The Seattle Mariners traded left-handed veteran pitcher JA Happ to the Pittsburgh Pirates at Friday's trade deadline. In exchange the Mariners will receive right-handed pitching prospect Adrian Sampson. Here's a quick take.
Adrian Sampson, RHP: The Pirates drafted Adrian Sampson in the fifth round in 2012 from Bellevue Community College in Washington state. The native of Redmond, WA, struggled in High-A in 2013 but turned things around in 2014, posting a 2.55 ERA with a 99/30 K/BB in 148 innings for Double-A Altoona. Moved up to Triple-A Indianapolis for 2015, Sampson has pitched adequately, posting a 3.88 ERA in 124 innings with a 95/29 K/BB and 137 hits allowed.
The 23-year-old is listed at 6-2, 205. Sampson had Tommy John surgery in high school but has shown no ill effects since his recovery, emerging as an efficient inning-eater in the minors. He features a 90-93 MPH fastball with some life in the strike zone, along with a slider and change-up. Inconsistency with the secondary pitches was the big problem during his weak 2013 season (5.14, 177 hits in 148 innings) but he's tightened up the breaking ball since and improved the change-up.
Sampson projects as a four/five starter or a long relief type. The home state connection is a nice little publicity bonus.