Top 30 Reds Prospects: No. 11

Steve Selsky started out 2012 with a solid performance at Dayton before his bat caught fire after a promotion to Bakersfield. The past two years he's made quite a comeback since injuries derailed his final collegiate season at Arizona. The 23 year-old outfielder is set to move up the Reds prospects list further in AA this season.

The California League has a reputation for being hitter-friendly and last season Steve Selsky contributed to it. He started off his second professional season at Dayton with three home runs in 59 games. After a promotion to Bakersfield he homered in his first two at-bats before blasting fifteen long-balls in 69 contests. His low-A/high-A slugging percentage jumped from under .400 to over .600 after the move and he piled on the average/on-base pct., increasing from .281/.322 to .348/.420. The Cali League venues certainly helped, but there had to be something else going on to change a nice season in the Midwest League into a monster one against more advanced competition.

It's no big surprise that a power increase came to Selsky's game because while in high school he represented California in an international home run derby. After that he played at the University of Arizona and was drafted by the Cubs in a late round in 2010. He opted to return to college for another season which turned out disastrous. A broken wrist and hamstring injury limited him to 18 ineffective games with the Wildcats after hitting .370 the previous year. The Reds selected him in the 33rd round in 2011 and he went on to hit .311 in the rookies leagues that fall.

The peripheral stats look good too. He's striking out about once every five plate appearances on average and walking around 8% of the time to provide the nice AVG/OB differential. Getting plunked by thirteen pitches last season contributed to that. He's even swiped a few bases and been successful in 21 of 25 attempts.

All of his action defensively has been in the outfield corners. His arm is strong enough for right field where he cut down eight runners in 62 games at Bakersfield. Now that he's added power to his game it's easier to play him the more offensive-minded spots where he's made only three errors over his first two professional seasons.

It looks like the Reds could be indicted for larceny for picking up such talent close to the end of the draft. Selsky did come out of a top NCAA program, so it's not a big surprise that he arrived polished. Of course college players are supposed to do well in the lower levels and the Reds have probably seen enough of him in single A, so he should hit Pensacola this season at the age of 23. Injuries and sign-ability issues caused him to wait longer in the draft, where his services were obtained with a $75,000 bonus. It appears Cincinnati is benefitting from his earlier misfortunes. However, in the minor leagues performance forces progression and now that he's a couple of years away from cracking an MLB roster the outcome from being the 1,015th player selected should be more appealing to Selsky as well.

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