) you decide to head over to the guy’s house…and go ahead and let yourself in. Strike 3, you’re out…and arrested. (See, I used strikes because Sheffield is a pitcher).
The Indians had no formal comment on the incident – just that they are aware that it took place and they are in the process of gathering information.
Sheffield was the Gatorade National Baseball Player of the Year, and was even the grand marshal of the 2014 Tullahoma Area Chamber of Commerce Christmas Parade. A left-handed pitcher, he threw two no-hitters as a high school student and went 11-0 with a 0.34 ERA during his senior year. Sheffield also struck out 131 in 61.2 innings pitched. After he was drafted, he pitched 20.2 innings with the Indians’ Arizona Rookie League team, going 3-1 with a 4.79 ERA, 1.597 WHIP and 29 strikeouts.
Even though he may not miss any significant time from the 2015 season due to this incident, it’s never good to see your first round pick get arrested during the offseason. He’s certainly not the only first round pick to run afoul of the law; the Indians have a couple of other examples. Former 2007 first round pick Beau Mills (who is no longer in baseball) was arrested while with the Akron Aeros in 2011, charged with severely injuring a bouncer during a fight. Lonnie Chisenhall, the Indians’ 2008 first round pick, likely fell to the Indians at 29th due to prior legal issues. In 2007, Chisenhall and another player, Nick Fuller, were kicked off of the University of South Carolina’s baseball team for stealing money and electronics.