San Francisco Giants reliever Sam Selman has gotten off to a hot start since being promoted and is quickly rising up the bullpen totem pole.
Selman put his name on the map in the minors last season where he posted a 2.29 ERA with an incredible 94 strikeouts in only 55 frames as he split time between Double-A and Triple-A.
His performance did not go unnoticed as the Giants promoted him to the major league roster last August.
As is often the case with prospects, his minor league performance did not translate to major league success right away. Selman appeared in 10 games in 2019, but he struggled to the tune of a 4.35 ERA with a 6.12 FIP while still generating about one strikeout per inning.
Admittedly, it is a small sample, but this season is looking like a different story for the 29-year-old. He seems to have quickly earned the trust of Kapler, and he is being used in high leverage situations.
Selman has accumulated seven innings across six appearances where he has produced a 1.29 ERA with a 2.21 FIP. All of his appearances thus far have been against the stout lineups of the Colorado Rockies, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Houston Astros.
He has faced off against several tough, left-handed batters but has not looked overmatched thus far. It is not only the bottom-line results that have been impressive but rather how Selman has generated outs.
The Vanderbilt University product has faced off against 27 opposing hitters, and he has struck 11 of those batters. One of those punchouts was against Jose Altuve where he made the three-time batting champion look helpless:
With a swing like that, Altuve wouldn’t even be able to hit the broad side of a trash can.
The Giants are in a full rebuild and the 2020 season is meant to see which players could carve out a role for the next competitive team. Good teams will always need a shutdown left-handed reliever.
In a small sample, Selman has proven to be very effective at avoiding contact. It is only a first impression, but the reliever is quickly earning the trust of the manager and the fanbase with his electric stuff.
It is early, but Selman is quickly stating a case for a leverage role in the 2021 bullpen.