Thursday, November 22, 2012

Quietly Good

Flashy draws a crowd.  Big tools - power and speed for hitters or triple digit heat - create hype, hysteria, and often disappointment when expectations aren't met.  That doesn't prevent fans, scouts, and the media from dreaming and drooling over players who could and should turn into stars.  Little attention is given to those who simply get the job done, especially when it's done without massive power, elite speed, or a fireball for a fastball.  These players don't have a chance to be a superstar, but they are quietly good.

Adrian Sampson - though his professional career is barely off the ground - fits that description.  He wasn't a high upside prep pitcher that cost a large bonus or an elite college pitcher, but he was Baseball America's 84th rated draft prospect in 2012 coming out of Bellevue Community College.  His arsenal is solid; his fastball sits in the low 90's and he adds an above-average curveball and a developing changeup that is nearly average.  Sampson has above-average to plus command of all three pitches and shows good pitchability, mixing his available weapons well.

Sampson was able to pitch in 11 games, starting 9 games and logging 42.2 innings.  He gave up 38 hits, 14 earned runs (2.95 ERA), 17 walks, while striking out 44 batters.  He did all this at State College as a 20 year-old, completely age appropriate.  Next year, he should start at West Virginia in a rotation that should feature young phenoms Luis Heredia and Clay Holmes.  As a result, Sampson will again get over-shadowed, but that will simply allow him to be good again and again, it will be probably quietly. 

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