Top 30 Cincinnati Prospects: No. 27

It was a different scenario for Steve Selsky in his second tour at Bakersfield. His first one came after a promotion from Dayton in 2012. Last year he returned after a demotion from Pensacola. He finished strong to salvage his season and should have another opportunity to prove himself in the Southern League come opening day.

In 2013 Steve Selsky showed that he had mastered California League pitching. The problem is that he had already done that before in 2012. That season he lit it up after a midseason promotion from Dayton. Unfortunately he got a second tour in 2013 after failing to hit .200 at Pensacola.

In Selsky's defense he didn't really get an extended chance at AA with less than 100 plate appearances. He finished strong at Bakersfield hitting .297 AVG/.388 OB with 13 home runs in 91 games. Over two partial seasons with the Blaze he's hit .320 AVG/.402 OB/.550 SLG with 28 homers in 160 games.

He's now 24 years old and should get another shot in the Southern League. Action to other prospects pushed him to first base which was the first time he has not played in the outfield as a professional. In 2012 he spent most of his Bakersfield time in right where he ran down almost two putouts per game and gunned down eight base-runners in 62 appearances.

Added versatility may pay dividends if it gives him a shot at regular duty with the Wahoos and an opportunity to make everyone forget about his start to last season. Should he be successful it won't be the biggest obstacle he's overcome during his career. He was drafted by Colorado in a 2010 late round, but instead opted to return to the University of Arizona where he struggled through an injury-riddled final collegiate season. That sabotaged his position in the next draft when he waited until the 33rd round for the Reds to choose him, only twenty-three spots earlier than the Rockies selected him the previous year.

Late selection or not, he arrived a very polished hitter which is no big surprise for a player from an elite college program. The right-hander has walked in over 8.5% of his minor league plate appearances which gives him a nice AVG/OB differential and at the high-A level he's struck out less than 9% of the time. Though he's a bit older than many of the prospects, he already debuted at the AA level on opening day of just his third professional season. If he can continue to exhibit good offensive skills when he returns to sea level he could get some consideration to crack the upper level of the Reds development system.

There will be competition for sure and Cincinnati has had time to rebuild atop their farm system after shipping off multiple prospects in trade packages two years ago. Still, advanced plate discipline along with nice pop is a good combination to gain attention. He's solid enough defensively to stick at first base or either corner outfield. There is a major road block in the Reds' first base pipeline that is expected to last late into Joey Votto's contract, but Selsky acquitted himself well at the new position last year and any opportunity he has to continue showing his skills in the batter's box will give him a chance for further advancement.


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