Prospect Profile: Justin Sellers, SS

Justin Sellers may never win any homerun contests, but the Kane County shortstop has impressed scouts with his all-around baseball skills. We have a scouting report on the 20-year old California native inside…

Justin Sellers 2006 Season
































After an outstanding high school baseball career in baseball hotbed Huntington Beach, CA, Sellers was selected by the Oakland A's in the sixth round of the 2005 draft. Until Matt Sulentic was drafted in the third round this season, Sellers was the highest prep position player to be drafted by the Oakland A's since 2001.

Sellers had a scholarship offer to collegiate baseball powerhouse Cal-State Fullerton, but he chose to sign with the A's quickly. Sellers came to the A's with a reputation for being one of the best high school defensive shortstops and for having an advanced approach to hitting. Those skills gave the A's confidence that Sellers could handle older competition and they sent him directly to short-season A Vancouver, by-passing the Rookie League.

Despite being the youngest player on the Canadians' 2005 roster, Sellers more than held his own with Vancouver. He hit .274 with a .369 on-base percentage and he impressed scouts with his range and throwing at shortstop. Sellers was promoted to low-A Kane County in 2006 and he spent the season as the Cougars' regular shortstop.

At the plate, Sellers had an up-and-down season. He hit well in April (.266 with 10 RBI in 20 games) and June (.297 with one homer) and struggled in May (.223), July (.248) and August (.190). He displayed good plate discipline throughout the season, posting a 58:65 BB:K ratio and he even showed a little pop, hitting his first five professional homers and driving in 46 runs, mostly out of the ninth or first slots in the batting order. He hit much better at night this season (.260 with all five of his homeruns) than he did during the day (.191).

Sellers committed 26 errors in the field, but he was charged with a number of errors on balls he made a play on that other shortstops wouldn't have been able to touch. He also showed good instincts on the bases, stealing 17 bags in 22 tries despite not having overwhelming speed.

Scouting Report

At 5'10'', 160 pounds, Sellers was one of the smallest players in the Midwest League in 2006. He has a wiry frame similar to that of Jose Reyes of the New York Mets, although Sellers is shorter than Reyes. Sellers has quick feet and hands and moves well deep into the hole at short. He has a good arm, but has a tendency to trust his arm too much, which occasionally results in throwing errors on difficult plays.

Despite his small frame, Sellers has occasional power to the alleys. However, he gets in trouble when he starts to swing for the fences and is a better hitter when he is trying to put the ball on the ground or on a line. He is an above-average base-runner with average to above-average speed.

What scouts like most about Sellers is his approach to the game. He is a very smart baseball player and he understands the intricacies of the game extremely well. His father, Jeff, was a major league pitcher and Sellers carries himself with the confidence of a major leaguer. He has a very strong work ethic and is the kind of player who is likely to get the most of his natural abilities, ala David Eckstein of the St. Louis Cardinals.


Sellers' natural position is shortstop and he is a very good one, but he may eventually have to be moved to second if he continues to be blocked by Cliff Pennington in the A's system. Sellers is currently only a right-handed hitter, but the A's have bandied around the idea of making him a switch-hitter, and they may explore that avenue next season. The more versatile Sellers makes himself as a baseball player, the better chance he will have to make the major leagues.

Sellers will be 21 in February and he should be promoted to High-A Stockton to start the season, where he will continue the Ports' tradition of solid fielding middle infielders that was started last season with Pennington and Gregorio Petit. He is still filling out and could benefit from an extra 10 or 15 pounds of muscle over the next few seasons. Sellers will be competing with Pennington and Petit over the next few years for a shot on the A's roster and all three players have similar skill sets. However, with Sellers' solid make-up, he should be a strong contender for a major league roster spot in three years.

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