Yankees prospect Brock Selvidge is maturing as a pitcher at Double-A (2024)

The Yankees have perhaps baseball’s best rotation and ace Gerrit Cole is on his way back to join them. As if that’s not exciting enough, they also have multiple pitching prospects worth following closely, too. One of them is left-hander Brock Selvidge, who has been very impressive in his first taste of high-minors baseball at Double-A Somerset.

First, before diving in on his stuff and outlook, it’s worth running through his background for those who are not that familiar with the 21-year-old. Selvidge was selected in the third round of the 2021 MLB Draft, so there is still some early-round appeal here. The Yankees gave him their second-highest bonus that year to convince the Arizona high schooler to sign and forgo his commitment to LSU. It all means that his raw tools match the stats to some extent.

Even acknowledging that Selvidge scuffled a bit on Tuesday in a short three-run, 3.2 inning outing, the stats as a whole speak highly of what he’s done thus far in 2024. He has a 3.40 ERA in his first 47.2 innings with the Patriots, with a 3.66 FIP and a 1.24 WHIP across 9 starts. Selvidge can certainly miss bats (49 K’s and a 24.6 percent strikeout rate) but is also experience something of a spike in his walk rate, which stands at 11.6 percent.

Prior to 2024, Selvidge’s walk rate used to park steadily in the 6-7 percent range. The most likely explanation behind it is the increase in difficulty there is between A-ball and the high minors. Aside from the jump from Triple-A to The Show, this is generally considered to be the most difficult level to climb in Minor League Baseball. There are more polished hitters bound for the big leagues, and even some minor-league veterans who aren’t easily fooled by young guns.

MLB Pipeline ranked Selvidge as their 10th-best prospect in the Yankees system. They said nothing but good things about him:

“His athleticism helps him repeat his clean delivery easily, giving him solid control and at least average command. He’s a tough competitor who could begin to move quickly and develop into a mid-rotation starter.”

They weren’t alone in this general assessment, as Baseball America ranked him 11th, though they noted that he would need to improve his changeup and cutter to make it as a starter (plus some other mechanical tweaks).

Over at FanGraphs, Eric Longenhagen ranked Selvidge 18th. He called him “a very tough at-bat for lefties because of his deceptive arm swing and the length of his slider,” and thinks “he could be a deceptive long man or fifth starter.”

But what about Selvidge’s stuff? Well, there have been mixed reviews. For example, PSA’s Smith Brickner saw him back in the Spring Breakout and while he was impressed by his sweeper, he didn’t think too highly of his fastball, which sat in the 90-92 range and topped out at 95 mph back then. (Smith stood by his uncertainty about Selvidge when he checked in on his preseason top prospects a couple weeks ago.)

The heater has some late life, but it will likely define Selvidge’s MLB future. If the Yankees can get him to throw harder consistently or improve the pitch’s shape and utility, his ceiling will be higher. With his current fastball, however, Selvidge will have less room for error and could just be a reliever.

The Yankees have actually already helped Selvidge add some velocity, since he was throwing in the 87-91 mph range in 2022. With the velo spike, his stock has improved in the last two seasons, particularly after he aced Single-A and High-A last year.

A pitcher needs his fastball, at least to some extent, and Selvidge’s isn’t disastrous either. Yankees legend Andy Pettitte, who knows a thing or two about pitching, certainly encouraged him to throw it and trust it when they chatted in spring training. From Matt Kardos’ story at MiLB.com:

“[Pettitte] said just trust your fastball, you’ve got to establish the fastball and everything else is just going to play better than it would be. I said let’s put it in play, so I started throwing the fastball more just to get ahead in the count and get deep into the count in my favor, and it worked. A guy like that isn’t going to steer you wrong.”

Let’s get back to the sweeper, though. It is actually a variation of his slider, since he also throws a “gyro” one that is harder and with less horizontal break (called a cutter by Baseball America, FanGraphs, and other publications). To complete his arsenal, the lefty uses a somewhat inconsistent changeup that Longenhagen liked.

His entire repertoire is available to watch in this highlight reel posted by the Patriots:

5 IP strong for #Yankees No. 10 prospect Brock Selvidge with 6 K and 2 H ️ pic.twitter.com/hD49VLbBde

— Somerset Patriots (@SOMPatriots) May 22, 2024

You can actually see why Longenhagen that “aspects of Selvidge’s delivery look a little strange.” He loses his balance almost completely after delivering the pitch, which is not exactly ideal.

Selvidge is still young enough to keep improving his stuff, command and control. Given the number of pitchers ahead of him in the organizational depth chart (including injured Double-A teammate Chase Hampton, a top prospect), however, it might take a trade for him to get an opportunity. If he continues on his developmental path, an early-2025 debut is possible, if not in the Bronx, then somewhere else.

Make no mistake: Selvidge is a rock-solid prospect. When he is on, he is capable of racking up the whiffs and strikeouts in bunches, like he did on April 27th when he fanned 11 hitters and accumulated a whopping 21 swings and misses. But he remains a bit hit-or-miss and still has to show he can dominate Double-A hitters on a consistent basis in order to move forward.

If the Yankees go hard after a trade piece or two ahead of the deadline, he may well switch teams because he has value to other teams and is very much blocked in New York, at least for now. If he remains with the organization, look for him to finish the year in Triple-A Scranton if he keeps making progress.

Yankees prospect Brock Selvidge is maturing as a pitcher at Double-A (2024)

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