Sunday, March 24, 2013

Prospect Countdown: #8 Sam Selman

8. Sam Selman Left Handed Pitcher

Age: 22
Position: LHP
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 165
B/T: R/L
Acquired: Drafted in the 2nd Round of the 2012 Amateur Draft
From: Austin, TX

Paden Bennett (15):  Look out for Sam Selman.  This guy has great stuff and can get the strikeout when he needs it (or even when he doesnt need it).  He isn't just a strikeout guy though, he has the ability to get batters to hit the ball on the ground which appeals to any major league team.  Ground ball pitchers can always find a place at the big league level and Selman can do that.  I look for Selman to move very rapidly through the system.  He should dominate in Wilmington with Kyle Zimmer, and Kyle Smith.  What a fun trio of arms they will be to watch.

Joe Cox (8)The 22 year old lefty Sam Selman is one of my favorite prospects in the Royals system.  While working in the Pioneer League I consistently found Selman in the leaderboards in most pitching statistics.  Drafted in the second round of last year’s draft, Selman signed quickly enough to get 12 starts in rookie ball with Idaho Falls.  Selman was a ground ball fiend, generating tons of ground balls and allowing only one home run.  Selman also dominated with strike outs, getting 89 K’s in only 60 innings.

While some scouts see Selman ending up in the bullpen, it should be interesting to see how he develops as a starter in the near future.  Having turned 22 last winter and coming from college, Selman could be a candidate to move quickly through the system.  Should he be able to stay healthy during a full season of professional ball as a starter, Selman could be a fast riser and an exciting arm to monitor.

Damion Mandalas (9):  After watching Selman last season in the Pioneer League, I came to one conclusion: he had no business pitching at that level. Quite simply he was way to advanced and his stuff was simply too dominate for Pioneer League hitters to pose any sort of a threat.

I spoke with some Idaho Falls personnel and was told that the reason for his assignment and lack of promotion was because the Royals wanted to keep close tabs on his workload due to a concern about his arm action. This over course led me to internalize a couple of questions.

  1. Why is Selman's workload easier to monitor in the Pioneer League than the Midwest League?
  2. How worried about the Royals about Selman's arm action and if they are very worried then why did they draft him with a second round pick?
My best guess at the first of these questions is that Rookie League baseball lends itself better to limiting workload than full season ball. The Chukars were out of the Pioneer League race very quickly in both halfs and I don't think even optimistically, the Royals expected Selman to dominate like he did.

Selman does have a bit of a hitch in his delivery. Obviously, the major con here is that the delivery is tougher to repeat. Also, with more moving parts, there is a greater concern that arm problems could arise. However, the hitch also grants Selman a bit of deception that enables his 92-96 mph fastball to play up at an even higher level. 

Given the stuff I saw this summer, it is hard for me to imagine a scenario in which Selman doesn't at least reach the Majors as a reliever. However, if his change up can come along even just a little bit he could be a very strong starter given his plus fastball and plus slider.

Dan Ware (9):  I know I'm repeating myself over and over, but Selman is definitely a pitcher to keep an eye on, and I am not the only one who is saying this.  Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star had a little Q&A last month (Link) and mentioned four pitchers to watch this season, including Selman: Jason Adam, Miguel Almonte, and Kyle Smith.  Not a bad list right there.

Sam had a phenomenal pro debut with Idaho Falls, compiling a 5-4 record with a 2.09 ERA in 60.1 IP, striking out 89 batters while walking just 22.  His groundball and flyball percentages were very impressive, 62.7% and 11.9% respectively. I'd like to add that he gave up just one HR, and that is pretty promising.  I read on twitter that his most recent outing in ST came on March 14th as he threw three scoreless innings, fastball touching 89-92 mph, 93 a few times and 94 once, while throwing a "quality" curveball.  Selman should be apart of a very solid rotation in Wilmington this season, along side Kyle Zimmer and Kyle Smith, and if they are to move up to Northwest Arkansas, this will be a very fun summer.

Total Points: 83

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