We've watched intently all Winter as the Cincinnati Reds compiled more, and more, and more right-handed pitchers for their arsenal. Yesterday, we watched as Baseball America released their list of the Top 10 prospects in the Reds system, only to find that 83 of those 10 were - you guessed it - right-handed pitchers.
Well, the journey to stockpile more of the most prized asset (we hope) in baseball continued for Walt Jocketty and Co. today, as they've apparently claimed Keyvius Sampson from the San Diego Padres.
The #Reds today claimed RHP Keyvius Sampson from the Padres.— Jamie Ramsey (@Jamieblog) January 8, 2015
Sampson was a 4th round pick out of Forest High School in Florida by the Friars back in 2009, and so far he's managed to make his way all the way to AAA with career minor league K/9 of 9.6, which is pretty dang impressive. He was DFA'd recently when San Diego picked up Shawn Kelley, which likely prompted Walt to take a closer look at him.
While he blew through A ball and had a pretty decent stop through AA, his foray into AAA has been downright ugly, and there's no two ways around that, really. He struggled to a 6.68 ERA and 1.735 WHIP in just over 90 IP in 2014 after spending 38 rough innings there to finish up his 2013, and ultimately ended up pitching from the bullpen consistently for the first time in his minor league career after the wheels fell off of his starting regimen. And even when those splits are broken down, things didn't really look any rosier for him. Still, he just turned 24 years old, has a live fastball that sits in the mid 90's and can run up to 97, was good enough to feature in the Arizona Fall League Fall Stars Game in 2013, and Baseball America rated his change-up the best in the Padres' system as recently as 2012, so there's definitely something there worth taking a look at.
His claiming leaves him stashed on the Reds 40-man roster, meaning he's a rough replacement for the recently non-tendered Curtis Partch, more or less, assuming the Reds choose to keep him on his newly minted bullpen path. The bullpen is still one of the top priorities in need of fixin' this off-season, so this seems to be a pretty low-cost way of adding depth there, if so. Since he's one of a super duper crowded set of talented, near-majors arms, there's no telling where he'll begin the season, both in terms of physical location (either Pensacola or Louisville) and in terms of role (starter or bullpen). Either way, he's a nice depth addition that comes at a very minimal cost.
Welcome to the fold, Keyvius.