Minor league report: Sampson learns from tough Single-A season
Pitching in Bradenton last season was more like going to school for Adrian Sampson. He had a difficult curriculum and a demanding teacher, and he struggled at times. But he paid attention.
After starting slowly in 2013, the right-hander went 5-8 with a 5.81 ERA in Single-A while learning the changeup and tweaking the angle on his fastball.
Going into Saturday's outing for Double-A Altoona, Sampson was 9-5 with a 2.69 ERA.
“No one had ever taught me to throw a changeup,” he said. “Once I got to pro ball, it was like the first thing they taught me. I experimented with different grips, when to throw it, how to throw it.
“I was just kind of taking the whole year as a class. It was tough. It was dramatic having to learn it so fast, but I spent a lot of time with it, and I was really committed.”
Sampson, a 2012 fifth-round pick out of Bellevue (Wash.) Community College, said he never grew overly frustrated. Pitching, he said, is more than numbers.
“There's a lot of stuff behind the scenes people on the outside don't know about,” he said. “The internal things they look at, the process they drill into you. They look at the plane on the fastball, composure, your ability to repeat pitches. So many things you don't see from the outside.”
Sampson praised Justin Meccage, his pitching coach at State College in 2012 and Bradenton last season.
“It was the most help I've ever gotten in my professional career,” he said. “On and off the field. He's a guy I can call all the time and talk baseball with. He's a competitor. He drives his pitchers.”
Two weeks ago, Sampson came within two outs of a no-hitter against Bowie but ended up with a shutout and his second complete game of the season.
He said he noticed something special going on around the sixth inning.
“It just started hitting me,” he said. “ ‘Maybe I could throw a no-hitter today.' I started getting nervous. I got through the seventh and had a really quick eighth inning and walked off field and went, ‘Oh my God, three outs (to go).' I tried not to smile, but I was really happy.”
With one out in the top of the ninth, Mike Yastrzemski, grandson of Red Sox Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski, spoiled what would have been the first solo no-hitter in Curve history by golfing a slider, low and away, down the left-field line for an opposite-field double.
Sampson said catcher Elias Diaz called for a fastball up because Yastrzemski had just swung and missed on a slider in the dirt.
“I threw the pitch I wanted,” Sampson said. “I threw it very close to where I wanted, and he had a good piece of hitting.”
Bob Cohn is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pirates notebook: Locke the choice to be 5th starter
- Spring training breakdown: Pirates 18, Phillies 4
- Pirates’ outfield may have few defensive peers
- Pirates notebook: Decker leaves game with calf injury
- Pirates pitchers finding success with expanded strike zone
- Pirates notebook: Polanco’s power outburst a matter of timing
- Alvarez latest in Pirates’ revolving door at first base
- Spring training breakdown: Pirates 4, Braves 2
- Starting 9: As franchise values soar, do owners hold or sell?
- Spring training breakdown: Pirates 8, Blue Jays 3
- About face: Pirates’ Burnett now digging the shifts