Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Prospect Countdown: #10 Sam Selman

10. Sam Selman Left Handed Pitcher

Age: 23
Position: LHP
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 165
B/T: R/L
Acquired: Drafted in the 2nd Round of the 2012 Amateur Draft
From: Austin, Texas

2013 Rank: 8

Landon Adams (10): Like fellow Royal Revival authors Joe and Nick, I was able to see Sam Selman in a couple of starts during his Pioneer League stint in 2012. At the time it was apparent that Selman has no business pitching against Pioneer League hitters as he dominated the competition. Among pitchers with at least 60 innings pitched the former Vanderbilt Commodore ranked first in the league in a variety of categories: ERA (1.56), SIERA (1.91), GB% (62.7%), K% (36.3%), K/9 (13.28), H/9 (6.71), FIP (1.56), opponent batting average (.204), and opponent slugging percentage (.276). Overall not a bad debut for the lefty.

In his second season as a Royal, Selman was skipped a level to high-A Wilmington. While the numbers weren't as strong in the Carolina League as they were in the Pioneer League, there is still a lot to like about the Austin, Texas native. While he didn't lead the league in so many categories he ranked very high among pitchers with 100+ innings any several: K% (4th), HR/9 (2nd), K/9 (4th), opponent batting average (2nd), opponent slug (2nd), opponent OPS (3rd).

Selman's problems in 2013, were a direct result of a spike in walks. Selman has a bit of a hitch in his delivery that gives him excellent deception, but also messes with his control. His has an excellent fastball and a dynamite slider. If Selman can keep down the walks he'll be a force. I'm still very high on Selman, but if I was a betting man I don't think I'd bet against him winding up in the bullpen. For now though I am optimistic that he can refine his control enough to develop into a number 3 starter.

Selman will likely open the year in Northwest Arkansas, but it also wouldn't surprise me to see him head to Wilmington, with eyes toward a quick promotion after he shows some improved control. 

Paden Bennett (16): Selman comes in at #10 on our countdown; I think it is pretty clear that we all have high hopes for this kid.  Selman had an impressive season last year while pitching for Wilmington where he hurled 125 innings gave up just 88 hits and struck out 128.  However, there was one negative that stuck out last season and that was his walks.  Selman's BB/9 was 6.1, he walked 85 in those 125 innings.  

He has the stuff to become a plus pitcher in the majors but until he really figures out to locate all his pitches and limit the walks.  This guy has big upside and I can't wait to see him in Northwest Arkansas this season.  I'm looking for Selman to continue to make strides and move through the system quickly.

Joe Cox (11):  All of us at Royal Revival raved over Sam Selman in last year’s top prospect list, where he landed as the number 8 prospect.  This year the 23 year old lefty comes in at number 10, after spending his first full season with the organization.  

He spent the 2013 season in Wilmington, where he had 27 starts.  It is not hard to see the areas where Selman excelled, as well as the areas in which he struggled.  The struggle was singular: control.  Selman had a BB/9 of 6.10, walking 85 batters over 125 innings.  He added to these struggles by hitting 14 batters and throwing 12 wild pitches.  That is a severe lack of control that will obviously need to improve.  

As for what he did well, for me it all starts with his ability to generate ground balls and limit home runs.  So far he has allowed four home runs over 185 innings in professional ball.  He also was able to strike out more than a batter per inning last season.  Selman is able to throw his fastball in the low to mid 90’s and has breaking pitches with plus potential, though they need polishing.  

Selman has the ability to reach the majors, whether it be as a reliever or a starter.  From some scouting reports, it sounds like he has a delivery that is hard to repeat, which is probably what his leading to his control issues.  If he can figure this out he could become a reliable piece in the Royals pitching staff in the future. 

Dan Ware (9):  Coming in at #10 on our countdown, this young man is one reason I'll be going to a few more Naturals games this summer.  Selman, 23, has 185.2 innings in 40 games under his belt, for which he certainly hasn't disappointed.  Although, he does have a couple kinks he needs to work out that were very apparent last season with Wilmington. 

Sam features a low to mid 90's fastball that can touch 98 and also possesses a filthy slider he'll use from time to time.  He does have a changeup, but needs worked on this Spring.  If that can be developed even more, he'll be dangerous on the mound.

As Joe touched on, his biggest problem last year was his command.  His BB rates nearly doubled from 2012 (BB/9 at 6.2 and BB% of 15.3%).  If this keeps up, this issue will only hinder his chances of reaching the potential of a mid-rotation pitcher.  I've read about his delivery, which seems to be a little unorthodox and could be the culprit to his control problem.  Regardless, I do believe he's earned the promotion to Northwest Arkansas, but that's certainly up to the organization on whether he needs to a few starts in Wilmington before heading to the Texas League.  

Nicholas Ian Allen (--): Sam Selman is one of the few prospects on this list I have had the fortune of seeing up close and personal, and boy what a show he put on. Facing the Helena Brewers for the second consecutive start, Selman shoved it for six innings, striking out 10. He allowed just one run on two hits and two walks. That start was just one example of the dominant season Selman had. He was easily the best pitcher in the Pioneer League that season and would have had an ERA under 2.00 if not for one bad outing in August in which he allowed five earned runs. It was his only appearance in which he gave up more than two earned runs (and that happened only once). 

Selman had a somewhat more challenging season in the Carolina League in 2013, but he really excelled down the stretch. In the second half of the season, Selman was 6-4 with a 2.22 ERA in 14 starts and held opponents to a .178 average. He was nearly unhittable in the month of August, allowing just a .121 average against in 31.2 innings. Included in those numbers were his second-to-last start of the year in which he held Potomac hitless for eight innings. He allowed two walks and K'd 11 Nationals. In all, he was no slouch from start to end as he held hitters below the Mendoza line for the season.

As noted, Selman struggles with command. But he is funky. Filthy, even. As he continues to bulk up (he has added about 30 pounds to his 6'3" frame since becoming a professional and is well on his way to 200) injury will be his biggest concern. He has been very dependable so far, so let's hope the weight will continue to make him stronger. He is seemingly ticketed for the big leagues in a couple of years, though time will tell if he is solid enough to make it as a starter. 

Total Points: 78

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