Tonight I had the privilege of watching the Idaho Falls Chukars, and I was definitely pleased that I had the opportunity to watch 2012 first round pick Sam Selman on the hill. Selman, a lefty, entered the draft as a projectable arm but whose numbers didn't match up with the pure stuff. He was said to have an electric fastball as well as a slider that at times also was a plus pitch. Tonight, he didn't disappoint.
One thing I noticed immediately about Selman is that he has a bit of a hitch on the back end. If you are familiar with the whipping action that Aaron Crow has, imagine that on a lanky lefty. It isn't quite as pronounced, but it is noticeable. The lefty also clearly has a dynamite fastball and it didn't take opposing hitters long to take notice; the first hitter of the game saw three fastballs on the corners and never even took the bat off his shoulders.
Throughout the first three innings, Selman was lights out. He threw 39 pitches, and 26 of them were strikes. However, in the fourth Selman seemingly lost his command. He began the inning by throwing six straight balls, but thanks to a double play he was able to get out of a jam only allowing one run. Had Elier Hernandez not missed on a diving attempt at a shallow fly ball, Selman likely would have escaped the inning totally unscathed despite throwing 11 balls out of 17 pitches.
It was from there on that I was really impressed by Selman. Rather than fumbling around for the next couple of innings, Selman regathered himself and proved to be just as dominate over the last two frames as he was the first three. There are no radar readings in Kindrick, but I heard that Selman was sitting in the low 90s.
He struck out several batters on a very nice slider, but at times he failed to get on top of the ball and would cause the catcher to reach high or wide to prevent it from going to the backstop. Quite frankly, Selman's fastball command was so good that he could've gotten through the evening on the fastball alone. It is for this reason that I believe he needs to be at a higher level than he is currently playing. He has been well seasoned by the SEC and he needs opposing hitters to challenge his fastball more than they are capable at the Rookie level.
Selman finished the night with 6 ip, 2 hits, 1 earned run, 2 walks, and 10 strikeouts.
*I have notes on several other players and will be watching Idaho Falls all weekend, so be sure to check back for some more insights.