Yankees’ emerging left-hander gets the start in 2024 Spring Breakout Game

MLB: Spring Training-Detroit Tigers at New York Yankees
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees will take on the Toronto Blue Jays following their 1:05 PM game at George M. Steinbrenner Field for the 2024 Spring Breakout Game. It’s an event that allows Major League Baseball to highlight the stars of tomorrow, as teams trot out rosters full of their top prospects for a seven-inning matchup. Taking the ball for the Yankees’ first-ever Spring Breakout game is Brock Selvidge, their third-round pick in the 2021 MLB Draft, and he’s made a name for himself after an excellent 2023 campaign.

Overshadowed by a disastrous season for the Yankees in 2023, Selvidge was among many young players in their farm system who broke out and improved their stock dramatically. An exciting event for prospect enthusiasts and those with a more casual approach to baseball fandom alike, here’s everything you need to know about the Yankees’ Spring Breakout starter.

Brock Selvidge To Start For the Yankees in Spring Breakout

MLB: New York Yankees-Workouts
Feb 14, 2020; Tampa, Florida, USA; A New York Yankees hat is seen during a spring training workout at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

Last season Brock Selvidge would get his first taste of full-season action, starting in Single-A with the Tampa Tarpons and impressing early. He struck out 28% of batters faced with a 3.38 ERA across 77.1 innings, generating a lot of groundballs while living in the strike zone frequently as well. A promotion to High-A would give him a chance to impress at an even higher level of the Minor Leagues, and while the strikeout rate decreased (21.7%), he was still impressive with a 3.58 ERA across his final nine starts.

His final start of the MiLB season came in the playoffs, delivering 6.2 innings of two-run baseball with seven strikeouts to help the Hudson Valley Renegades advance to the Championship Round. One of the biggest developments for Brock Selvidge came with an uptick in velocity, sitting closer to 93-94 MPH on his fastball down the stretch, and while the vertical movement on it won’t blow you away, the command on the pitch is strong and it generated a 52% groundball rate last season.

The four-seamer and cutter are his two strike-throwing pitches, but his nastiest weapon is a slider with plenty of horizontal movement that can generate plenty of swings and misses. Left-handed sweepers are uncommon as they perform poorly against right-handed batters and while Selvidge’s sweeper also struggles against righties, his cutter and four-seamer hold them to a combined OPS below .500, and he can toss in a few changeups as well if needed against opposite-handed foes.

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The left-hander is a consensus top-30 prospect in the organization, and I ranked him as the Yankees’ 14th-best prospect and the fourth-best pitching prospect in their organization. With Will Warren not participating in the game (could he make the team?), only Chase Hampton (#3) and Henry Lalane (#4) are ranked ahead of him on the pitching side of the ball for the Spring Breakout Game. It’s surprising that Hampton, who is considered the top pitching prospect the Yankees have, isn’t getting the start in this game, especially since he finished a level above Selvidge.

Starting Brock Selvidge doesn’t seem to be a slight against Chase Hampton, but rather a vote of confidence in the 21-year-old southpaw, whom Matt Blake specifically mentioned alongside Kyle Carr in a recent piece by Gary Phillips of the NY Daily News. Three years ago today, Selvidge was still attending classes at Hamilton High School in Arizona, and now he represents the New York Yankees in the Spring Breakout Game. While he won’t factor into the big-league equation this year, he could find himself in Double-A to start the year or midseason.

Last year was his age-20 season, setting career-highs in innings pitched (134.1) and had the lowest FIP in the organization (2.98), and this year is a chance for him to put his name on the map as one of the better left-handed pitchers in Minor League Baseball.

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