With the recent shuffling in the Indianapolis pitching staff, Adrian Sampson has been promoted to Triple-A from Altoona.
Sampson, who posted a 2.55 ERA with the Curve this season, will join the Indianapolis rotation this week. In 24 starts, Sampson had 99 strikeouts and 30 walks, while allowing 125 hits.
The 22-year-old Sampson has reached Triple-A in just his third professional season after starting out in Low-A after the Pirates made him a fifth round pick in 2012.
Sampson struggled a bit in 2013 with Bradenton, allowing 177 hits in 140 innings and having a 5.14 ERA. However, he has enjoyed a nice bounce back this season.
UPDATE FROM TIM: Sampson has been the breakout pitcher of the year in the Pirates’ minor league system this season. A big reason for his success this year was due to improvements with his changeup. That was also a big reason for his struggles in Bradenton last year, since he spent most of the season working on improving the pitch. Sampson now has a three pitch mix, throwing a 90-94 MPH fastball, a hard breaking curveball that is at least above average, and the changeup, which has come a long way.
Sampson will get a few starts with Indianapolis to end the season, and maybe a few more if they make the playoffs. Next year he will put himself in position to reach the majors as a depth option or an injury replacement. If he continues this strong progression, he could win a rotation spot for good, depending on his performance when he most likely gets called up next summer. Sampson has the upside of a middle of the rotation starter who could eat 200 innings a year, although the conservative view has him as a strong number four starter who can take a lot of innings. He’s more likely to reach the middle of the rotation projection if he changeup continues improving.