Pittsburgh Pirates 2013 Top Prospects: #17 – Adrian Sampson

The Pirates Prospects 2013 Prospect Guide is now on sale. The book features over 250 prospect reports, the 2013 top 50 prospects, and the most comprehensive coverage of the Pirates’ farm system that you can find.  While the top 50 prospects are exclusive to the book, we will be releasing the top 20 prospects over the next few weeks.  Be sure to purchase your copy of the book on the products page of the site.

To recap the countdown so far:

20. Jin-De Jhang, C

19. Andrew Oliver, LHP

18. Vic Black, RHP

We continue the countdown with the number 17 prospect, Adrian Sampson.

Adrian Sampson

Adrian Sampson

17. Adrian Sampson, RHP

Sampson was a top prospect heading into his senior year in 2010, but had Tommy John surgery and went undrafted. He went to the JuCo ranks, and was drafted in the 16th round in 2011, but didn’t sign. He improved his draft stock in 2012, seeing his velocity touching 94 MPH at times during his sophomore season at Bellevue. The Pirates took him in the fifth round and paid him a few thousand dollars under slot to get him signed.

The right-hander had some of the best numbers for State College in 2012, and was one of the few with a high strikeout rate. He sat 91-94 MPH with his fastball for most of the season, but didn’t have a lot of downward plane with the pitch. He got the strikeouts due to a sharp curveball with good
depth.

Sampson occasionally had problems hanging a changeup or showing too much of his fastball. His fastball and curveball give him a strong two-pitch mix. The changeup was new for him, and came along throughout the year.

The curveball is his best pitch, mostly because of the deception. It looks like a fastball for a long time, until it drops off at the end with sharp break. Sampson put up his numbers in 2012 mostly due to his fastball and curveball. If he can improve his changeup going forward, he could have a very strong three pitch mix.

Like most guys in the lower levels, Sampson is a little too far off to have an accurate projection about his future. Unlike a lot of guys at the lower levels, he has less to work on. At worst, he could be a power reliever with his fastball and curveball combination. If he gets that strong three pitch mix, he could have a shot at the major league rotation, potentially being a mid-rotation starter.

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Tim Williams

Author: Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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  • emjayinTN

    Tim: With the talent already in the system and this kid from the 5th Round can be considered a #17 Prospect and possibly a mid-Rotation SP, that means good things for the Pirates moving forward. I like the pitch mix especially the late breaking, downward moving curve, but you are absolutely correct, if he can get a good handle on the straight change, he may even achieve mid-Rotation or better. A K/IP guy with only 1 W for every 2.5 IP and a .207 average against – very nice for a Rookie. ZVR is another kid I want to see how he does – he will pitch all of next season as a 22 year old and probably at Hi A.