RIGHT HANDED PITCHER
|Born: June 27, 1989
Drafted: 3rd Round, 80th Overall, 2008 (Royals)
How Acquired: Rule 5 draft (minor league phase)
High School: Mullen (CO) HS
WTM’S PIRATE PLAYER PROFILES
|Sample is a big RHP who was considered raw when drafted out of high school. His fastball in his first year sat at 92-94, reaching 96, but was in the 91-93 range in his second year. His main secondary pitch is a knuckle curve and he also throws a change. Baseball America ranked him as Kansas City’s 14th best prospect after his first two seasons, but his control issues got worse in full season ball. He’s not a groundball pitcher. He’s had reverse platoon splits as often as not since he reached full season ball. The Pirates selected him in the minor league phase of the 2013 Rule 5 draft.
Sample obviously struggled badly with his control in his debut, although he at least missed a lot of bats.
Sample spent most of his second season in the advanced rookie Appalachian League and pitched much better, holding opponents to a .184 average.
The Royals moved Sample up to full season ball and things didn’t go well. Opponents hit only .231 against him, but walks were obviously a major problem.
Sample continued struggling in high A. He didn’t walk nearly as many, but he got hit harder and his K rate cratered.
The Royals sent Sample back to high A for a second year and he continued to struggle. Midway through the season he moved to the bullpen. Overall, he had largely the same year as in 2011, except his K rate rebounded.
Sample missed the first two months of the season, then pitched mainly in relief, once again in high A. His already-shaky control disappeared and he walked over a batter an inning.
The Pirates probably think they can help Sample make progress with the strike zone. He hasn’t had extensive experience pitching in relief, so a move to the bullpen might help. Nevertheless, he’ll start 2014 in the Altoona rotation. Given that he hasn’t pitched above high A and that he walked over a batter an inning there in 2013, it’s an interesting move.
|2014: Minor League Contract
|Signing Bonus: $500,000
MiLB Debut: 2008
MLB Debut: N/A
MiLB FA Eligible: 2014
MLB FA Eligible: N/A
Rule 5 Eligible: Eligible
Added to 40-Man: N/A
Options Remaining: 3
MLB Service Time: 0.000
|June 5, 2008: Drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the 3rd round, 80th overall pick; signed on June 6.
December 12, 2013: Selected by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 draft.