MadFriars' Interview: Keyvius Sampson

When we last interviewed Keyvius Sampson he had just been sent down from Tucson with an 8.03 ERA in his first four starts.

But after a rough few outings in San Antonio Keyvius turned it around with a 10-4 record and a 2.26 ERA. In 18 starts he had 110 strikeouts in 103.1 innings pitched against only 33 walks. His last seven starts in AA were even better as he went 5-0 with a 1.65 ERA.

In his first return outing for the T-Padres he showed that his numbers in San Antonio were no fluke as he got his first win in AAA throwing six strong innings and only allowing a single run.

We caught up by phone with Keyvius upon his return to Tucson to get the reasons behind the rebound.

I was in Tucson when you got sent down earlier in the season. What were some of the things going through your mind?

Keyvius Sampson: I needed to get back to where I am feeling confident, to being myself and doing what I needed to do. When I pitch I have to be attacking guys but, yeah it was tough getting demoted.

You went down to San Antonio, had a few rough outings to start, and then turned it around. What caused this?

Keyvius Sampson: I started to after hitters again and getting strike one. I did tweak some things such going back to my windup from high school where I start at my chest.

I developed a slider which not only gave me another pitch but actually helped me to become more consistent with my curve ball. I'm feeling very good with my it and can throw it consistently for strikes which is what I needed to do when I was in Tucson.

Randy Smith said the big reason you turned it around was because of your slider. You were throwing it before right?

Keyvius Sampson: No, I had always thrown a fastball, curve and change-up. I worked with coach Jimmy Jones [the Missions pitching coach] on throwing it and it also helped to develop a cutter off of my fastball.

So there have been a lot of changes since I was last here.

Is it true your velocity has picked up too?

Keyvius Sampson: Yes sir, my velocity has picked up. I've been up to 98 and have been sitting around 92 to 95.

What will be different this time in Tucson as compared to earlier in the year?

Keyvius Sampson: I have more of an arsenal to work with. Also, when I came out at the beginning of the year I wasn't quite built up yet in terms of innings, I was still trying to catch up.

Going down to San Antonio gave me more confidence and I feel I'm back to my high school ways. I'm locating the ball down in the zone more often and really attacking hitters. You also got your first hit this year in San Antonio. How is the swing?

Keyvius Sampson: [laughs] I wish I could say its been going as well as my pitching. Usually they are always telling me to just get it over to the right side and move along the runner.

But you never know. Throw me a fastball up in the zone and we will see what happens. [laughs]

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