Although he was pulled from a start in which he was throwing a no-hitter Saturday, there was nothing but good vibes from Wilmington left-hander Sam Selman.
The Class A-Advanced Blue Rocks eventually beat Potomac 1-0 in 10 innings. Still, it had to be a bit rough to get pulled after 97 pitches, right?
“It was, but at the same time, I’d reached my pitch count at that point and we didn’t score any runs in the top of the ninth inning, so it would have been high risk, low reward for going back out there,” Selman said in a phone interview. “I trust Steve Luebber, our pitching coach, and (manager) Vance Wilson that they had my best interest in mind. I really appreciate that.”
Selman, a 6-foot-3 left-hander, has put together a nice second half for Wilmington, going 5-4 with a 2.39 ERA. In that span, he has 71 strikeouts in 41 innings.
A second-round draft choice last year, Selman has thrown 120 1/3 innings this year. That’s nearly double last year’s total at Rookie-Advanced Idaho Falls. However, Selman did pitch 76 innings in the spring at Vanderbilt.
Still, Scott Sharp, the Royals director of player development, has been pleased with Selman’s progress this season.
“It’s good to see,” Sharp said. “He’s gotten better throughout the year, which is the goal for all of these guys. He’s been better in August than in April. He was jumping a level going from short-season last year right to the Carolina league and missed a level in between.
“It usually takes those guys a little bit longer to get their feet under them. Sam is definitely going in the right direction.”
Selman had a 4.79 ERA before the All-Star break, so the second half has been a big improvement.
However, one area that has been troublesome is walks. In the first half, Selman walked 43 in 56 1/3 innings. He’s improved on that (41 walks in 64 innings), but admits it’s still an issue.
“The walks are definitely higher than I wanted,” he said. “That just comes from me trying to nibble at the corners and try and be a little too fine with my pitches as opposed to just attacking guys.”
In Saturday’s outing, which was his longest of the season, Selman only walked two and struck out 11.
“My fastball was locating really well on the corners and Parker (Morin) did a great job of catching and framing the balls on the outside and I was able to able to finish with sliders late,” Selman said. “Throwing that for both strikes and balls really helped me knock down my walks and increase my strikeouts.”
Selman said his fastball has been clocked in the low 90s, although he has hit as high as 95. The biggest adjustment he’s had is working through the rough times and staying patient.
“You make 27 starts in a year,” Selman said. “Sometimes you’ve got your A-game working and you’re pitching lights-out and everything is working. Other times you see you don’t have all your pitches working that day and you’ve still got to struggle through and try and get guys out and help your team win.
“That’s probably been the biggest takeaway this season, just being able to be consistent every outing.”
There’s no question Selman had his best stuff going on Saturday.
“Everything was just clicking,” Selman said. “I had a lot of strikeouts, because I was able to locate my slider for a strike when I wanted to and that really kept the hitters on their toes.
“It was an exciting day. It was a good outing. I had most of my stuff working, fastball, slider, change-up were all working well. ... It just so happened that they didn’t like sliders that day, so it just worked out for me.”