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Good News, Bad News, No News: Mariners prospects Justus Sheffield, Shed Long to start in Triple-A

Mariners LHP Justus Sheffield made his MLB debut in 2018 but will start 2019 in Triple-A. (Getty)

Two of the best stories to come out of Mariners spring training are the performances of top prospects Justus Sheffield and Shed Long.

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Sheffield, ranked Seattle’s No. 1 prospect by MLB Pipeline, has allowed no runs on one hit and one walk in four innings over two starts in Cactus League play, and both manager Scott Servais and general manager Jerry Dipoto praised what they had seen from the 22-year-old left-hander in games and during other work in camp.

Long, a 23-year-old second baseman who the Mariners are looking to convert to a utility role, is Seattle’s No. 12 prospect on MLB Pipeline, and he has shined at the plate over the last month. He has a .273 average with an .862 OPS, one home run, one double, four walks, four RBIs and six runs scored in 11 games.

Despite those strong showings, neither player will begin the season with the Mariners. Sheffield, who made his MLB debut late last season with the Yankees, and Long, who hasn’t played above Double-A, were optioned to Triple-A Tacoma on Monday.

Is that good news, bad news or no news?

“That was always expected to happen, but how long are they going to be there?” 710 ESPN Seattle’s Mike Salk said during Tuesday’s edition of Brock and Salk.

Here’s more of what Salk had to say about each player starting the season in the minors.

Justus Sheffield

“I don’t think he’s going to be down there long, and that’s the one that to me that is closer to bad news. I’d start the kid. Whatever – let’s get him up here, let’s see him, and if you need room to make it happen, well I can think of one overpaid player that it’s time to move on from. I’d have cut Félix (Hernández) and started Sheffield.”

Salk: What about not starting Opening Day upsets Félix?

Shed Long

“Shed Long’s never played above Double-A in his career. Is he going to go spend some time in Triple-A before eventually coming up? Yes, and that’s in everybody’s best interest. Kid’s gotta learn to play the field in addition to everything he can do hitting.”

You can hear the full Good News, Bad News, No News segment in this podcast from Tuesday’s Brock and Salk show.

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Mariners’ No. 3 prospect Justin Dunn turning heads, learning from veterans
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Dipoto sheds light on Mariners prospects contending for roster spots
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What We Learned: Mariners have plenty to like with their outfield depth
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