Phillies Prospect #20: Julian Sampson

Julian Sampson was an unlikely member of the Lakewood BlueClaws to start the 2008 season, but he showed that he belonged there with a good performance.

Acquired: Drafted by the Phillies in the 12th round of the 2007 Draft.
Bats: R   Throws: R
Height: 6' 5"   Weight: 210 pounds
Birthdate: January 21, 1989
2008 Team(s): Lakewood
Games/Games Started: 25 G / 25 GS
School: Skyline HS (Sammamish, WA)
2008 Ranking: 25

Why Sampson jumped to #20: Julian Sampson did all the Phillies needed him to do in 2008 and perhaps, a little more. The big right-hander spent the entire season with Lakewood, making 25 starts and finished with a 4.33 ERA after making the jump from pitching in the Gulf Coast League in 2007 after being drafted out of high school. Sampson didn't need to set the South Atlantic League on fire last summer to be impressive; considering the jump that he was making, simply holding his own was sufficient enough and he certainly did that. After all, Sampson didn't even spend the entire summer at Williamsport, because he was torn on whether to sign with the Phillies or go on to college, so he pitched just two innings with the CrossCutters in 2007. Sampson also didn't run out of steam late in the season as many first time full-season pitchers do and he showed good progression, leaving a lot of promise for what he can do in 2009. To show that he had plenty of gas in the tank, Sampson won his last five decisions and finished with the most wins (11) of any Phillies minor leaguer.

STAT Julian Sampson South Atlantic League
ERA 4.33 4.02
*DRA 0.53 0.73
H/9 IP 10.13 8.90
HR/9 IP 0.33 0.70
BB/9 IP 3.47 3.12
KO/9IP 4.60 7.84
KO:BB 1.33 : 1 2.51 : 1
WHIP 1.51 1.34
*WILD 14.80 13.46
*EFF 0.62 1.00
*DRA (Defensive Runs Average) - a measure of how much a pitcher was hurt by his defense. Basically, the number of runs that the defense allowed through errors. The lower this number, the less a pitcher was hurt by his defense.

*WILD (Wildness rating) - a measure of how many  "bad pitches" a pitcher made during an average game, resulting in walks, hit batters and wild pitches. The lower this number, the better for a pitcher.

*EFF (Efficiency rating) - A basic measurement of how a particular pitcher ranks among other pitchers in his particular league. The higher this number, the higher the pitcher ranked among other pitchers in his particular league.

Repertoire: Sampson generally throws his fastball - which is the best of his pitches - in the low-to-mid-90s and gets good movement on the pitch. Sampson needed to improve on his secondary pitches and he has done just that, with his slider and change-up both showing marked improvement last season at Lakewood. The key for Sampson is that he pitches to all parts of the strike zone and keeps all of his pitches down in the zone where it's tough for hitters to get good wood on them. Sampson found out that when you face better hitters, they will lay off stuff that is out of the strike zone and he tended to struggle with walks at Lakewood because of that. If he can develop his secondary pitches to the point where he can get more strikes on them, his walk numbers will shrink. He's also got to develop some deceptiveness to get hitters to chase some of his pitches.

Pitching Style: This is a go right at 'em kind of guy, who doesn't mess around with trying to be too cute. He's not afraid to let hitters make contact, as long as they're hitting the pitch that he wants them to hit and usually, he doesn't make many mistakes. He has good enough stuff to pick up some strikeouts, but relies on his fielders to do their job behind him, especially on the infield, because he gets a high percentage of groundball outs.

Projection: You have to keep in mind that this is still just a 20 year old guy who didn't have the benefit of pitching in the college ranks and he already appears to have the stuff to pitch at Clearwater this season. When you consider that he had decent enough numbers at Lakewood and was - and still is - pretty raw, it's impressive to see how he's progressing and fun to think about just how good he might be in a few short seasons. Right now, the thinking is that Sampson will be able to fit into the middle of the major league rotation at some point and be a solid pitcher.

ETA: With a potential move to Clearwater looming, Sampson is on a good pace to reach the majors at a good, young age. He's likely going to stumble a little here and there as he moves through the system and either Clearwater or Reading are likely to be hurdles that he'll need a little more work at clearing. The talent and the drive to get better are there, so there isn't any reason why Sampson can't continue to develop and move at a relatively brisk pace. Best case has him getting an audition late in 2011, but it may be a little longer than that until he's truly ready to pitch in the majors. By mid-season, 2012, Sampson should be ready if he's needed by the big league club.

Julian Sampson's career stats

2007 GCL 0 0 0.00 0 1 0 2.0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0.00 .000
2008 Lakewood 11 4 4.33 0 25 25 135.0 152 73 65 5 52 69 1.51 .285
TOTALS 11 4 4.27 0 26 25 137.0 152 73 65 5 52 70 1.49 .281

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