For a Major League Baseball team to be successful in each years June Amateur Draft they not only have to “hit” on the early draft picks, but also do deep dives to discover hidden gems as you move past the top 5 to 10 rounds. Sometimes these searches take you to places that have only produced a handful of players drafted in the past 50 years. In 2018 this was the case for Pittsburgh Pirates as they identified a potential diamond in the rough from a small liberal arts college in Ashland, Virginia.
Colin Selby was drafted in the 16th Round of the MLB June Amateur Draft from Randolph–Macon College. This 6’1” 210 pound right handed pitcher had spent his college years at a Division III school, but had caught the eye of some MLB scouts due to his command/control; limiting base runners at a well above average rate, while striking out 126 batters in only 97 innings of work. Immediately after being picked by the Pirates he was assigned to the Bristol Pirates (Pittsburgh’s Advanced Rookie Level Affiliate) of the Appalachian League. Having already pitched more innings than he had in the previous two years combined Selby struggled to a degree in his 11 starts for Bristol that year; ending the season with a 4.50 ERA, a 1.238 WHIP and 41 K’s in 47.2 innings pitched.
In spite of a less than optimal start to his professional career, Selby had shown more than enough to earn a promotion to the Greensboro Grasshoppers (Pittsburgh’s Low A Affiliate) of the South Atlantic League to begin the 2019 season. Surrounded by a talented group of starting pitchers including Pittsburgh Pirates #17 Prospect, Steven Jennings, Noe Toribio and Brad Case, along with others; Selby established himself as one of the more consistent pitchers in the rotation. Also taking into account a stint on the IL for the majority of August, his numbers are all the more impressive to me. In 88 innings pitched the young hurler produced a 1.114 WHIP and a 2.97 ERA. He also increased his K/9 to 8.8.
Had the MiLB season started on its normal track this spring, Selby would have more than likely found himself in a Bradenton Marauders uniform along side the aforementioned Case, #21 Pirates Prospect Max Kranick and #27 Pirates Prospect Aaron Shortridge in the starting rotation. With a mid-90’s fastball, two solid secondary pitches in his slider and changeup and good command of all three he should continue to build upon his K/9 and maintain a consistent WHIP. This sets him up to be a strong back of the rotation starter for the Pirates in the near future, with an ETA at PNC Park of 2023.