Mariners News: Adrian Sampson continues to Impress in Tacoma


Mariners’ prospect, Adrian Sampson, is off to a great start with the Tacoma Rainiers in 2016, and he had yet another dominant outing on Monday night.

The Tacoma Rainiers turned to Adrian Sampson on Monday night in Salt Lake City against the Bees. The young right-hander made it look easy facing the Los Angeles Angels’ Class-AAA affiliate, allowing just 1 run on 6 hits through 7 innings en route to earning the win. Sampson struck out 7 Bees and did not issue any free passes all night. He had excellent command, as 63 of his 90 pitches found the strike zone.

These types of performances are becoming the norm for Sampson. He is now 3-1 on the season with a 2.67 ERA across 5 starts in 2016. Sampson has struck out 25 and walked 4 through 30.1 innings pitched, good for a 6.25 ratio. He has limited the opposition to just 1.05 walks/hits per inning and a .246 batting average.

The Mariners acquired Sampson from the Pittsburgh Pirates at last season’s trade deadline in exchange for J.A. Happ. Sampson spent three and a half years in the Pirates organization, and spent all of 2015 pitching for their AAA affiliate in Indianapolis. Sampson posted a record of 8-8 with a 3.98 ERA in 21 starts with the Indians.

Unfortunately, Sampson was less than impressive last summer after joining the Raniers. He went 2-4 with a 7.28 ERA through 7 outings. Thankfully it appears he has figured out a way to pitch effectively in the hitters’ paradise known as the Pacific Coast League.

According to Baseball Prospectus, Sampson profiles as a starting pitcher who should fit into the back end of a big league rotation. He employs a 3-pitch arsenal, highlighted by a fastball that hovers in the low to mid 90’s. Sampson’s fastball is said to have sinking action that should lend itself well to inducing ground balls. He also utilizes an above-average slider. Sampson throws his slider between 84 and 86 mph, and scouts are very impressed with his ability to locate it. His changeup is still a work in progress, but it has steadily improved in the last couple years.

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Adrian Sampson’s most endearing quality is the fact that he is a local boy, who grew up dreaming of toeing the rubber at Safeco Field. Sampson was born in Redmond, WA on October 7, 1991. The 24-year-old graduated from Skyline High School in Sammamish, WA, and played ball at nearby Bellevue Community College. The 6’2 right-hander signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates after being selected in the 5th round of the 2012 draft.

The Seattle Mariners have won 14 of their last 19 games, and currently sit in the catbird seat in the American League West. Timely hitting and quality pitching have played key roles in the M’s recent success. Seattle’s starting rotation is firing on all cylinders, and there may not be an immediate opportunity for Sampson. However, along with James Paxton, the M’s now have a pair of viable arms ready to step in if someone hits a rough patch or gets injured.

Next: Mariners Win Wild One, Sweep A’s in Oakland

Adrian Sampson is a name for fans to keep an eye on this season, as he is likely to be battling for a spot in the Mariners’ starting rotation or bullpen next spring in Peoria.