Acquired: Drafted by the Phillies in the 12th round of the 2007
B: R T: R / Height: 6' 5" / Weight: 210 lbs
Birth Date: January 21, 1989
2007 Team: GCL Phillies
Games/Games Started in 2007: 1 g / 0 gs
School: Skyline High School (Sammamish, WA)
You might be asking why a kid drafted in the 12th round, who threw just one inning in professional ball last summer is ranked 25th on our list of the Top 75 Prospects. The answer is this; because this kid had the potential to go as high as the second or third round, but most scouts assumed that he would take advantage of the scholarship that he had in his back pocket provided by the University of Washington. After all, he had wanted that scholarship and with teams concerned about signability, many simply bypassed Julian Sampson and those that didn't bypass him, simply didn't jump on him as quickly as the Phillies. The minor league staff thought that if they offered the right money to Sampson, that he might bite and turn to professional ball rather than take advantage of that scholarship and they were right. It took a little while to get a deal done (until the last possible day to sign) but the two sides came together and had everything signed, sealed and delivered just under the deadline.
|Julian Sampson didn't come without some fear, as the Phillies spent every available negotiating moment on him to get him to pass up a scholarship to the University of Washington.|
Repertoire: The big calling card right now is Sampson's fastball that sits around 92 miles per hour. He pumps it a little higher on occasion and has the potential to push it higher on a regular basis and it wouldn't be surprising for him to have a mid-90s fastball before all is said and done. Hitters not only have trouble catching up to Sampson's fastball, but have trouble knowing where it's going to be, since he moves it around the strike zone well and generally has it biting downward as it hits the plate. The rest of Sampson's pitches need some work, but he's got an average change-up and a curve that is going to need some work. The Phillies will try to get him more used to using his slider, which he seemed to abandon at times even though the pitch had hitters flailing wildly at the plate.
Pitching Style: Sampson has the classic build of a power pitcher and the stuff to back it up. His control is good and he knows how to keep the ball down in the zone. He's suited to pitch in tight spots, leaving some to project him as a potential closer candidate, especially since he loves to pitch in tough spots, but it's unlikely that the Phillies will think much about moving him out of the starting rotation anytime soon.
Projection: Sampson loves to get the ball and pitch. As his velocity continues to develop, his change-up could become a more devastating pitch for him to keep hitters off stride and if he gets comfortable again with his slider, he'll have all he needs to succeed. He's a rugged kid with a nice, relaxed motion and solid mechanics, which should allow him to avoid injuries and throw deep into games once he's matured physically. For now, the Phillies are thinking that he can fit in the middle part of the rotation, but nobody will be surprised if he surpasses that expectation and becomes a top of the rotation starter. After all, some scouts are saying that he has the same type of talent that they saw in a young Carlos Carrasco, so that's pretty good company.
ETA: The Phillies are likely going to keep Sampson in extended camp and then send him back to the GCL for some work. Ideally, they'll bump him along to Williamsport for a couple of games to get his feet wet and he could be at Lakewood to start the 2009 season. He's probably five or six years away from the majors, but considering that he'll be just 19 when the 2008 season starts, that's not so bad.
Comparison: While he's got the stuff of Carlos Carrasco, other scouts see the same things in Sampson that they saw in Jake Peavey. Peavey was pretty highly regarded early on, but turned out to be even better than most thought that he would be as he continued to develop and it will likely be that way with Sampson as well.
Julian Sampson's career stats